Shelf Life of golf balls?

PatsFan

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Golf balls have a shelf life so that would be tough.
.
This got me thinking. What is the Actual shelf life of a golf ball?
at what age do they start to lose something?
 

Goose

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Id like to know as well, considering I still have 8 packs of Srixon balls.
 

JB

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Its kind of a tough question to answer. Speaking to someone in the space it will depend on what level of performance you are okay with as it will change at different stages of life. I asked if 5 years was a fair number and the response was "If you have 5 year old golf balls, you should buy new ones".
 

kevin81002

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It does sort of make you wonder what the actual shelf life is, and what the degredation rate actually is... and if the OEM's even know for sure.
 

Snickerdog

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Really if you have a golf ball stored in its original box in a controlled temp, what would go bad on it to change/effect its performance?
 

JB

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Really if you have a golf ball stored in its original box in a controlled temp, what would go bad on it to change/effect its performance?
To me its less about going bad and more about small degradation. Ever pick up an old pencil and the eraser is rock hard? While that might be an extreme case, I think it exists to a certain extent.
More importantly I would bet on the fact that a golfer is giving up and sacrificing performance in 5 year old products.
 

kevin81002

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To me its less about going bad and more about small degradation. Ever pick up an old pencil and the eraser is rock hard? While that might be an extreme case, I think it exists to a certain extent.
More importantly I would bet on the fact that a golfer is giving up and sacrificing performance in 5 year old products.
I think the pencil scenario makes sense to me. I can see the core becoming brittle over time and changing the performance of the ball. But I still wonder if the OEM's even know what the actual rate of degredation is, or even a ballpark figure.
 

cbaker2882

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I would have thought they didn’t have much of a shelf life either in terms of going bad, but looking up materials that go into most golf balls, the material itself seems to have between 3-5 year shelf life when using it in manufacturing, so that would make me believe they have some sort of degradation over that same period of time. Interesting.
 

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We were told on our tour of R&D at Callaway, about 2-3 years worth of shelf life before you would start to see noticeable differences.
 

kevin81002

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We were told on our tour of R&D at Callaway, about 2-3 years worth of shelf life before you would start to see noticeable differences.
So the box of old Tour Balatas I have in the garage are probably toast. :D
 

PhillyV

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So the box of old Tour Balatas I have in the garage are probably toast. :D
Yep. It was explained that you can confidently buy current, previous generation and maybe another year older than that
 

SquirrelyDave

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So the box of old Tour Balatas I have in the garage are probably toast. :D
They’ll probably be fine if your freeze them, and then warm them back up by dropping in some boiling water first.
 

kevin81002

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They’ll probably be fine if your freeze them, and then warm them back up by dropping in some boiling water first.
I can imagine them just splitting in half off the driver face. Kind of like what the wiffle practice balls do. lol
 

oiler3535

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Interesting question. With all the shag bag balls (and hoarders lol) I’m betting this is something that could be easily tested by somebody. Anecdotally, I find many old Titleists around (#1 lost ball in golf) and if I were forced to make an observation I’d say they lose some spin but no distance.

I seem to remember (?) a Titleist study awhile back where they tested balls that they fished out of a pond and they said it lost about 5% of performance. Not the same, but similar idea. If I’m remembering correctly.
 

aljaklaw

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I certainly a lot of balls that sit on the shelves of BigSportsStore for seemingly years on end.
 

Sean

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I read an interview a couple of years ago with a Titleist ball guy. He said 5 years if kept indoors.
 

pattyboy21

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I'd be more interested in how long a ball can be in the water before it loses effectiveness... I love a free pelota! lol
 

millsan1

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I dunno.

Rick Shiels did a comparison between new balls and 20 year old balls and difference was 12 yards on the driver.

 

JB

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12 yards is a pretty big number, then add a couple of items.
1. He hit it dead center.
2. Not really measuring all facets of performance that way.

If you asked most golfers if they would give up 5% of performance in any area with a golf ball, most would say no.
 

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I could see Urethane cover balls degrading much faster than Surlyn cover balls, but even at that, I can't see them degrading that quickly. Persoanlly I can't see the polymers under the covers degrading much if at all...certianlly not appreciable within 5 years.

I work in the polymer industry, we produce polymer components that are subject to much higher stresses than what a golf balls sees (imagine that :) ), and we give a shelf life of 10 years on most parts (kept out of he sun in dry room temp conditions). As a matter of fact, parts kept in a dry, temp controlled enviroment away from UV light will last much longer than even that...but we have to give a shelf life, so we use 10 years. My background is polymers and my knowledge of them (including Urehtanes) would lead me to say, 5 years is ridiculously conservative if balls are in the packaging in a dark space in room temps.

Now, when we introduce high humidity to Urethane or worse yet, put them in water....forget about it. Urethanes are acutely sensative to water and are affected by a phenominom called Hydrolysis. This is when the Urethanes chains begin to break down and become brittle. Surlyn will not be affcted by water to much degree as it has a very low permiation rate to water (hence why a lot of packaging wrap is Surlyn). UV is bad, for both Urethane and Surlyn. Another myth is keeping balls in a cold area. Warming and cooling of a ball within a range of winter temps to summer highs has very little affect. So as an example, keeping your balls in a cold garage in the winter is no big thing if you leave them there (in a dark space) and there is not too much humidity. Even if the ball is in -40F as an example (at -40F, you mercifully won't have humidity either LOL) and the polymers the ball is comprised of fall below their glass transition temperature, as long as you don't try to use the ball, the balls will normalize when they warm back up and will be no worse for wear.

Basically sun and water are bad, but dark, dry cool places not so much. If you ask me, I don't see how a ball wouldn't last decades in ideal storage conditions. Just my 0.02$
 

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You can extend the shelf life of your balls if you keep them covered and stored in a dry, dark cool place at the ideal temperature range of between 45 - 55 degrees F
 
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millsan1

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The point is moot on me, as my balls don't last more than a round, tops, so I always have a fresh one ready to go, LOL
 

leftshot

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With wound golf balls this used to be a real thing. I suspect degradation is not as big of an issue as golf ball improvement.
 

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I think the pencil scenario makes sense to me. I can see the core becoming brittle over time and changing the performance of the ball. But I still wonder if the OEM's even know what the actual rate of degredation is, or even a ballpark figure.
Doesn't the eraser get hard because it's exposed to the air? The ball's case is hardly exposed to the air.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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This season I put Taylormade TP Red LDP's that I had for 8 to 10 years (variety from multiple purchases placed in same box) back into play that I'd originally all bought used. So no idea of their actual age nor previous treatment/storage conditions.

Second round with them, I topped my previous PB by 5 strokes and was hitting them longer than the new Wilson FG Tour, Chrome and B330 played previously.

Later played them side by side with the TP5 and TP5x. Distance was similar but the TP Red LDP still played best for me.

Edited to add:

Actually found one of the invoices in the box, from March 2011.



 
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