I use to have a trivia book when I was younger that said the average life of a MLB baseball was about 7 pitches. That gave me the idea for this thread. I would say for me it is maybe 20 holes. I have currently used the same ball for almost 3 consecutive 18's. But I can also loose 2 or 3 into the water on any given round.
What is the average "Life" of a golf ball for you.
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I will generally use a ball until I lose it. I have a practice area in my garage with a net that returns the ball to my feet so I can practice with just one ball. It takes a long, long time to damage a ball. I usually break 3-4 practice balls a year - thousands of hits. So there is little chance of my game balls getting damaged before getting lost.
Once last year, I realized that I was playing my 5th round with the same golf ball, so I put 5 dots on it. I continued to dot it with every round played. It had 8 dots and I was playing my 9th round with it before I lost it in the lateral water hazard my tee ball found on hole #3.
Needless to say, with all the scuff marks from the cart paths and trees it had hit, it was time to replace the thing anyway...
I don't lose a lot of golf balls. In casual rounds of golf, especially when I don't warm up, I will pull a ball out of my bag that may have seen 2 or 3 rounds or maybe more before now. Once the ball starts getting scuffed looking, I usually pitch it in a bucket I have for found balls I will never play and balls that have earned retirement by staying with me. In tournaments, I start out with new balls. Unless I am having a horrible day, I usually play the same round with the same ball. As mentioned earlier above...the killer for me is cart paths. If the ball gets cart path rash on it, it goes into the bucket after the round.
I probably average losing about one a round, almost always in one of the lakes but occasionally in the rough or the woods.
The back nine where I play has been closed to replant the greens and we have been playing the front nine twice so we get two shots to lose a ball on the island green par four. Most days I'm going to miss that green at least once.
(Yesterday I got lucky and made birdies on that hole both times, but that's unsual).
How many balls I lose also depends on where I'm playing. At Hidden Meadows in Tuscaloosa I better have several extra balls in the bag. Any ball that misses the fairway is likely in the swamp and likely will never be seen again. At Soldiers Creek, near Foley, if it's been too rainy to mow the rough you should win some kind of medal if you can get around without losing a handful.