Can Golf Balls Be Recycled?


In 2021, golf balls accounted for more than $234 million in net sales. There’s no second opinion about the popularity of golf balls, but can golf balls be recycled?

The short answer is: Yes, golf balls can be recycled. And since they are manufactured in large quantities around the globe, we can significantly reduce the amount of waste that’s produced every year around the globe.

But, how do golf balls get recycled? What’s the difference between refurbished and recycled golf balls? Read on to know the answers to those questions, and even more.

What Are Golf Balls Made Of?

Golf balls are typically made of a blend of materials, including:

  • Rubber
  • Plastic
  • Resin

In some cases, the outside of the golf ball may be covered with a synthetic material that is designed to improve the ball’s durability and performance.

Golf Balls

Can Golf Balls be Recycled?

Yes, golf balls can be recycled. In fact, once recycled, most of the used golf balls are as good as new, and ready to hit the golf course again.  

The process of recycling golf balls begins by sorting them into different colors. The balls are then cleaned and inspected for damage. The damaged balls are sorted out and the good balls are put into packages. The packages are then ready for shipment to golfers or retailers all over the world.

Most recycled golf balls offer the same performance as new golf balls. They also tend to be cheaper, which makes them a great option for golfers on a budget.

Golf Ball Recycling Vs Refurbishing

Generally, the term recycled is used for the type of golf balls that have not been altered after getting recovered. They don’t go through the recoating or painting process and are resold in almost the same condition they are found.

Recycled balls aren’t that bad generally. For instance, from a lot of 50 recycled balls, you’ll get 45 in a near-perfect condition. But, of course, whether or not you can use them in a professional tournament depends on the rules. Plus, only a pro can tell the real condition of a golf ball and whether it’s playable or not.

On the other hand, refurbished golf balls go through a process before they are available for sale. Here’s how a golf ball is typically refurbished:

  • The company finds, buys, or recovers old golf balls
  • The balls are then sandblasted to remove the dirt and exterior scratches
  • Ball covers are then painted and treated for a glossy finish
  • Restamping or rebranding the balls is the final step

As you can see, refurbished balls go through a long process before they’re dispatched, which makes them a good option for tournament play.

The Recycling Process Of Golf Balls

The recycling process of golf balls can vary depending on their condition. A common way to recycle golf balls in extremely bad conditions is to break them down into their component parts. The broken-down material can then be used to create other stuff, but can’t be recycled into new golf balls. 

Another way to recycle golf balls is to use them as a source of energy. Recycled golf balls can be burned to create heat, which can be used to power homes or businesses.

The Benefits Of Recycling Golf Balls

There are many benefits of recycling golf balls. First, by recycling golf balls, we can reduce the amount of valuable material that’s wasted all around the globe.

Second, recycled golf balls can be used as a heat and energy source for many applications. Lastly, since golf ball recycling can be a huge industry, it can help create more jobs.

golf ball recycling

The Environmental Impact Of Recycling Golf Balls

Each year, billions of golf balls are produced and used around the world. While some of these golf balls are recycled or refurbished, the majority of them end up in landfills or as waste in waterways.

The environmental impact of non-recycled golf balls can be significant. Around 300 million golf balls are discarded in the US alone each year. And because golf balls can take hundreds of years to decompose naturally, they are a significant risk to our planet’s environment.  

Disadvantages Of Recycled Golf Balls

There are some disadvantages to using recycled golf balls. One is that they may not perform as well as new golf balls. This is because they may have been used before and may have lost some of their original properties.

How are Golf Balls Recovered and Reused?

Most golf balls are recovered from ponds and deep water located on the golf course by divers. These used golf balls are then refurbished and polished and are ready to be used again. There are private businesses that take these balls and convert them into useable professional golf balls.

How Do You Dispose of Old Golf Balls?

Now, if you want to play your part in minimizing waste added to the planet, don’t throw your golf balls away. Instead, give them to a private business that recycles them, or maybe an organization or training institute that could reuse the balls.

There is no shortage of businesses that refurbish these balls and resell them at a relatively lower price point to other golfers.

Should You buy refurbished or recycled balls?

Whether or not you should get refurbished balls depends on your experience and skill level. If you’re a new golfer, old, recycled golf balls would be the right choice. Know your craft and don’t lose many balls? Get new golf balls and polish your game. If you’re worried about losing your golf balls, avoid investing in the new ones.


New golf balls can be expensive. The good thing is you don’t always have to use new or even refurbished balls to be a good golfer, at least not while you’re practicing.

Golf balls can be recycled to some extent. If a golf ball is torn down into its components, you can’t produce a new ball from raw material.

But, old golf balls are getting refurbished and recycled all the time, and they make perfect companions for a newbie golfer who just wants to improve their game.

Sourav Biswas

I love to play golf. I also enjoy writing about my golf experience and sharing my thoughts with you. I am a writer and editor who also publishes work on Amazon & Medium. I write books, articles, and short stories.

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