GolfStinks: Golf Ball Hell

I could talk about sustainable practices in the golf industry until I'm green in the face, however golfer and industry understanding and acceptance is the deciding factor on whether these see the light of day. The hackers over at are an honest bunch, Turfhugger will be posting a number of environment related articles produced by the guys at Golfstinks who seem to understand that golf is in a transition.

You can have a nervous breakdown trying to pick out golf balls. I hope I'm not alone in this assessment, but I can literally stand in front of a wall of golf ball boxes for like an hour, trying to figure out which ones I should pick.
Newbies to golf typically will purchase the cheapest options - Top Flite or the like, where $10 can buy you 20 balls. I envy those new golf hacks - the choice is easy for them. $10 for 20? That's a no-brainer. They figure the balls are destined for the drink or lumber yard anyway, so why spend more?

However, I've been playing golf for 20 years. I know why I won't spend $10 for 20 Top Flite's. I'd like to have my ball last more than a hole without scuffs on it, thank you very much. And I'm not a terrible golfer either - I understand what "feel" means when it says "better distance and feel" on the side of the box - I want it to land softly and "hold" the green.

But I also know I'm no "player." I don't "work the ball" too often, I don't really "cut it," or intentionally draw or fade it with much success...So I don't need to spend $45 on a dozen three-piece balls like the Titleist Pro-V1. Yes, I've narrowed it down to the $20 to $30 range for a dozen balls. That's where I'm most comfortable - where I get a decent ball for a decent price. But there are so many options in that price range - which inevitably leaves me standing for an hour in the golf-ball section of my local sporting goods store.

To make matters worse, I just realized there are now more options for me to choose from...Options that I previously ignored when I was shopping for balls: Recycled golf balls. Most golfers intentionally overlook recycled (or refurbished) golf balls for various reasons, but my main reason was that I always heard once balls were submerged in water or out in the elements for a while, quality and distance would be hindered. But a new study done by says otherwise. In their tests, there was virtually no difference between new and recycled balls of the same brand. This is intriguing.

After reading the white paper on the study, I picked up a dozen recycled Nike One balls at Target for $9.99 and played a few rounds with them. I have to say, I was impressed with them - impressed to the point where I will probably buy another box next season. If this study gets some publicity, it may change the golf ball industry!

But another new discovery has me ever more intrigued. There are companies out there that will actually custom fit you with a golf ball...and do it all online no less. touts "a mix of quantitative and qualitative measures to generate precise [golf ball] recommendations." For just $19.95, you get a one-time fitting to match you with your balls. Interesting. You'll find a similar site at So there's two ways you can look at these golf-ball-fitting sites: Either they're a rip-off and not worth considering; Or your days of wondering what golf ball to use are over.

While one day I may fork-over the 20 bones and take the Golf Ball Selector test, I think for now I'm gonna stick to my recycled Nike least until another study comes along and shoots the GolfBallTest analysis out of the water. Until then, I am glad to report less of my life will be wasted on choosing golf balls. Hmmm, this post has me thinking - I wonder what grips I should put on my clubs for next season?