Refinished golf balls can be a cost-effective alternative to buying new golf balls, especially for casual or recreational golfers who aren't overly concerned with maximizing performance or for use in practice sessions. Here are some pros and cons:
- Cost-effective: Refinished balls are typically much cheaper than new balls.
- Appearance: They usually look like new, as any scuffs or marks are usually repaired or painted over during the refurbishing process.
- Performance: The refinishing process can alter the original performance characteristics of the ball, potentially affecting distance, spin, and feel. This can be a significant drawback for more serious or competitive golfers.
- Durability: The paint or clear coat applied during the refinishing process can chip or wear off more easily than the original cover.
- Quality: There's significant variation in the quality of refinished balls, depending on the quality of the original used balls and the refinishing process itself.
Remember, "refinished" balls are different from "recycled" balls. Recycled balls are simply cleaned and sorted by quality after being retrieved from courses, water hazards, etc. They retain their original performance characteristics, but their condition can vary greatly.
In conclusion, if you are a high-handicap golfer, a beginner, or looking for affordable practice balls, refinished golf balls could be a good choice. If you're a low-handicap golfer or a more serious player who frequently plays in competitions, you're likely better off with new or high-quality recycled balls.
Refinished golf balls are generally legal to play in most situations. However, for tournaments, it's important to check the specific rules of the event. According to the United States Golf Association (USGA), a refinished ball is considered conforming (i.e., legal for play) provided that the original ball was on the List of Conforming Golf Balls and the ball has not been modified in any other way except for refinishing.
The USGA states: "A refinished ball is a used ball that has been repaired and repainted to look like new. A refinished ball is conforming if all of the following are true:
- The original ball was on the List of Conforming Golf Balls.
- The weight, size, symmetry, and other performance characteristics have not been purposely altered for play (other than as a result of normal use).
- The ball has not been modified for use as a playing aid (e.g., change in color)."