Golf can be an expensive hobby, requiring money for greens fees, cart rentals, clubs, apparel and balls. An easy way to save without diminishing the quality of play is to purchase recycled golf balls instead of new ones. As long as the recycled ball is not gouged or severely scuffed, it will fly as straight and far as a new version of the same ball.
Recycled golf balls are collected from water hazards and bushes on courses and re-sold to the public. Because of the high customer demand, many resellers have obtained exclusive retrieval rights from specific golf courses. Such a company sends its employees to the course in search of abandoned balls.
After the golf balls are cleaned, they are inspected and graded according to quality. Recycled golf balls with the best quality rating can be almost indistinguishable from new balls. Lower-rated balls are sold at discounts that reflect their condition.
Using recycled golf balls not only saves money, it also reduces the amount of non-biodegradable debris in the environment. Golf courses are generally built in natural habitats that include trees, bodies of water and indigenous wildlife. The rubber and nylon inside a golf ball can be harmful to the ecosystem if allowed to break down over time.
The recycled golf ball market is booming as players become more environmentally and financially conscious. This has created opportunities for those with the equipment and desire to dive into murky water hazards. According to the New York Times, in 2002, a person working full-time retrieving golf balls could make $50,000 to $70,000 per year. One eight-hour session of diving can bring up as many as 10,000 golf balls ready to be recycled.
Where to Buy Recycled Golf Balls
The pro shop at your local course might have recycled golf balls. The selection will usually be limited to balls found at the course, so you might not have much choice in brand or type. For a wider selection, check online retailers such as lostgolfballs.com or golfballdeals.com.