Can I Make Money from Collecting Used Golf Balls and Selling Them?
Have you ever asked yourself that question? Anyone who has ever walked a golf course knows that there are countless golf balls lost in the rough, or resting on the muddy bottom of the water hazards.
In this article I am going to go into detail about finding and selling golf balls to make money, we will discuss what you should use to find them, then how to clean them, and finally how to segregate them and sell them.
If you are like me and would rather someone else find them and just buy them, then the following list of used or lake golf balls, could be the answer.
Whether left behind because they were unable to find them or just could not be bothered to look, or too difficult to retrieve without the proper tools, these golf balls are often perfectly nearly new.
The golfing technical term for these is ‘one hit wonders‘.
After you have smashed your drive off the planet into a lake or a massive heap of ‘cabbage’ or the rough, if we are going to use the correct term.
So, when you have whacked the ball and lost it on the first swing, then you know some of those golf balls are practically mint condition or hit once.
Surely, someone would be willing to pay for them, right, and you are right, there is a massive market for it?
Selling used golf balls can be quite lucrative when done correctly. Whether you profit in the end depends on how efficiently and cheaply you are able to gather your hoard of golf balls.
What's the Best way to go about this of Selecting Golf Courses for Finding Golf Balls?
It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that the best place to gather quality used golf balls is on a golf course.
This is the factor most likely to determine how successful your resale efforts will be.
If there are no local golf courses or country clubs for you to use as a resource, don’t travel so far in search of one that the cost of the trip diminishes your gains.
If you are going to travel a distance to go and find golf balls then I would recommend a golf course or golf courses that have a lot of water.
Supposing you do find a great golf course that is conveniently located to you, your first step is to speak with the management to request permission to collect the lost balls. This is a crucial step, as you could get into trouble deciding to roam the property trying to find golf balls without the clubs expressed permission.
You’ll also want to offer to compensate the course by offering a percentage of your profits. Since you absolutely need their cooperation in order to succeed, be generous.
A 25% cut is a good fair amount, or even share the golf balls you find. A lot of course have junior programs and like to give the balls to them.
If they are receptive, be sure to agree on a schedule before you begin your search. You’ll want to come when the course is closed. You can’t roam around collecting balls while golfers are playing.
Collecting the Golf Balls
Once you have a solid agreement with a golf course, you can focus on how best to collect the balls. The two main places you’ll be checking are in the rough areas, and within water hazards.
You should really think about where the golf balls might end up.
For instance, from each tee box or teeing area, look down the hole and see what areas the golf balls could be have been lost and now located, they are normally 200+ yard up from the teeing position on either side of the fairway.
For golf balls in the rough, you’ll want to wear the appropriate clothing. Durable, long pants and boots should do the trick, with a pair of gloves to protect your hands when rummaging through the grass.
Have a bag you can wear to place the collected golf balls into. If you are doing this at night, which can be a great time to carry out the search, you would want to use a powerful torch to search out the golf balls, which will make them light up, making it much easier to find.
Check out using the Ultraviolet torch to find golf balls at night
Essential Equipment to find Golf Balls at Night
Collecting from water hazards can be trickier.
Depending on the size of the hazard, you may have to go diving to get the greatest return.
However, there is actually a tool for retrieving balls in the water from the shore.
We have reviewed a number of golf ball retrievers, check out this article. Best Golf Ball Retrievers in 2021.
Golf ball retrievers are telescopic poles with a collecting scoop on the end. While the mechanism varies from brand to brand, any one of them will get the job done.
Check out this video of finding Golf Balls in the water hazard
How to Sell the Golf Balls When you have Found Them?
So, you’ve made a number of trips to the golf course and searched and found all the lost golf balls.
Now, is the time to generate the profit, and turn the lost golf balls into cash. So, what are you going to do?
1. This probably goes without saying, but you’re going to want to get all the dirt and grime off of the golf balls.
The best way to do this is to put them into a container or a bucket with some soapy water.
Use normal washing up liquid / dish soap or even use some car wash detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach. Your goal is to remove the dirt without damaging the cover of the golf balls.
buAfter you have washed them gently rub them with a towel or just leave to dry naturally, the golf balls should clean up very well.
2. Once you have managed to clean the golf balls up, you should be able to see the make and model of each of the golf balls and any other identifying marks which have been marked on the golf ball by the previous owner.
3. Separate them into piles, by brand and model.
If you happen across any strange or unusual balls, look them up online.
You really want to segregate them into budget, mid-range and premium.
You could do this by working out if the golf balls are 2-piece, 3-piece, 4-piece or 5-piece golf balls.
Please see our article on Best Golf Ball to Cure a Slice or Hook which goes into detail about the five different types of ball.
4. Generally, you’ll find that resellers sell balls in lots of 20 or more. You’ll want to price your top brand golf balls:
– Titleist Pro V1/ V1x or AVX
– Callaway ChromeSoft / ERC Triple Track
– TaylorMade TP5 / TP5x / TP5 Pix
– Srixon Z Star
– Bridgestone Tour Series
These would be the 3-piece golf balls, which you can easily search online.
This is where you would collate the 2-piece golf balls together
5. If the golf balls are in good condition you should be able to achieve around £1 per ball or $1
Lower tier balls in good condition you can sell for half that at £.50 or $.50. Balls in bad condition, with scuff and marks you should bundle together and sell as practice balls, you should price around £.20 or $.20 each. These prices are guidelines only.
The sale of after-market golf balls is definitely a booming business.
The Danish Golf Union estimates that golfers based in the United States lose 300 million dollars’ worth of golf balls per year.
If you are able to find some golf courses that are willing to let you search the golf course for them, it is likely you’ll find more than enough to make it worth your while.
You can then go to a golf course and sell in packs, or sell on eBay or Amazon, or the new Facebook Marketplace golf groups.