You’ve probably snatched up a few lost golf balls on the course every so often. In fact, if you’re trying to golf on a budget, it’s recommended that you peek in the bushes here and there. Golfers leave behind their wayward shots! If a golfer hits a provisional, and forgets about their first shot, they may not bother to hunt for their ball. Then it’s fair game!
There is, however, a definite line you shouldn’t cross. A Connecticut man was arrested just last month for taking golf balls from one course and selling them to another. He had taken an excess of 20,000 golf balls from the driving range. You might be wondering how someone could steal that many range golf balls – but it’s easy, and people do it all the time. That doesn’t make it right.
Even if you don’t plan on trying to turn course balls for a profit, you should be wary of taking those driving range golf balls home. If you peek in the rough on the course, you’ll find play-worthy golf balls. Even the balls sitting in water hazards are okay to take if you feel like getting your arm wet. (We don’t condone getting into the water hazard or bringing your scuba suit to the golf course.) Range balls simply are not worth it – plus there are legal consequences for taking course property.
Why Driving Range Golf Balls Aren’t Worth It
On the range, the golf ball situation is different. Golf courses own their range balls. They are off-limits for the taking. If that alone isn’t enough to deter you, remember that there’s a distinct difference between range balls and course balls. Your range balls will not go as far as regular play balls will. By playing on the course with a range ball, you are physically limiting yourself. Driving ranges don’t have unlimited distance. Limited-flight balls ensure that even the strongest and most determined players struggle to get over the back net.
Also remember that range balls have endured a lot of use. They have significantly more wear and tear than regular golf balls. Regular balls sit in your golf bag and come out when you go to the course, where they are hit for 9-18 holes of play, and then are returned to the bag to await your next game. Range balls experience nearly nonstop use. They are hit by good and bad players alike, which means there is no guarantee the ball hasn’t gone on a journey into some concrete. With near-constant hitting, range balls can develop cracks or other damage that will affect flight. You’ve probably hit a damaged range ball before – so you know they won’t perform reliably on a course.
The next time you’re golfing, you might see a striped range ball lost on the course. If the ball is in the wrong place, bring it back to the pro shop. You can also toss the balls out onto the range. The collectors will pick them up. Don’t take it home, and certainly don’t try to turn it for a profit!