Using Found Golf Balls


Hey Frank,
My uncle lives on a golf course and his home is on the right side of the fairway, about 230 yards out. He kindly gives me clean Pro V1's by the dozens. I am concerned though, I am a 3.8 index and I question how far these balls go. Can these ball lose distance??? Am I saving money but paying dearly in strokes???
– Dan, CA


If you don’t have to buy a good clean ProV1 golf ball – which may only have spent a night or two on its own on a golf course, or on your uncle’s front lawn – then consider yourself very lucky. Using these balls will not detrimentally affect your performance unless the surface is scuffed from a previously errant shot.

The surface condition of the ball is very important to performance. Even dirt in the dimples will affect the flight of the ball, so clean your ball whenever you notice it is dirty and when you are permitted to do so under the rules.

Obviously your uncle now knows that having a home at 230 yards on the right hand side of the fairway is about as safe as voluntarily spending some time at the target end of an army practice shooting range when the red flag is flying.

I am appalled that developers build homes or allow people – obviously not experienced golfers – to build homes in this missile-landing zone.

Generally, golfers who use ProV1s are good golfers or those who think they are good. It is these thinkers that a homeowner needs to be cautious of, especially if your home is on the right side of the fairway – even the left side is not an ideal spot but not as bad as the right.

If you have built your home in this area with the intention of collecting balls – specifically those advertised as being used on Tour – then you have obviously done your homework well.

I am sure your uncle, who lives in the ball scatter landing zone, knew that he would be able to have a life time supply of ProV1s for his friends and family. As far as performance is concerned you don’t have to worry as long as the ball is not scuffed or spent a couple of weeks at the bottom of your uncle’s pool when he was out of town.

Dan, have fun with these “Yard-balls” and buy your uncle a hard hat.
– Frank

Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas is chief technical advisor to He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email