Fore! Don’t Let Your Old Golf Balls Go to Waste: The Ultimate Guide to Recycling and Donating

May 12, 2023 in environment, recycling

Article summary and Key takeaways: Recycling golf balls is important for reducing waste and protecting the environment. Golf balls are made from materials that are challenging to separate and recycle, but there are companies and programs that specialize in collecting and repurposing them. In the United States, there are golf ball recycling programs in operation, and pro shops and golf retailers also offer recycling services. Donating or selling used golf balls is a great way to extend their lifespan and support sustainable practices. Proper disposal methods include repurposing the balls or breaking them down for recycling. By recycling or repurposing golf balls, we can reduce waste, conserve resources, and protect wildlife.

Golf Balls: Recycling or Trash?

Recycling has become an integral part of our society, as we strive to reduce waste and protect the environment. From plastic bottles to paper products, we have made great progress in recycling various materials. However, when it comes to golf balls, many people are unsure about their recyclability. In this article, we will explore the recycling options for golf balls, the environmental impact of improper disposal, and the benefits of recycling.

What happens to old golf balls?

When it’s time to retire a golf ball, it often ends up in one of two places: the golf course or the landfill. Golfers typically lose or abandon their balls during a game, leaving them scattered across the course. Alternatively, some golfers may discard their old balls in the trash, assuming they cannot be recycled. Unfortunately, both of these practices have detrimental environmental consequences.

When golf balls are left on the course, they can take years to decompose due to their durable construction. The synthetic materials used in golf balls, such as rubber and plastic, do not break down easily in the environment. This can lead to an accumulation of golf balls that not only detracts from the aesthetic beauty of the course but also poses a threat to wildlife.

Are golf balls recyclable?

Golf balls are indeed recyclable, but the process is not as straightforward as recycling other materials like paper or plastic. Golf balls are typically made from a combination of rubber, plastic, and sometimes metal. These materials can be challenging to separate and recycle effectively.

One of the primary challenges in recycling golf balls is the need to remove the outer cover, which is usually made of a synthetic rubber material called Surlyn. This cover protects the inner core of the ball and provides the desired performance characteristics. However, separating the cover from the core can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.

Despite these challenges, there are currently recycling options available for golf balls. Some companies specialize in collecting old golf balls, removing the covers, and repurposing the materials. These recycled materials can be used to create a variety of products, including new golf balls, playground flooring, and even automotive parts.

Recycling golf balls in the USA

In the United States, there are several golf ball recycling programs in operation. These programs aim to collect used golf balls and ensure they are properly recycled or repurposed. One such program is the “Greenskeeper” initiative, which partners with golf courses to collect and recycle golf balls.

Many pro shops and golf retailers also offer recycling services for old golf balls. These establishments serve as drop-off points where golfers can donate their used balls. Once collected, the balls are sent to recycling facilities for processing.

The benefits of golf ball recycling are numerous. By recycling golf balls, we reduce the demand for new materials, conserve resources, and minimize the environmental impact of improper disposal. Additionally, recycling programs often donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable organizations, further benefiting the community.

Where to donate or sell used golf balls

For those looking to donate their used golf balls, there are plenty of options available. Many charitable organizations and youth programs accept donations of golf balls for fundraising events or practice purposes. Local schools, community centers, and golf clubs are often grateful recipients of such donations.

If you’re interested in selling your used golf balls, there are numerous platforms where you can find eager buyers. Online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist allow you to list your golf balls for sale. Additionally, there are specialized websites, such as, that buy used golf balls in bulk.

The potential earnings from selling used golf balls can vary depending on the brand, condition, and quantity of balls. However, it’s important to note that the primary goal should be to recycle or donate the balls to reduce waste and support sustainable practices.

Proper disposal methods for golf balls

When disposing of golf balls, it’s crucial to do so responsibly. Instead of throwing them in the trash, consider recycling or repurposing them. If recycling options are not readily available in your area, there are alternative disposal methods that can limit the environmental impact.

One option is to repurpose old golf balls for practical uses. They can be used as practice balls, garden decorations, or even as a deterrent for pests in your yard. Alternatively, you can consider donating the balls to organizations or individuals who can put them to good use.

Another disposal method is to break down the golf balls into their individual components for recycling. While this can be a time-consuming process, it ensures that the materials are properly recycled and not left to languish in a landfill.


Golf balls may seem like a small and insignificant item, but their impact on the environment should not be underestimated. Recycling golf balls can help reduce waste, conserve resources, and protect wildlife. By donating or selling used golf balls, we can extend their lifespan and support sustainable practices. It’s time to take action and make a difference by recycling or repurposing your old golf balls.

Question 1:
Answer: You can donate them, sell them, or repurpose them for other uses.

Question 2:
Answer: No, golf balls cannot be put in the recycle bin as they are not typically accepted in recycling programs.

Question 3:
Answer: You can dispose of golf balls at local recycling centers, golf courses, or donate them to organizations that accept used golf balls.

Question 4:
Answer: You can get rid of used golf balls near you by checking with local golf courses, driving ranges, or sports equipment stores that may accept them.


About the author 

Jamie Willson

Hey there, I'm Jamie! As a Climate Scientist from MIT, I've spent years unraveling the complexities of global warming. My work ranges from conducting research on climate impacts to advising on environmental policies. I'm passionate about making the science of climate change accessible and actionable. Join me as we explore practical solutions to one of the biggest challenges facing our planet.