These facts about used golf balls and lake balls have been proven again and again in scientific studies and tests conducted by prominent golf magazines such as Golf Digest:
After just twelve hours in the water, the outermost layer of the golf ball allows water to enter into the ball. This is mainly because modern layers of multi-layer golf balls (such as Urethane and UPC) are usually constructed to be extremely hydrophilic (moisture attracting) in order to prevent adverse affections due to weather. But if golf balls sit in the water for longer periods of time, permanent damage will be the result. While invisible from the outside, this damage will clearly affect the driving distance off of the tee.
The further result is significant damage to the golf ball’s core, which is designed to be ball’s energy source. Studies show that after just one week in the water, lake balls will lose 5 to 10 yards in driving distance off of the tee; after 3 months, the distance loss widens to 20 to 30 yards.
Many lake ball packagers are just giving a facelift to the golf balls they find by sandblasting. Through this treatment, the outermost transparent sealing layer of the golf ball is completely removed. Moreover, this often leads to alteration of the golf’s ball sensitive dimple structure.
After surface treatment, the outermost layer - including the manufacturer’s logo - is applied again from scratch. The paints used have nothing to do with the elaborate seals developed for use with the original ball. The substantial interference with the surface structure, as well as changes to the weight of the golf ball, has a significantly negative impact on the ball’s aerodynamics and flight stability.