How Many Balls do you Lose per Round?

Do your golf balls end up here? (photo by Greg D'Andrea)

Do your golf balls end up here? (photo by Greg D’Andrea)

This past weekend, the Golfstinks guys were out playing a round of golf together. One of our co-founders, Stinky Golfer Tom, was hacking his way out of the rough on the first hole while the rest of us were waiting for him just off the green.

We couldn’t really tell what was going on for sure, but we knew there were several swings involved; a few drops; and lots of F-Bombs flying. When he finally arrived at the green, he promptly announced that he picked up.

“You did?” We asked.

“Yep.” He exclaimed. “When you lose 3 balls within 50 yards, it’s time to pick up.”

Fair enough.

Three balls within 50 yards. That reminded me of a statistic I recently cited in a post about things we lose during our round – that Americans donate an estimated 300 million golf balls annually to the lakes, rivers, streams and forests of golf courses.

So roughly 28 million golfers lose roughly 300 million balls – that’s just under a dozen (or a box) of balls per golfer per year. Now, studies show that 12 million of those golfers play 8 or less times a year – so the majority of those lost balls are coming from those 16 million of us who play more than 8 times a year.

See where I’m going with this? The reality is, most of us lose golf balls. New golfers and veterans alike lose balls and most lose them every round. Heck – even the pros would lose balls if it wasn’t for all the people in the gallery (see the PAF rule).

So, I’m going to ask you to be honest here – think about your average 18-hole round and come up with a legitimate answer. How many golf balls do you lose in a round? Is it between 1 and 3 balls (like me)? Is it a whole box (10 to 12+ balls) like (on some days) Stinky Golfer Tom? Is it none (liar)? And if it is one box per round, perhaps you should think about playing refurbished balls (or do what Stinky Golfer Tom does and play range balls)!

How many golf balls do you lose per 18-hole round?

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And now that you’ve taken the poll, please enjoy the brief video below of Stinky Golfer Tom continuing with his community philanthropic efforts by donating a couple of balls to a local golf track.


  1. A lot of this has to do with the difficulty and layout of the course. Play Ko’oloa in Hawaii (hardest course in America), lose 8 balls count every stroke and score 92. That’s a good round for that course (only 8 lost balls, not the actual score). Other times you can play the same ball for 3 rounds.

    Also you forgot to factor in all the balls you find while looking for your own lost ball. If it’s a tough course you will most likely come out ahead (hence the boxes of used golf balls in my garage).

    After several rounds, I have to empty out my bag of used golf balls and bottle caps. Come to my gagage sale and buy some decent Nikes!

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