If you're a golfer, then you know that golf balls are an essential piece of equipment. After all, it is the one thing you hit on every single shot. So it stands to reason that a bad golf ball can have a major impact on your game.

But have you ever stopped to wonder if golf balls go bad? Do they have a shelf life? Do they expire? How long can you use a golf ball for? The answer may surprise you.

Here's the thing about golf balls: they are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Today's modern covers are made to resist cuts and scuffs, and the cores are designed to retain their shape and not deform over time. That said, there is a limit to how much abuse a golf ball can take before it starts to lose its performance.

Depending on how often you play, a golf ball can last anywhere from a couple of holes to a couple of rounds to a couple of years. If you're playing once a week or more, you're more likely to lose your ball or hit it into a hazard than worry about the ball losing its performance.

However, if you're playing good golf, hitting fairways and greens, and striking the ball clean there's no reason you can't play the same ball for more than 18 holes. On the contrary, if you're having a rough day, knocking it around the trees and off the pavement you may begin to damage the cover. This will definitely have a negative effect on aerodynamics and ball flight.

So if you're like many serious golfers the slightest blemish or scratch means it's time for a new ball. This could get expensive and be unnecessary but golf is a game about confidence. And if a new ball gives you more confidence on the tee then go for it!

The type of ball you play with will also have an impact on its durability. A three or four-piece ball with a soft cover may not withstand as much of a beating as a hard golf ball with a hardcover.

It turns out that golf balls do have a shelf life—but it's not as short as you might think. In general, if unused golf balls are stored in an environment with a moderate temperature (~70 degrees Fahrenheit) they should be good for 5 to 10 years.

So, what happens to golf balls after five years or 7 years if stored properly? Don't worry. We wouldn't expect them to immediately go bad, but they may lose some of their integrity and performance. We are not aware of any actual studies that have been done measuring the true life span of a golf ball.

So there you have it! Golf balls do have a shelf life, but it's not as short as you might think. And there's no reason you can't use those older balls in your golf bag or garage. Just make sure they’re not too dirty or damaged, and you’ll be good to go!

And if you're shopping for a new set of golf balls you must see below.