What is a Ball Washer?

A ball washer is a device found on golf courses designed to clean golf balls, ensuring optimal performance with each swing. It uses water and brushes to scrub away dirt and grime. Clean balls can improve accuracy and distance, enhancing your game. Ever wondered how a simple cleaning can impact your score? Dive deeper to discover the mechanics behind it.
Matthew F.
Matthew F.

A ball washer is a tool used to wash golf balls, usually found on a golf course, often at every hole. They are generally made of bristles and soapy water, and are often accompanied by towels. It is used by the golfer to keep golf balls clean and playing more efficiently and naturally. They can be found near the tee box, and sometimes around garbage cans, water coolers, benches, and hole layouts. Ball washing takes only a few seconds and some golfers clean their golf balls every hole.

Especially important in golf, the ball washer is used to clean the hard-dimpled surface of the golf ball. The shell of the ball picks up dirt more frequently than other sports balls, and the dimples make convenient crevices for dirt to accumulate. With a golf ball landing on dirt, sand, grass, and water sometimes over 100 times a round, the ball washer is a quick tool to keep the ball clean. A cleaner golf ball results in a more natural flight through the air, and less dirt will allow for a lighter weight and a longer distance.

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Woman posing

The ball washer is generally made up of a small box-like case used for washing, which is usually elevated on a pole to about stomach or chest level. The washer contains the soapy water and bristled brushes, and is topped by the plastic arm that holds the ball during washing. The arm rests inside of the box when not in use, and is generally capped by a ball-shaped handle that stays just outside of the box. Below the handle is the curved arm, usually shaped like a helix, a spring, or a screw. The arm has a hole inside of it to rest the golf ball when using the ball washer.

To wash a golf ball, grab the handle of the ball washer arm by the top and lift. With the handle lifted and the arm exposed, place the ball into the opening on the screw-shaped arm. Then lower the ball into the box where it meets with the soap and the bristles lining the inside of the box. The handle is then lifted back up, where the ball remains on the opening of the arm, cleaned and wet. The process is repeated to satisfaction, though it usually only takes three or four light strokes. The wet ball will emerge clean and can be dried with the towels that usually hang from the side of the ball washer. The golfer is then ready to hit the tee box with a cleaner ball.

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Discussion Comments


Yes, a ball washer or golf ball dispenser is very important for golfers. If balls are not clean, then they do not play properly and accurately. A ball dispenser is a plus point for players.


@matthewc23 - I have to agree. If someone wants to run a golf course they need to run it right and appeal to the customers, not make the customers try to appeal to the owners.

To be honest I feel like that anymore golf courses are getting away from the way they used to be as they were more elitist in nature and are becoming more appealing to the common person.

That being said, there are more courses that are putting items of convenience, such as ball washers, that add to the appeal of the course and make more people enjoy the course and enjoy the game.

Although this is a very simple thing that can be used to make golf courses better I feel that it is something that is part of a larger issue with the game and something that golf courses need to have and put an emphasis on.


@jcraig - I absolutely agree with you and feel like the simple changes are the best. Also, I really have to say that I believe a ball wash is a great thing to have on a golf course and it is almost a necessity to have.

I have been to several golf courses that do not have ball washers and I have to say that a lot of the golfers get visibly annoyed because they simply cannot clean their golf balls easily.

To be honest I feel like the USGA needs to put a mandate on course associated with their organization and make courses have ball washers at at least every three holes.


@kentuckycat - To be honest i can understand your point, but one major aspect of a golf course is what it looks like and ball washers are conveniences that add to the golf course and make it a much better experience for the golfers that pay to play a round there.

Also, one needs to keep in mind that although ball washers are a bit expensive, they do last for awhile and are good investments to make that will last for years.

A simple investment in something such as a ball washer is something that can go a long way in helping managers of golf curses to spruce up their courses and appeal to the golfers and make them want to come back.


I have to be honest I really do not understand why a ball washer is so important a thing to have on a golf course.

It really seems like to me that a ball washer is a complex and expensive machine that is unnecessary for such a simple task to be accomplished.

Personally whenever I need my ball washed and cannot find a ball washer available I simply use a towel to wipe it off.

For something so simple a golf ball washer seems very unnecessary to have and only drives up the costs of managing golf courses and the money could be used elsewhere.

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