Balata Balls

So I have read that balata balls can actually lose some of their characteristics without even being played. Most things I have seen say they have a year shelf life before they start to lose some zip. Just was hoping to get some more info on the subject. I just bid on a big box of old titleist balatas and I’m just curious as to what I can expect.

I found one out on the course the other night and hit a few shots with it. First couple iron shots I hit were maybe 5 steps shorter but then I really nutted one and flew the green.

I’ve heard that a simple bounce test might be valid…

Hold the ball @ 7-feet high and measure houce how far it bounces off concrete…I think it’s supposed to bounce 85 to 90 percent of the original height…Less than that it’s a dud…

or even easier is to just drop a new ball next to the balata & see the response…Maybe you can ask the dude/seller on eBay to do the test.

I remember back when balata was prevalent a buddy of mine who worked with the PGA Tour gave me a couple of sleeve of Tour issued Titleist balatas. IIRC, they were the Pro Trajectory before the Pro Traj. was available to the public. He gave them to me in December, I wound up not playing with them until about 9 months later and they certainly lost their zip.


I know people have posted this before, but maybe a summary woud be good. What ball(s) do you prefer? And do you change depending on whether you are using persimmon or frying pan? Is the trajectory,spin rate, distance, or feel more important to you?

Is there a wound ball on the market now?

I think I can safely say I’m the nuttiest one here when it comes to ammo… I haven’t hit a solid ball in over a year. Feel is big but trajectory and ballflight are by far the most important thing. It costs a lot but there’s wound balls in new condition on eBay. The last ones were made by Titleist in 2001. Those were the Professionals and Tour Prestige. Be careful though they reissued the TP as a garbage rock a couple years ago so you have to see a picture of the box the wound ball was packaged in sleeves and boxes that were dark blue and in the same style as the Pros and Tour Balatas. The rocks are in yellow boxes and sleeves. Also Titleist never had any Tour Issue wound balls. That was the point, every ball they allowed out the door was tour quality. It wasn’t until the ProV1 that they went dark side. I picked up some Tour Issued Maxfli HTs and Japanese Black Max’s from like '99 those are by a mile the best I’ve found so far, very durable and consistent distances, it’s amazing how top quality products last after all these years it really says something… The balls are out there and the distance you’ll get with the solid balls means sacrificing anything close to real control or a Player’s ballflight.

Did you ever play a ball by Dunlop called the Royal Maxfli… I used them in the late 80’s, early 90’s when i played a Dunlop ball …if I remember you could only get them in Japan…they were it!!!

I snagged a couple dozen of the RMs to mess around with from the Rep while I was playing the Challenge. No question is was superior to the Titleist I was playing but I signed up on the generic ball/shoe/glove contract with Titleist/FJ before I left. No huge loss though, what I lost with the ball I more than made up for with the Classics. Best shoes ever made in the USA. All the TI Dunlop balls were absolutely excellent though, best in field definitely.

As I recall I really liked the Dunlop 90s which surprised me because I always used 100 comp Titleists, even in cold weather. A lot of 100 players switched to 90s in the cold but I thought they were mushy. I messed around with a DT 80 ladies ball in the brutal cold a few times and actually posted a few 67s & 68s. The Dunlops were much firmer and had I been using them I wouldn’t have done anything like that.

Honest truth… saw it with my own two eyes! I visited the Titleist Ball Factory in the 80’s and this is how they sorted the 100’s from the 90’s. They were all wound on the same machine, and then the balls would roll down a slope, then bounce and they would either clear the divider or not. It was funny to see, because there would be so many balls rolling down at once that often they would be hitting each other in the air… some making the 100 grade and others not. I was there with Louis Brown and I remember us looking at one another with this “OH REALLY?” kind of of look on our faces.


I found a Maxfli balata ball on the course today that was in pristine condition.

I played with it for four holes and it brought back memories of how great they feel and the ability to shape the ball flight. The ball went out of round unfortunately after my fourth drive with the ball.

Hey, if vinyl records can make a comeback, then so can balata!

Who’s got a winding machine?
We have a bunch of eager customers!

Is it possible that if we really are running out of oil then we might have to revert to natural golf…and play balata out of necessity?? it is a natural product rather than some petrochemical multilayer stuff…

Read this about the balata rubber tree stuff (rather than the toy figures): … ukuRubber/

It is a sustainable resource which supports the rain forest and the people who live there!

Not quite on the same topic but I have 4 persimmon trees in my yard if anyone feels the need to want to chisel and wield a head from them…I would happily take the axe out…nasty fruits they drop and the birds peck at and squash on my driveway :smiley:
Should be able to mould out at least 100 heads from them

I’d take a set of persimmon blocks!

After reading this thread I thought I would look for some balata balls locally in Aus. A seller had listed 8 dozen on ebay and when I checked his location I was amazed to find he lived close by and in fact we were members of the same local golf club. He had been a keen collector for many years in local tournaments and had a contact in Japan collecting for him. I ended up buying them all since I could save on postage.

Two thirds are Royal Maxfli and are in great condition with the player name stamped on each ball. I am not sure what to do with them now that I have so many. Some here may know some of the players listed below and prompt some recollections. Unfortunately there are none with John Erickson or Bradley Hughes but maybe I was looking for the wrong handles.

Royal Maxfli Balata

C Stadler, S Lyle, W Grady, G Marsh. B Jones(3), R Davis, M Ferguson, N Lowien, F Purser, P Terevainen, JO, TC Chen, B Mori(2), S Mori, Taichiro(3), Tsukasa, M Katsumata, Yoshimi, S Yoshimoto, K Iwai(3), Kiyoshi Maita, Y Namisaki, Yoshimi, T Sunaga, Kenyu, T Kimoto, Iwamoto, S Sudoh, M Higashihara,
Y Namisaki, T H Kim, Takaaki Kono, Namioo, K Tanigawa(2), Atsushi Nakayama,Tohru Suzuki, Y kita, N Kohyama, Hideki, Remi Yamada, Jenny Sevil (2 Red),
Samson Gimson, Buntoku, Yoshizawa, K Tanigawa, Takashi S, S Tonooka, Yasushi Katayama, Hideki, Kanayama, Eiichi Hai, Names in Japanese (4)

Bridgestone THE REXTAR

Calc, B Ogle, Oges(2), D I Smith, B R Brown , T Takasaki, S Mori, Kaz, Aki Lee, K Miyamoto(2), K Nakajima, M Iketani, M Aoki(2), G Kim, 1 x No name


Peter Senior(2XP 90) J Cooke (P 100), David Smail (2XT 100), Huberman(P 100), Fos Man(P100), Ramsay Equine(T 100), K Tanigawa(TP 100), Jordo(T 90)

Maxfli HT 90

Robert Allenby

New Breed Pro Wound

T Miyoshi A Yamane

Finally got my hands on some!

The old balatas feel great… but most have lost their compression over time. Very hard to find ones now that still play properly. The rubber bands inside lose their elasticity and just become mush.

We used to switch balls every three for 6 holes on tour with them… when they were just weeks out of the factory. I always felt there was a better ball to be made… that played the same but was more durable. I my opinion, that ball still hasn’t been created. The modern balls just don’t spin enough off a blade iron.