Every golfer knows what a golf ball washer is. They're those handy gizmos that clean the accumulated gunk off your balls. You place your ball inside and fixed brushes and some soapy water clean it as you pump the plunger mechanism up and down. Golf courses place them near tee boxes, at least on some holes. I've never played on a course that had one on every hole, although maybe some of the really posh ones do. My home course has a golf ball washer positioned every third or fourth hole, but sometimes that's just not often enough. And sometimes you come across one when you need it, but it's broken or bone-dry. To make things even worse, stationery ball washers always seem to be located near one of the men's sets of tees. They're hardly ever conveniently placed for women like me.
If the ground is soft because of heavy rain, your ball can get covered with mud pretty quickly. While you're actually playing a hole you're not allowed to clean the ball until you're on the green (unless your club has said the lift, clean and place rule is in effect), but you can certainly clean it between holes. Unfortunately, the course might not always have one where you need it. That means having your own personal golf ball washer could come in handy.
You have a few options when you want to learn more about how to clean
golf balls or when you're looking for your own washer. For lack of
more descriptive terms, I'll call the different basic types
"cart-mounted," "handheld," and "pocket." And, if all else fails, you
can always use a damp (or dry) towel to clean off your golf balls.
Cart-Mounted Golf Ball Washers
If you're lucky enough to own a golf cart, you can mount a golf ball washer right on it, near the back where a sand bucket would go. Cart-mounted units operate in basically the same way as the stationary devices that golf courses place in the tee areas. They contain soapy water and use bristles and a plunger mechanism to clean the balls. Some models will only wash balls, while others do double-duty by washing golf clubs too. "Club Clean," for example, is a combined ball washer/club cleaner that you could mount on your cart. It's priced inexpensively at $35 to $45 and is available on a number of websites, including amazon.com.
Handheld Golf Ball Washers
How to clean golf balls if you don't have a golf cart? A cart-mounted washer won't do you any good if you don't own your own golf cart. But, you still have a couple of options even if you're walking or riding in a rental cart. Handheld ball washers are highly portable. They're small, watertight chambers that contain soapy water and the same type of scrubbing bristles used by stationary and cart-mounted models.
One type is hand-operated. You fill it with your cleaning solution before leaving home. Then, any time you're out on the course and want to clean your ball, you simply put the ball inside the chamber, close the unit, shake it to make sure the golf ball and bristles get wet, and then twist and turn the device so that the bristles can clean the ball. Amazon sells this type of handheld model for less than $30.
Motorized, battery-powered versions of handheld units are also available for around $35, but the user reviews on Amazon aren't very favorable. These reviews indicate that the battery-powered version is messy and just doesn't do a very good job.
Pocket Golf Ball Washers
Pocket ball washers are an even less expensive option - you can buy one on Amazon for under $7. They are small, flexible "pockets" consisting of a waterproof outer material that is lined inside with microfiber. You simply wet the microfiber liner and then slip the pocket inside your shirt or pants pocket. The liner stays wet for an entire round no matter how hot it is. When you need to clean a ball, you simply take out the pocket, put the ball inside, and work it around. User reviews are very favorable, and it's hard to beat the price, especially for this kind of convenience.
There's no need to rely on the golf course's stationary ball washers when you have choices that are as inexpensive and convenient as these. The low prices and number of golf ball washers available on various websites make it easy to have your own!