Introduction: Golf Ball Trailer Hitch for Riding Lawnmowers/Lawn Tractors/ Garden Tractors

THE PROBLEM

Most riding lawnmowers/lawn tractor/garden tractors come equipped for a pin hitch. That's fine for trailers and implements with pin hitch tongues. BUT there are also things you want to haul around that have a ball hitch. So, you can buy a factory made trailer ball conversion kit for about $75 and then buy a really pretty chrome plated ball for about $15-20, spend an entire afternoon trying to put it all together, and for less than $100 you are in business.

OR follow this INSTRUCTABLE and MAKE YOU OWN FOR ABOUT $1

Step 1: Inspiration!

I flipped my trailer upside down and looky here, a golf ball fits PERFECTLY.

Step 2: Getting Lucky

AND a regular old eye bolt is just the right size to fit in the hitch. So let's put the golf ball and the eye bolt together.

Step 3: Tubing, Hose or Whatever


WHAT YOU WILL NEED

a golf ball

an eye bolt

some rubber tubing, garden hose whatever

a bolt and nut of your choice the same length as the diameter of the golf ball

band saw, jigsaw, hack saw, NOT a table saw and NOT a circular saw!!!

drill or drill press

Step 4: Make a Big Hole -> Small

We need to make the big hole in the eye bolt into a small hole. I found some old tubing in two different sizes but you could use that or a slice of garden hose OR wait for a slice of the golf ball to sand down and fill the hole. In the above I used a vice to push the the slices of hose into the eye bolt. You can do it with pliers, hammer or whatever.

Step 5: How Much to Remove?

The final assembly has to be the same size as the original golf ball. That means we will have to take a slice out of the golf ball. I got lucky here because the lines on this particular golf ball are the same width as the eye bolt and will serve as guides for sawing. You may have to draw lines on the golf ball with a sharpie if you don't have a pretty golf ball like the above.

Step 6: Saw the Ball, a REAL Slice.

I used a band saw to cut the slice out of the golf ball. BE CAREFUL, your fingers are really close to the saw blade. If you don't have a band saw or jig saw, use extreme caution. Do NOT attempt cutting the ball on a table saw or circular saw. Find a friend or neighbor with a band saw.

Step 7: Flat Spot/ Recess?

We need to recess the head of the bolt and the nut, or whatever you will use to hold the ball together. A carriage bolt would work well or flat head bolt or round head or whatever you have. We just need to get the head of the bolt below the outside curve of the golf ball. I used an end mill bit in this photo to create a recess.

Step 8: Drill a Hole for the Bolt

So, I made a recess on ONE side of the ball and suggest that now you drill BOTH sections of the ball at one time so that you have a matching hole when you line up the two sections later.

NOTE: If you don't have pieces of hose or other things to make the big hole in the eye bolt into a small hole, sand down the slice of golf ball to make a big washer sort of thing to fill up the big hole in the eye bolt. Then drill a hole for the bolt to go through. It would be good to use one section of the golf ball as a guide to drill the hole.

Step 9: Different Way to Make a Recess

Now that you know where the hole comes out on the other section of the ball, we need to make a recess for the nut. I happen to have a barrel nut so I'll use that but you can use whatever kind of nut you have...except a wing nut. A barrel nut doesn't need that much of a recess. I did this on a hand held belt sander clamped in a vice. There are lots of different ways to make the recess. Use your ingenuity. You have LOTS, that's why you read INSTRUCTABLES.

Step 10: 1st Trial Fit

Do a trial fit to make sure the ball and eye bolt will fit into the trailer hitch. Make adjustments as necessary.

Step 11: Final Trial Fit

Screw the two sections of the ball to the eye bolt and do a final trial fit.

Step 12: Attach Your New Ball Hitch

Attach the ball hitch to your riding lawnmower/lawn tractor/garden tractor. I used 2 nuts above and 2 nuts below the mounting plate because I really want the ball to stay exactly where I put it. Yea, it's overkill but it works.

Step 13: DONE

Attach your trailer to you new golf ball trailer hitch.

CONGRATULATIONS You just saved yourself about $99 and a whole lot of trouble.

Comments

author
xc_runner (author)2016-08-23

Correct only staff carts, and we put the hitch on four carts. It works very well and everyone likes it because it's golf themed.

author
Mauibuck (author)2016-08-23

xc runner, WOW that's great. How many golf carts did you do this to? I assume only for staff carts, not for the golfers carts.

author
xc_runner (author)2016-08-23

This works great! I brought this idea to the golf course I work at and now all of our work carts can tow our trailer! Thank you very much for this idea!

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author
tkirchner (author)2016-07-24

OR! Try this out for $20. I got one of these and it allowed me to do the same thing, run a ball hitch, a pin hitch, or use tow chains/strap... one bolt and i was done. Time is money.

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Vibrations-170-Hitchin-Connector/dp/B003L77Z8Y

author
Mauibuck (author)tkirchner2016-07-24

That is a great little fixture that became available after I posted this instructable. It provides a place to attach a hitch ball but you still need the ball. The Good Vibrations fixture is $30 from Amazon Prime, more elsewhere including shipping. The ball is an additional $10-$25.

Even with that new fixture available, I still made my own golf ball hitch for my latest lawn tractor. I should probably post a picture but it is functionally the same as the original.

author
Nate5b (author)2016-05-20

Awesome, thanks for sharing. This just saved me from buying a hitch kit!

author
Mauibuck (author)Nate5b2016-05-20

Wonderful. Post when you get it finished. Please alter the design to fit your particular situation. Mine continues to work perfectly.

author
mikenaly (author)2015-08-23

Curious about the type of golf ball used. About 5-6 years ago, I cut a golf ball open (always curious and have reverse engineered lots of things over the years) found the inside to basically be almost all "rubber band" with a small solid core to wrap it around.

author
Mauibuck (author)mikenaly2015-08-23

Most golf balls are made with solid cores like the one in this Instructable. A few are made with the wound rubber bands and a few of those have a liquid core. The liquid core are for professionals and the fluid is harmless, like salt water and corn syrup. The solid core type probably works best for this trailer ball hitch application.

author
tocsik (author)mikenaly2015-08-23

He used a Pinnacle Practice ball or "Driving Range Ball." You're right though, you need to watch out for how the ball is built. Some balls have the rubber bands inside, some are solid core and some are liquid filled. The liquid is under intense pressure and can really make a mess when it sprays out. Just look for a solid core ball.

author
primosanch (author)2015-08-23

Cool instructable. Thanks for sharing.

author
pucksurfer (author)2015-08-23

That's awesome! Nice idea

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