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What You Need to Know About Golf Balls and Cold Weather

Written by Mike Barge on Oct 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM


Golf is a much more comfortable game when we play in 70 to 90 degree weather. Unfortunately, our climate doesn't allow us that luxury, especially in the spring and fall. Since our golf ball is our most important piece of equipment, how does cold weather affect the flight?

The Science behind Temperature Differences

Golf ball manufacturers do numerous tests on their balls in varying conditions to test flight. Cold weather will make the ball fly shorter for a couple reasons. Cold air is denser than warm air and creates additional drag on the ball. More lift and drag makes the ball go higher and shorter. Tests show a loss of two yards of carry for every ten degrees below 75°. Not a significant loss unless you are playing in 40 degree weather. By putting on more layers of clothes, we can lose flexibility and certainly lose ball speed.

The Score-Optimizing Solution

So what's the best solution to loss of distance in cold weather? Some will suggest playing a lower compression ball. Compression is mostly a matter of feel and not club head speed so playing a softer ball is fine. I'm more of an advocate to not change balls. Changing from your normal golf ball changes all shots. Feel and consistency matters most.

Best advice is to not store your golf balls in the cold. Get your golf bag out of the trunk overnight during cold snaps. Also, alternate balls during your round with one in your pocket and play them every other hole. Even a slightly warmer ball can reduce distance loss.

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Mike Barge
Director of Instruction

Raise your game at Hazeltine National

Topics: Golf Tips