cold weather effects on golf ball distance

Started by : Greg M |

Jump To Last Reply

Greg M

I play golf almost year round and a couple of guys are always switching to different type balls. I know cold weather has some effect but does it really matter?


i have just played with the temp in the low 40's and found the pro v1 to still be the best all around ball. I did put my balls in a beanie and set them on the defrost heat on the way to the course and left them in the beanie in my golf bag. i kept one in my pocket and one on the course and did not notice any distance loss and had outstanding feel around the greens as usual. Warm or cold, the pro v is still the best ball.

greg g

From Massachusetts here and yes the cold effects the golf ball.  Played last weekend on the 5th and the course was closed for the season as of the 6th due to the cold.  Every fairway/green was frozen so it wasn't realistic golf.  

To answer the OP question, the distance will be reduced but can be minimized with a hand warmer in your pocket and a few balls right beside it.  I know this is not a round based on the rules of golf but it is also not a accurate representation hitting the ball onto concrete fairways.  I use this time to practice bump and run type approaches and more work on my ball flight in the windy conditions.  I typically use V1's or V1x's in all conditions.  So folks are aware, my understanding is that golf balls are engineered to react best between 70-80 degrees F. 



As a general rule, I have found that I lose about 10% distance when the temperature is below 50 degrees.  I play the Pro V1x and do switch out to an NXT or Pinnacle in the colder weather.  I have not found to much difference in the playability of the balls in the cold weather, so I choose to play the less expensive ones when the difference is not very significant. 


I'll admit that living in South Carolina doesn't give me the expertice in cold weather golf, but i do know that when the temp drops below 50 so does the distance.  I played in a tournament yesterday, it was 43 degrees and I was almost a club shorter with my irons.  I play the Pro V1x, but when it gets cold out I'll switch to the Pro V1, or even another ball.  It's simple physics, colder materials do not have the elasticity as warmer materials.  When it gets cold out the ball just won't compress like it should.  So when the temp drops, drop the compression on your golf'll help.

Jim P

I live in Texas where we play the year round. When the temperature is in the forties, my ball(PRO V1X) definately goes about a club shorter with my Titleist blades.  When the air is colder it is denser which in addition to all the other factors previously mentioned have an effect on distance.  The experts at the USGA say as a gentle rule you lose 3yds. for every 10 degree drop in temperature.

Jim P

Geoffrey B

Ha I also follow ''winter rules''.

Mike W

I usually just take an extra club after about temp drops below about 42 degrees. It works both ways I will take off about half a club if it's about about 80-83 degrees. Tempand distance is all about feel for me.

Jim W

For me personally, I don't think it has so much to do with the golf ball as it does with all the extra layers of clothing I have to wear in colder weather and the fact that I cant swing as freely as I can on a nice warm sunny day.


it matters trust me> if you have ever seen the show sports --something they did a test with a cold golf ball and one with a warm golf ball the warm one went 8 yards farter. they determined that , it comes down to compression of the ball. thats why the prov balls go for ever cause titliest has some very smart people designing there balls,

Fred C

Greg M

I play golf almost year round and a couple of guys are always switching to different type balls. I know cold weather has some effect but does it really matter?

Temperature does have an effect. In 1978, I conducted a study in college with the help of the golf team using Titleist Pro Traj 100 comp balls. WE measured carry distance of Driver, 3 iron, 6 iron and 9 iron at temperatures from approximately 95 degrees F to 45 degrees F. In a nutshell, no matter the club, there was almost an 8 yard drop in 95 degrees to 65 degrees and another 8 yard loss from 65 deg to 45 deg.

I am certain Titleist  has performed such studies with their current offerings and I would love to learn what they have discovered.

Cathi, Titleist Club Concierge

. While we do not have specific data available to be shared, there are really two aspects to the question of temperature - : the temperature of the ball itself, and the temperature of the air it's flying through. When the ball gets cold, the materials lose some resilience ("bounciness") so they come off the clubface slower and thus lose some distance. The materials also firm up, which makes the ball feel harder on impact. Since most golf balls these days use similar materials inside, these effects will also tend to be similar. Of course, these factors can be easily minimized or eliminated by not letting the ball get cold. We always recommend that golf balls be stored indoors at room temperature between rounds, and that's especially important during cold or hot times. If it's really cold outside, it's not a bad idea to alternate two balls hole-by-hole, keeping the idle one in a warm pocket.

The air temperature affects ball flight because colder air is denser ("heavier") and thus caused greater aerodynamic drag. There is nothing you can do about this one, and it will affect different types of balls in essentially the same way. It's not a huge effect but it can be significant. The distance loss between a 70° day and a 40° day, for example, will be somewhere in the ballpark of 2%.

Andrew W

A golf ball does get harder in the cold, but that shouldn't limit your distance too much. However, your layers most likely limit your body movement and thus your swing speed will dip.

One way to really help as well is to keep your clubs (especially your woods) warm. Your driver face, if warm, will actually hit the ball farther do to how hard it is. (similar to a bat warmer for softball).

I always keep my rain cover over my clubs and always put the club covers on them right away. As someone earlier mentioned, keep your clubs inside and in your car in transit rather than in your trunk or back of truck. The warmer, the better.

Hope it helps. 


PS...harder balls roll farther. Keep your flight low and that should help keep your distance!!!


Eric P

Yea, it does. The ball will get harder and become harder to compress. Vis versa, if a ball gets warmer, it'll go further, about 10 yds, either less or more, for colder and warmer. Look it up on YouTube, sports science does a segment on it. I recommend having hand warmers in your pockets and putting the balls on them, it'll make them fly further.

Glen K

Come on Man. When we golf in the middle of November we're doing it to keep our swing going and because we want to play as much as possible.  Do you seriously think that we're worried about a rule like that when it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit out there?