cold weather effects on golf ball distance

Started by : Greg M |

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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?

John V


Yes, you will lose distance with a cold ball or playing in cold weather.  I play in Minnesota from the end of March through the beginning of November (I think yesterday will be my last round!).  Early in the spring and late in the fall I lose about 1/2 club distance on full iron shots and about 10 yards on driver shots.

dan t


HI   Ball loses 6 yards per 5 degrees of temperature drop.

 

See here in Canada I swing a 7 iron 90 mph however because of the cold you only get 135+ yards carry off that swing @ 90 mph   whereas if I was in a warmer place that ball would fly 155+

 

Putting balls in your pocket is definatley the wise thing to do

 

Warm balls fly farther!

Brent W


 Try putting a ball in the refrigerator and then drop it on a solid surface with one that is at room temp and see what the difference is.

Maybe try different golf balls.

Chris S


It is my understanding that when the weather gets to lets in the 40* range, the materials in the ball become harder to compress on club impact. This would be the main reason i think you would see some loss of distance in colder weather. I myself just stay using my Pro V1x year round.

Tony G


I agree with everyone else that the cold will make the ball harder and will not compress on the club face as it would during warmer temps.  You could keep a ball or two in our pocket and let your body warmth keep them warm, or get a hand warmer and keep them wrapped in a bag and that should help.  You may rotate your golf balls every hole to get the best from your game.  Good Luck!

Greg W


Cold weather defintely affects distance.  The golf ball does not compress as much. Also, forget about the golf ball and think about how tight your muscles feel, cold your hands are, and all the layers (shirt, longsleve, jacket, etc) you have on. All these factors affect your swing speed making it slower. Combine that with reduced ball compression and there is your loss of distance. Me personally, When I am bundled up in colder conditions, I lose about 15-20% distance.

 

Pete D


If you keep your golf bag & balls indoors overnight before playing, you will minimize the effects of the cold. USGA rules prohibit you from artificially warming your golf balls once the round starts, but at this time of year, rules go out the window for most of us.

Sitting on your golf balls on a heated car seat warms them up even more on the way to the course.

I read that golf balls can take many hours to cool down right to the core, but as others mention here, extra layers of clothing and stiffer muscles may shorten your swing, thereby reducing distance.

I'll play right until the snow flies in southern New Hampshire!

Josh G


"Winter rules Danny, Winter rules"  I keep them in my pocket and switch them out every hole.  I'll be doing the same thing in Northern Mass.  Let's hope winter comes late and leaves early.

John L


Really guys. Cold golf balls are becomeing a topic. Look I'll agree that yes balls don't fly quite as far but how many of you get on launch monitors in 35 degree temperatures. how about the cold affectes on your body might be more limiting to your distance that a golf ball. Im only 29 and i know that when its cold im not as limber and i dont swing as hard naturaly. Number two on limiting my ball flight distance is the extra layers i ware to compensate for the temp.  These layers also reduce my swing range and speed. Im not saying the ball dosent loos a yard or two based on temp. but really the reduction distance is all in your self and your bodies reaction to temp. Makeing excuses based on a golf ball is rediculous. the only time i've ever used cold temp. as an excuse for truly shooting a considerably hight score is when the ground was so frozen my ball bounce off the green like i hit the cart path, from 90 yard 3/4 SW shot. thats is that is my only complainte about cold weather is its cold. not the ball not my clubs. just the hardness of the ground witch i have to learnt to compinsate for and the temp. of my body. Please stop debateing about how far your ball goes in the winter couse of the science of temp. and ball make up. it just sounds so petty.

Josh G


It's tough to control how flexible you feel in the cold, and it's tough to control the number of layers you wear during the cold months, and you can never control course conditions, but you can without a doubt control something like putting a ball in your pocket.

I don't think anyone is making excuses, but more or less looking for anything that can help in the bitter months.  Everyone who tees it up after the leaves fall off the trees knows that their not shooting in ideal scoring conditions, but if you're on this forum you probably want to play your best whenever you play.  If I can gain not lose 5 or more yards than I'm all ears.

Thanks for the tips guys.

John L


Ok so maybe i was alittle hard on the forum for talking about cold golf balls. Sorry if i came of a little "rough" just a force of habit from my work enviroment were pretty hard on each other and do anything we can to give each other a hard time. But i think my main objective of what i posted was to try and guys to focus on course management. if you accept lost yardage in winter months and plan for shorter shots you can club up and make better scores. You get what im saying brother. Just trying to get guys to focuse on course management and not extra yards. I used to be a huge bomb and gouge player. I thought i had to crush every driver shot. but i learned that short and straight beats long and wrong every time. I'll take a 250 tee shot dead center fairway every time over 310 and in the woods. i backed off to an average of 290 this year and went from a 11 handie cap to a season low 5 and stabilized at 8 before the season ended. I just find winter golf to be an excuse to swing clubs. I even play diffrent clubs in the winter. IM sure any one who has hit blades with x100 shafts and corded grips in sub 40 temps will agree even pure shots sting. I'll break out some cavity back s300s with mid size grips just to play. anyways guys good luck this winter on getting as much golf as you can in. i think we all can agree that when your addicted to golf you'll play when ever you get a chance.

Cathy E


I think the originial question was - if temperature is a factor on the make-up of the ball, is there a preferred ball to play when the temps are colder or do all types of balls react similarly when the temps go low and it doesn't it matter?

The one upside to hitting balls when it's 30 degrees is that the ground is usually freezing up, too, and the roll is awesome!  I do that every year at this time just to see how far they will go.  Titleist fleece cap and rain gloves (the all-weather are just too bulky for me) are a staple for me this time of year...even if it's just 30 minutes of hitting balls on our closed course.

David Browning


Like everyone else has already stated, yes, colder weather does in fact have an impact on not just golf balls, but other equipment as well.

 

Here's the tricky part though...if someone does anything intentionally to keep their equipment (golf balls, golf clubs, etc.) warm during a round, (PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong), they violate the rules.

 

Happy golfing!

Brian D


You are 100% correct.  The balls will not compress as much in the cold weather as the warmer.  Right around the 42* and colder mark, I change over from the ProV1 to the DT's as their are a bit more compress to start with.

 

Also correct on the other front.  Try keeping a ball in your pocket and alternate the balls between the holes.

 

Good luck and stay warm!

mike


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. 

 

ToddL


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. 

CLINTON K


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 ball....it'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.

JOHN L


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? 

clayton t


ok here is trick i learned i had fur lined club heads made i switch balls to softer ball then i place doz balls i plan to use that day in the floor in my truck with heater running as i am going to the links i have lined the inside box with foil once i get to corse i place the balls in felt bag switch balls out ever hole i personaly dont think there rule problem there

Josh G


clayton t

ok here is trick i learned i had fur lined club heads made i switch balls to softer ball then i place doz balls i plan to use that day in the floor in my truck with heater running as i am going to the links i have lined the inside box with foil once i get to corse i place the balls in felt bag switch balls out ever hole i personaly dont think there rule problem there

Shenanigans! Although this post is 99% incoherent, I'm fairly sure I've deciphered it correctly, and I have to throw the challenge flag here.  There's no way you actually bring a heated- foil lined box in a felt/fur lined club cover/sack (got a little fuzzy here) to the course.  Putting them in your pocket and switching them every hole probably will do the trick.  I want to see a picture of this contraption.  If you do in fact do this, this might be an ingenious way of keeping my breakfast burritos warm.

clayton t


well josh there is nothing in the usga rules for amateur status that covers  club head covers or about heating prior to arrieving to course

Josh G


clayton t

well josh there is nothing in the usga rules for amateur status that covers  club head covers or about heating prior to arrieving to course

You are correct.  I'm just asking if this is something that you actually do, and if so would you be willing to share a picture of your ball heating contraption.

clayton t


josh what i do it take a 1 doz balls open the box take out all 4 sleeves line the inside the box with foil make sure shiney side toward you do both top and bottom of the box ... while your driving to the golf course take sleeves back out pace all sleeves and empty box of floor have your heater going on the floor... when get there put sleeves back in wrap box with towel or felt bag or something

 

tyler s


I actually did a science fair project for my school on the effect of temperature on a golf ball and calculated that you will lose 5-7 yards because of cold weather

Josh G


clayton t

josh what i do it take a 1 doz balls open the box take out all 4 sleeves line the inside the box with foil make sure shiney side toward you do both top and bottom of the box ... while your driving to the golf course take sleeves back out pace all sleeves and empty box of floor have your heater going on the floor... when get there put sleeves back in wrap box with towel or felt bag or something

Do you think it could hold a breakfast burrito also?

Ross H


I have been golf for over 40 years and I have found out that cold weather effects the golf ball distance.  Keep your bag with sticks and balls in your home before playing.  Thanks,  Ross  Pinehurst, NC

Sterling P


I know a "scratch" golfer (assistant pro), and he says that in temperatures of less than 50 degrees, he will play a ball that has less compression.  In that way he was able still to compress the ball a bit easier.

Tyler V


The cold weather causes the compression to get higher. For someone with a higher swing speed, that could, and theoretically should mean that the ball with fly farther. For someone with a slower speed, however, that would make the ball go even shorter, as you would be unable to compress the ball as much as normal.

For example, someone with say, a pro long driver swing speed, they could theoretically play a max compression ball in the coldest possible weather and still hit it farther, so long as they can still swing max speed, and still fully compress the ball (there should be no reason for them not to be able to).

Mike D., Team Titleist Manager


Hi all,

Great discussion going here. Just wanted to jump in quickly with some feedback from the golf ball R&D team on the topic of weather/temperature and the effect on your golf ball. Here is what they had to say when asked... 

“Will temperature effect golf balls in different ways?”

R&D: If you are playing with cold golf balls you’ll see distance loss. We recommend playing with room temperature golf balls. However, the other factors that typically accompany cold-weather golf (i.e. wearing more layers, frozen ground, wind, etc.) might have a bigger impact on a golfer’s overall performance.

We would recommend always playing the same model golf ball. Keep in mind, changing golf balls changes every shot. So the best way to take that element out of the equation is to find the best golf ball for your game and play it consistently. 

Hope this helps provide some more insight.

Cheers (and stay warm out there)!

- Mike

Josh G


Thanks for the reply Mike,

In all seriousness I will keep a ball in my pocket and switch it every other hole.  I definitely notice distance loss in the winter, but like your R&D buddies said, it could be from a combination of things.  Clubbing up usually does the trick for me.  I'd rather lose yards than lose spin and feel from close range.

Chris K


Your right Josh. I play in cold weather from Nov through Jan here in North East Ohio. Keep them in your pocket and keep changing. But the loss of some yards can be made up with club selection. Anyway a few yards is no big deal. It's not distance with win's it's having a good swing and hitting your target.

Philip


A lot of fellows switch to a women's ball during the winter months to try and offset some of the lost distance from the colder air.  Keep the golf balls warm before going to the course and consider trying a very low compression women's ball.

Steve M


Hi Folks!

Living in cleve we experience a lot of pretty cool weather in the fall, but there are too many nice days to give up golf. My solution to the loss of distance from the cold, extra clothing, etc. is to switch golf balls. I play the NXT Tour most of the season, but switch to the DT Solo once it gets down to 55 & below. I find this restores some height and distance to the ball flight. I'm not sure what all the causes and effects are, but the ball makes a difference.

Steve M.

Brian K


Just curious.. would the temperature difference have an effect on your clubs as well?

Dani N


Cold weather, what's that?  It was 93* here in California last week mid November.  The solution is to just move West.

Ross H


Brian K

Just curious.. would the temperature difference have an effect on your clubs as well?

  Yes, the weather would effect the clubs as well.  I never leave my clubs and balls in my car on a cold night before I plan to play the nest day.  It not only effects the clubs but the change in weather will deterrant the grips.  I have played golf for over 45 years in North Carolina near Pinehurst, NC.

Zach S


I played in the cold last week and i tried both a Pro V1 and a Pro V1x and the balls went the exact same distance as each other but about 5 yards shorter than they both would in the warmer weather. So i think through my experience that the weather affects all balls the same.

Jason C


When it's about 45 F or below I feel like I need to hit a half or full club more on my iron shots. I'm sure it is partially the ball, but for me I think  the layers of clothing restrict my swing

Stan K


It's a combination of things.  Dense air in the winter, more clothing, harder golf balls due to cold.  I play a softer ball (ladies golf ball) and keep them in the house in the winter.  It will take the better part of a day to get the mass of a golf ball up to room temperature.  Plus play "winter rules" since you can't enter a handicap this time of year in the northeast keep 1 in your pocket and switch out every hole

Tony R


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?

Davis L


I also have a question related to this.  Living in Colorado, I wondered, does altitude also add the the less far the golf ball go in the cold?

Bill C


I'm with you late and early southeastern Mass! So far not bad down here in fact today is a perfect day for golf! Going out at 10:30 38 - 38 degrees no wind!

garymch1


The original question WAS what ball is better to play in the colder weather - I normally play Pro V1 and was wondering if one of the NXTs would be easier to compress.

I'm 66 and a 10 HC- hit my drive about 230, hit a 7 iron about 152.

Kevin B


my 2 cents…. as others have said, once it gets to 50* or below, i find I'm at least one club shorter with my irons. i will play into the high 30's but 45-50* days are a must get out in the winter

Josh G


garymch1

The original question WAS what ball is better to play in the colder weather - I normally play Pro V1 and was wondering if one of the NXTs would be easier to compress.

I'm 66 and a 10 HC- hit my drive about 230, hit a 7 iron about 152.

Hi Gary,

I wouldn't suggest switching balls based on weather. You'll be changing more than you think. Not every shot you hit is going to be full swing or full compression. I feel it's better to just know what the climate does to your game. Play an extra club before you switch balls to try and mimic summer distances.