Article 1

Cold Weather Effect of the Golf Ball

Good Day to everyone reading this.  I did some research on a subject I think is very important because I get this question a lot, “What is the effect cold
weather plays on my distances when playing golf.”   The other question is, “What type of golf ball should I use when it gets
cold.”  I went to the internet and found two articles I thought were very informative. Please read these two articles and hopefully help understand a little
more what temperature can do in the game of golf.

Article 1

Professional baseball players and ordinary golfers share a common disdain for playing in the cold. Batters face the stinging sensation that accompanies a 95-mile-per-hour fastball in on the hands, and golfers face the stinging sensation associated with thin shots and hard golf balls.  Ouch. 

For those brave enough to get out there in the frigid winter months, consider changing to a low compression ball. Choosing
the nuggets that have been marinating in your trunk or basement since last October is a mistake. Air temperature wreaks more havoc on distance than the
temperature of the ball itself, but balls left in cold places tend to harden, making mis-hits harsher on the hands.

"There are two important points to keep in mind about playing golf in cold weather," said Steve Ogg, vice president of golf ball research and development for Callaway Golf. "The first is that golf balls are not as resilient, and the second is that the air is denser as compared to warm temperatures. Both of these
factors result in a loss of distance. You may even need to adjust your club selection, depending on how cold it is." 

In other words, those high compression balls will not go as far as low compression balls when the mercury drops below about 50 degrees. And if you store them in a cold climate, like your trunk or garage, they'll harden, which will result in more sting on your mis-hits. 

The optimum temperature for a golf ball is 80 degrees. As a ball's temperature drops, it won't compress as much off the clubface. For maximum playability, store the balls at room temperature.  

Read more:

Article 2

The temperature of the golf ball and the air temperature on the day you're playing directly affect how your ball will perform during a round. Generally, temperature affects a ball's resiliency, the spin and the density of the air through which the ball travels. Each contributes to how a ball performs. Knowing this can help your scores.

Ball Temperature

Generally, a warmer golf ball travels farther. The rubber materials used to make golf balls respond better if they are more resilient. Warmth enhances resiliency. A warmer ball will come off the clubface with more velocity and spin than a colder ball, encouraging loft. The ball's temperature also has an effect on bounce. Heat gives the ball more elasticity, creating a ball that bounces more and travels longer.

Air Temperature

Colder days mean the air density is greater. If the air is "thick," the ball requires more velocity to produce a longer shot. Conversely, if the air temperature is warm, there is less density, and the ball has the chance to perform better and travel farther. It's not unlike the human body. Muscles are more flexible and responsive when the temperature is warm than when it's cold. We are able to move more efficiently. The same goes for a golf ball.

Ball Selection

If you are playing in colder weather (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit), the ball's compression can make a big difference in performance. Generally, high
compression golf balls will not travel as far as lower compression balls in chilly weather. Also, if it's cold, and you store your golf balls in a cold
place, like a garage or your car, the higher compression balls will harden. That makes them less resilient.

Club Selection

If you're playing in weather where the air temperature is 50 degrees or below, you need to use more club than you would in warmer conditions. For every 10 degrees chillier, calculate about 2 yards of lost distance. So, if you hit a ball with an 8-iron about 130-yards when its 90 degrees, you're going to hit it about 122 yards when it's 50 degrees. That's about a club shorter. In colder weather, you may need a 7-iron to hit the ball as far as you might with an 8-iron in warmer conditions.

Golf Ball Warmers

Devices on the market claim they can warm your golf ball and create one that travels farther. Some are plug-in units that electronically produce heat that transfers to the ball. Others are compartmentalized units that allow you to put golf balls in the microwave oven. There is considerable debate about whether this process makes a difference in ball performance, since the balls generally won't retain their warmth for more than a half-hour.

To sum up the articles to those who choose to play in colder weather,  


1)     optimum temperature for a golf ball is 80 degrees

2)     For every 10 degrees chillier, calculate about 2 yards of lost distance

3)     70 Degrees I would stay with the normal club for any distance

4)     60 Degrees – add a ½ of club

5)     50 Degrees – Add a full club

6)     40 Degrees – Add 2 full clubs

7)    30 Degrees – I think you’re crazy for playing that day (Just my opinion)

Cold air is denser and neither golf balls, baseballs, nor other sports related projectiles will fly as far when it is cold outside.   This little chart above is what I use when I play the game.  This is just a little tip to help if you’re a cold weather golfer.  If you’re a warm weather golfer, then no need for this information and see you sometime in the spring.

Holidays to all,

Mark Sheftic
Merion Golf Club
Teaching Professional