Hot and Cold Golf Balls

By Christopher Zoukis

Most people don’t know it, but the temperature of the golf ball and the ambient temperature affect the performance of the ball.  Air temperature causes changes in the ball’s resiliency and its spin, along with the density of the air it travels through.

Generally speaking, the warmer a golf ball is the farther it travels.  This is because the rubber materials used to construct the balls function more efficiently and provide more resilience at higher temperatures.  A warmer ball leaves the clubface with more velocity and more spin, encouraging loft.  In addition, if the ball is warm when it lands, it carries more bounce, because heat gives the ball more elasticity.  The ball bounces more and travels further.

The cooler the ambient temperature is, the more dense the air.  If the air is dense, the ball needs more velocity to go as far as it would in thinner or warmer air.  So if the ambient temperature is warm, the air is less dense, which means the ball performs better.  It’s not unlike the tires on race cars, where the higher the temperature, the stickier the tire, which means the car can go faster.

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