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Golfing in Cold Weather

Written by Bobby Lopez


Posted on January 11 2014

One of our valued members John Adams asked a great question.  Thought we would share it with the rest of you.

Hey Bobby,

Happy New Year, hope the next one is good for everyone.
Looking forward to the new clinic format. Waiting for the weather to warm some.

That brings me to a question or topic I have been thinking about during this cold weather:

Ball compression ratings and what you should look for and play with depending on your swing AND the weather temperature.

I have been wondering if you play in the cold winter weather, how much that effects what ball compression you should choose. At what temperature, higher as well as lower, than average should you change balls. Maybe you have some info on this?



You might consider playing with the Wilson Duo 50 compression golf ball. I know that Phil uses the Callaway Chrome in colder weather and he uses the Hex Black under normal conditions. We tried balls on a launch monitor once that were six kept in the refrigerator over night and the other six were warmed up on a stove. The launch monitor showed no difference at all.

I think the lower compression ball feels better in the cold. Plus, I think the heavier air in cold weather has it’s influence. Most average golfers just don’t take the wet and cold into account enough. Conditions like we have now I would definitely hit more iron maybe even two clubs in some cases.

The one thing that can be done, (but I don’t know that it is really worth the expense unless you’re to compete in some local amateur events) have a second club head for your driver. Carry more loft for wet conditions to hold the ball in the air longer.

Here’s an article I dug up on the internet below…

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 it’s 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.