What Happens to a Golf Ball When It Sits in Water: Explained

Don't Be That Guy

Have you ever wondered what happens to a golf ball when it sits in water? Whether it's due to an errant shot or an attempt to clear a water hazard, golf balls can spend significant time submerged. In this article, we'll delve into the effects of water exposure on golf balls and address the question of whether you should use a golf ball you find in the water.

The Effects of Water on Golf Balls:

1. Absorption of Water: Golf balls are typically designed to resist water absorption to some extent. However, over time, water can gradually seep into the ball's core through the microscopic pores present in the cover material. This absorption can lead to an increase in the ball's weight, potentially affecting its performance.

2. Alteration of Balance and Symmetry: Water absorption can lead to an imbalance in the ball's weight distribution. This can cause the ball to become less symmetrical, affecting its aerodynamic properties when in flight. As a result, shots hit with water-logged balls may not travel as far or as accurately.

3. Impact on Compression: Golf balls are designed with specific compression levels that influence their feel and performance. Water absorption can alter the compression characteristics of a golf ball, leading to a change in how the ball responds to impact with the clubface. This alteration can result in less predictable shot outcomes.

4. Cover Damage: Extended exposure to water can lead to the deterioration of the ball's cover material. This damage can manifest as scuffs, scratches, or even peeling of the cover. A compromised cover can further impact the ball's aerodynamics and overall performance.

5. Loss of Distance and Control: Due to the combined effects of weight increase, altered balance, and cover damage, a water-logged golf ball is likely to lose distance off the tee and experience reduced control around the greens.

Using Golf Balls Found in Water:

The decision to use a golf ball found in the water depends on several factors:

1. Condition: Inspect the ball closely for signs of damage, such as cracks, significant scuffs, or cover peeling. If the ball appears to be in good condition, it might still be usable.

2. Level of Play: For casual or practice rounds, using a recovered golf ball might be acceptable, as the impact of its compromised performance may not be as critical. However, for competitive play or important rounds, it's advisable to use a ball in optimal condition to ensure consistent results.

3. Personal Preference: Some golfers are more sensitive to the feel and performance of their golf balls than others. If you're particular about your equipment's performance, you might choose to avoid using balls that have been submerged.

4. Proper Drying: If you decide to use a golf ball recovered from the water, make sure to thoroughly dry it before play. Moisture on the ball's surface can affect grip and potentially worsen its performance.

Conclusion: Make an Informed Choice

While golf balls are designed to resist water to a certain extent, extended exposure to water can have detrimental effects on their performance. If you find yourself in a situation where you're considering using a golf ball recovered from the water, assess its condition, your level of play, and personal preferences before making a decision. For optimal results, especially in important rounds, it's recommended to use golf balls that are in prime condition to achieve the desired distance, control, and consistency in your shots. Shop Golf Balls