How Golf Balls Play in the Cold

Players living in cold areas know that chilly weather comes with its own unique problems when it comes to playing golf.  Even on the days where the snow isn’t too deep or the wind too biting to play, the low temperatures will still have an adverse affect on your game particularly when it comes to ball flight.

During the winter months, the air is (obviously) colder subsequently denser.  Your ball has to cut through this extra density.  This added resistance means subtracted yardage when it comes to your drives.  If you want to see this effect in action, check out this video below.



The simple fact is: a colder ball mean shorter ball flight.  Equipment expert Frank Thomas says that for every degree that the temperature drops, you lose about a foot on the carry.  Conversely, every degree the temperature increases, you get a foot of added carry.  So if you’re playing in 50-degree weather, your ball will get almost 7 yards further than the same ball in 30-degree conditions.


So the question becomes: how exactly do you keep your ball warm during cold weather?  A lot of players will actually carry their balls in their pockets and swap out their “live” ball with their pocket ball between holes.  Unfortunately, this simple solution has pretty much no affect whatsoever on your ball’s temperature.  According to, a ball’s ideal playing temperature is around 80 degrees, meaning your actual ball should be 80 degrees (not the air outside) in order to achieve maximum distance. At 80 degrees, your ball will provide the highest amount of compression off the clubface.  Keeping your ball in your pocket is not going to heat it up that much.  Also, golf balls take around 6 full hours in order for the temperature to reach the core.

Golf Ball In the Snow
So how do you avoid cool cores?  For one, don’t store your golf balls in the trunk of your car during winter.  Keeping your golf balls inside will help preserve the core temperature.  Then rotating them in your pocket once you’re on the course will help slow down the ball’s cooling process.


If you’re looking for a more immediate solution, however, you can always invest in a golf ball warmer. Golf ball warmers can hold up to 6 balls at a time and are designed to raise a ball’s temperature to ideal conditions.  These are handy anytime, from warm days to downright cold days and everything in between.  Even if it’s a balmy 70 degrees outside, heating up your golf ball to the recommended 80 degrees will give you a few extra feet on your drives.


By simply raising your ball’s temperature you can raise your drive distance and lower your score.  Now that you know this, you’re ready to heat up the links!

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