Hot vs. Cold Golfball
It's time to answer a question that many golfers ask themselves: Does a cold golf ball fly further than a hot golf ball? Or, in other words, can one expect more or less distance in cold conditions? The latter can already be said without testing: at least the club head speed is reduced in a cold environment because the extremities cannot accelerate the club as easily. Our legs and arms are cooled down and we usually wear much more clothing than usual. That's why we don't reach the club head speeds we do in the summer.
However, we are only interested in the ball in this test: does a hot ball behave differently from a cold ball?
Our Test Setup
We put the same balls in 60°C hot water and other balls in the snow at 0°C. Our balls spend a few hours here so that they are already warmed up or cooled down. Then we hit 2 or 3 balls and change the balls again so that they don't get too close to room temperature. We do all this with a sufficient number of shots and pay particular attention to an equal strike pattern and the same club head speed. A high-quality 3-piece ball, the Honma TW-S, was used.
To be honest, we did not expect such a clear result. The ball speed is a good 1.5mph slower with the hot ball. And the cold ball, with just under 2000rpm of backspin, is far below the almost 2800rpm of the hot ball. It is this difference in spin that is responsible for the distance: 12m carry and 16m total. So the cold ball flies significantly further than the hot ball.
Why is that?
To be honest, we are no physicists, but in our opinion the cold ball is a bit harder and can be compressed better. The spin difference could be explained by the fact that the hot surface of the ball simply achieves more friction and thus stays longer on the clubface. This results in more spin. However, nobody would have thought that this effect would be so strong.
Do you hit further in cold temperatures?
It depends and there are two more factors to consider that we could not show with this test. Firstly, how much our club head speed suffers under low temperatures and three layers of clothing. And secondly, what influence the cold air has on the flight characteristics of the ball. Both would have to be quantified in a separate test to be able to really make a statement.