Picked up your golf ball from a pond and you feel confused: Should I even use this ball again? If you are in such a situation or if you are a pond golf ball collector I will discuss in detail do golf balls get waterlogged and are they useable? I will not talk in complicated language difficult to understand. It will be easy and in layman terms, so you can get your concepts cleared. Let’s get started
HOW ARE MODERN BALLS MADE
Modern ball has layers, they can be two, three or four. The first layer is the plastic layer followed by inner layers. For a ball to get waterlogged, water has to seep through the outer hard plastic surface and get into the inner layers. Golf balls have a weight limit and before making ball companies decide how much each layer will contribute to the weight and how it will help in absorbing the energy from the club head at the time of impact.
Therefore, these layers are carefully designed keeping in mind the significance of inner chemistry of each layer. Making golf balls is a complicated process and how they will react to the impact is kept in mind while making the golf ball. By now you should be thinking what happens if an extra layer of water gets in? I will discuss that shortly.
Can Water Penetrate Outer Layer
From the naked eye it seems almost impossible for the water to penetrate the outer layer of the golf ball but at the microstructure level, there are gaps at the molecular structure of the outer layer of the golf ball. Water molecules can move in through the mesh of the molecular structure straight into the inner layers of the golf ball.
Yes, the water can get penetrate and disturb the mass distribution of the inner layer.
How Water Disturbs The Energy Transfer?
Now that we know that water can seep in and create an extra layer inside the golf ball. This layer not only get intermixed with existing layer increasing the mass but also can form shells between each layer reducing the friction between each layer and acting as an energy absorber.
At the time of impact, if you observe a golf ball closely it shrinks and then gets back to its original shape. With a ball waterlogged its elasticity gets disturbed because there is less inner space now available for the ball to compress into. The energy that went in, which was meant to increase the carry distance gets absorbed by the unwanted water molecule. These molecules release energy slowly and do not contribute to any form of loft or carry distance.
Why Don’t They Make Outer Shell Impermeable
Simply because they want you to buy new balls. It is a business model. Also, there is a scientific reason for it as well. Harder balls affect the compression rating of the balls. Balls are designed to compress more or less at the time of impact. Different benefits are associated with compression I have discussed in this post in detail. Check it out if you want to get into the depth of this topic.
How Duration Affects Golf Ball Waterlogging
It completely depends on how long the ball was submerged into the water. If it was in the water for a few minutes there is going to be hardly any damage to the inside of the ball. The molecular distances are massive at the nanoscale. Water molecule would require a lot of time to seep through the outer shell and get inside.
If the golf ball was submerged for a few weeks to a month expect to lose a few yards with a driver shot. Picking a golf ball out from the water that remained underwater for years can take more than a dozen or two yards of carrying distance. So yes distance traveled is directly proportional to how much time the golf ball remained under water.
Should I play with Waterlogged Golf Balls
If you are a newbie, a total beginner or who plays golf with friends only for fun, the yards you will lose will not matter much. For a low handicap player trying to build authority, wet golf balls are a straight no. But as I said earlier the sooner you recover the ball from a puddle the better it is. If the water is warmer then it will seep in quicker than average and compromise more carry distance.
Do not buy a waterlogged bottle from amateur golf ball seller unless you are looking to practice your swinging speed. I would personally never recommend playing with a ball submerged in water for a week to a good player. It is important to measure your performance. Yes, it is fun to play the game but it is also important to be better at it the next time you are at the course. Invest in a mid-range golf ball set such as superhot bold that can offer both flight and distance.
Does Water Affect Aerodynamics
To me yes it does, drag depends on the mass of the object. Water increases the mass of the ball, up in the air the increased material inside the ball will get more resistance from the air and as a result, more energy gets lost in the air. So the carry distance is reduced not only because of wrong energy absorption at the time of the impact but also during the flight. So these are the two major reason why waterlogged golf balls give lower travel distance.
Wrap Up: Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged
Absolutely yes, I would recommend playing with them if they remained under water for less than a few hours. Anything longer than that is serious damage for someone who takes this game passionately. Golf balls do not get waterlogged quickly, it takes months and years for a ball to have a massive decrease in its performance. But for scratch and good players, even slightest decrease in travel distance from off the tee are big signs to get worried.
If you want to move from high to mid or low handicap zone your golf equipment has to be top notch. Technology has improved and made this game easier. Do not give your self any unnecessary disadvantage by saving some bucks.