The majority of the golf courses present have a pond or lake nearby; thus, your golf balls are bound to be in contact with water at some point while playing. But, can golf balls get waterlogged?
A golf ball immersed underwater for an extended period can be waterlogged. The golf ball core is generally hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water. But, it takes about 12 hours for the water to get through the cover and reach the heart of the golf ball.
To save money, as golf balls are pretty expensive, people just pick the ball back up from the water, wipe it off and then reuse it.
However, the question that remains is whether or not the golf ball gets waterlogged? Here, in this article, we’ve discussed waterlogged golf balls.
How Are Golf Balls Made?
The basic core element of every golf ball is made from rubber which is then covered by protective outer layers. The outer covers are made mainly from either Surlyn or Urethane, which helps in protecting the inside material.
Some golf balls are known as three-piece balls as they have an additional center filled with liquid with a rubber thread around them under tension. The design of the golf balls depends on the manufacturer, as everyone has their own style.
Even though these small balls may look like they’re simple to make, many processes going on in their making.
The video below details how golf balls are made.
Can Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?
Golf balls do tend to get waterlogged as the core of it is hygroscopic, meaning that it readily absorbs water. That being said, the bright side is that because of their complex layering and structure, it takes a long while for it to happen, especially if it’s a new ball.
The outer coverings of the golf balls provide good enough protection from water, but if you look at the microstructure of the ball, it definitely has gaps in between where the water sneaks in from.
A new golf ball will have no cracks or fissures on it; hence for it to get waterlogged, they have to be submerged inside the water for a long time which could be anything, months, or years.
On the other hand, used balls usually do have some sort of micro-cracks present on them; hence they’ll get waterlogged much earlier compared to a new ball. The bigger cracks and damage the golf ball has, the more likely it is for the water to reach its core and accumulate.
What Contribute To Making a Golf Ball Waterlogged?
A few factors can contribute to making a golf ball waterlogged. Here are some of the most common ways a golf ball becomes waterlogged.
- Extended time in the water: If your golf ball fell in the water when playing, and you go to recover it quickly, the chances of waterlogging are very low. However, if you pick up another player’s golf ball instead and that has been sitting in the water for more than 12 hours, the chances of waterlogging and damages are high.
- Cracks or Damage: Golf balls with cracks and damage are more likely to be waterlogged. Golf balls with external damage can become soggy if submerged in water for more than 12 hours.
- Age of the golf ball: The older the golf ball, the more likely it can become waterlogged. As a rule of thumb, golf balls generally last about seven full 18-hole rounds, and after, you will notice a change in performance.
How to Tell If A Golf Ball Is Waterlogged?
Did your golf ball accidentally land in the water instead of the hole? That must have got you wondering if it got waterlogged or not. Well, the chances are that it probably didn’t, as it takes a lot of time for that to occur unless your golf ball had humongous visible cracks on, then take it as a sign to get new ones.
There are different methods by which you can check if your golf ball is filled with water inside or not. Some ways include:
As the name suggests, the test is that you just have to throw the ball from a height and see if it bounces as a normal non-waterlogged golf ball would.
If the golf ball has water present inside it, then the compressibility of it becomes bad hence it wouldn’t bounce as such.
2- Salt and Water
For this, you’ll need to get a bucket which has to be filled with a mixture of salt and water. Once that’s done, take your golf balls and place them inside the bucket and observe which one sinks and which doesn’t.
Waterlogged golf balls will sink to the bottom of the bucket as their density will be much more than the normal ones.
Another way you can differentiate a waterlogged golf ball from a normal one is by the hitting sound. However, this test may be difficult for you to understand if you’re a newbie at golf.
You’ll have to hear the sound when your golf club makes an impact with the ball. The crisp and clear sound of a new ball being shot is easily recognizable, whereas a waterlogged ball will have a dull sound to it.
If you’re a pro golfer, then you should get new golf balls right away if you hear a fading sound, whereas if you play it for fun, only then you can work with it for a while more.
Hit your golf ball the usual way you do to see how far it goes. If it’s the same distance as it typically goes with a certain force, then it’s probably not waterlogged.
However, if it doesn’t go that far even though you’re using the same technique, then it’s time that you throw away our old golf balls and get new ones.
Effect of Water on Golf Balls
If you play golf, you probably have seen that it tends to compress when you hit the golf ball and then come back to its original shape. However, with a waterlogged golf ball, the compressibility decreases. This is due to another added layer of water formed within the inner layers of the golf ball, which also ends up increasing the total mass of the ball.
Along with the increase in mass, a waterlogged golf ball won’t go the distance you want it to cause of its heavier density. The energy that was supposed to help the golf ball go far ends up being absorbed by the water molecules, which release it way slower.
Should I play with Waterlogged Golf Balls?
As a rule of thumb, it is not recommended to play with waterlogged golf balls because golf balls lose distance and effectiveness during your golf game.
A golf ball that has been in the water for more than 12 hours will not hit a long distance compared to a ball that did not touch the water. Generally, after about 12 hours, the water will penetrate the golf ball’s cover and reach its core.
Also, in some cases, the answer to this question depends on whether you play golf seriously or just as a fun time with your friends. It really doesn’t matter much for beginners, and you probably won’t even notice the difference, whereas if you’re an advanced player, you should spend money on getting new ones!
The urethane and surlyn golf balls’ outer shells are meant to keep them dry and clean. But, at the very microstructural level, molecules come with inevitable gaps, which are sufficiently big to let water particles pass through.
And after the water breaches the outer shell, it creates an extra layer within the ball, which will affect its mass and energy absorption. As a result, the affected golf ball will not compress, losing distance.
Ways To Prevent Waterlogging
There are ways you can prevent your golf balls from being waterlogged and hindering your performance. These include:
1- Waterproof Golf Balls
There are plenty of companies that sell golf balls with modified features such as a stronger coating and waterproof materials, so you can invest in those instead. However, they’re a bit expensive, so make sure you read all the reviews before buying them.
A simple way of preventing your golf balls is just drying them off whenever they get wet. This way, the water won’t have enough time to sink in between your golf ball hence no waterlogging problem.
3- Avoid Used Golf Balls
If you see people selling golf balls for a low price, then there’s a high chance they are used or waterlogged.
4A (Near Mint grade golf balls) is acceptable and undoubtedly playable for most people. They might come with little markings and logos, but they should be pretty good regarding scratches.
Avoid buying refurbished or refinished golf balls; even though they look great, they will not provide a good experience because the covers are sanded off and repainted.
Here is a website where you can buy used golf balls
Keep your golf balls in a safe place when you’re not using them. Avoid keeping them in open areas as rain could damage them as well.
You can be at peace knowing that it’s not easy for a golf ball to get waterlogged. Because of modern methods of making one, golf balls generally have good resistance to water. Plus, it takes a lot of months or years for a golf ball that’s submerged in water to become waterlogged if it’s new.
Look out for any cracks or discoloration on your golf ball; if present, then you should consider buying new ones, especially if you play golf passionately, as it affects the performance. You can also protect your golf balls from getting waterlogged by certain methods so that your golf balls don’t cost you your game!
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