There are many cases where your golf balls can come into contact with water, like while playing in the rain, or when you play near a lake or pond and accidentally hit your balls into the water.
Some people may decide to leave the ball wet and buy a new one. It’s a waste doing so. But if you fish it out of the water, can the golf ball still perform well as before?
Do golf balls get waterlogged? How long does it take for a golf ball to get waterlogged? How to know if the ball is still usable?
If you are facing these questions, find your answers here!
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Do Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?
The answer is actually yes to this question. Golf balls can be waterlogged, however, it does not get waterlogged easily. To understand how golf balls get waterlogged, I would first brief on their construction and waterlogging reasons.
Keep reading to have some background knowledge to get the explanation more easily!
First, understanding how golf balls are made is important to explain why and how they can be waterlogged.
There are several types of golf balls, with different layers, cores and outers. Each type would have different properties and thereby be different in the water.
However, most modern and legal golf balls are designed with core and outer layers. The core can be solid or filled with liquid to serve different purposes, but the outer coating is the key factor that decides the waterproof ability.
Based on that, there are two ways of explaining why golf balls get waterlogged.
On the one hand, it is due to the materials and structure of golf balls. Despite the water-resistant coat, the golf ball is not totally waterproof.
Obviously, golf balls are designed to maximize the golfing experience and meet the game’s requirements like compression, spin, speed, distance, and so on. However, materials that provide the ball with the best performance are not great in waterproofing.
Moreover, there are gaps among layers of the balls and their molecules. Although these gaps are invisible for bare human eyes, they are large enough for water molecules to penetrate.
On the other hand, old golf balls or those with cracks and damage can be waterlogged easily. Sometimes, old golf balls may have micro-cracks that you can’t see. In this case, the golf ball can get waterlogged if submerged in the water for a while.
Do Wet Golf Balls Make a Difference?
Waterlogging can cause the golf ball to lose some materials’ properties, thus decreasing its performance.
Particularly, when the water penetrates into the golf ball, it would fill the space among layers, creating a water layer. With an additional layer, the mass of the golf ball would change, leading to a change in aerodynamics.
Moreover, due to the water layer formed within the golf ball, it could not compress as much as before. Therefore, the ball may not guarantee flying distance when playing.
The extent of impact also varies depending on the time of submersion. The longer the golf ball stays underwater, the less likely it can fly far.
In case the ball has not stayed underwater long enough to get waterlogged, there is no need to worry about the performance. However, the appearance of the golf ball, particularly the logo or anything printed on its surface may bleach out.
This happens due to the UV rays from sunlight coming through the water, naturally breaking down the structure of synthetic polymers within the golf ball covers.
How to Tell if a Golf Ball Is Waterlogged?
Although the process of waterlogging is slow, it does happen gradually if the ball is continuously exposed to the water. Definitely, the ball’s performance would be impacted by waterlogging to some extent.
However, make sure that you can differentiate between a wet ball and a waterlogged ball before throwing it away or recycling.
If the ball only gets wet, the properties and performance are not impacted. Instead, it can perform better in some aspects. For example, the ball would have lower spin and less drag, allowing it to go farther on the grass.
In case the golf ball has got waterlogged, you should not use it for playing. If you have no idea of how to tell whether a golf ball is waterlogged or not, read the following tips!
Once golf balls get waterlogged, their ability to compress becomes worse. As a result, the ball is not as bouncy as a normal golf ball should be. You can take advantage of this property to test and see if the ball is waterlogged or not.
To take this test, you need a new ball to make a comparison with the old one. Simply drop both golf balls from the same height simultaneously and observe.
The new ball may probably have more bounce because it’s still in the original condition. However, the disparity between the bounce of both golf balls should not be too significant.
If the old golf ball can bounce at a comparatively similar height, the ball seems to be usable. In contrast, if the difference is noticeable, it means your old ball may have got waterlogged.
2. Hitting Sound
Another tip for testing if a golf ball is waterlogged is to hit it with your driver and hear the sound at impact. This sound is formed by the vibrations throughout golf ball layers when there is a force upon the golf ball.
Definitely, a waterlogged one may have water among its layers, which leads to the difference in vibrations and thus creates different sounds.
Particularly, the sound that you can hear when hitting a new ball is clear and somehow crisp. Meanwhile, a waterlogged golf ball with water layers would create little or no audible pang.
If you still hear the audible pang, but it’s faded and not as clear as before, your golf ball seems to be affected but hasn’t totally got waterlogged. In that case, the ball’s performance may slightly be impacted, so it is only suitable for practice, not competition.
3. Floating Ability
Golf balls may sink in freshwater, but they should float in saltwater. Therefore, you can put your golf balls into seawater or a cup of saltwater and leave it there for minutes.
If the golf ball sinks gradually or you see bubbles coming up, it means your golf ball has some microfracture on its cover, and may have got waterlogged.
A very basic way to test is using distance. As you know, a waterlogged golf ball would not fly as far as it used to. Therefore, hit it as you used to and see if the result comes up as expected.
If you don’t remember how well the golf ball performed before getting underwater, you can hit it once, remember the force and swing you use, then apply exactly to a new ball and see the difference.
If the distance between two trials is noticeable, it means your old golf ball has been waterlogged.
Golf Balls in Water Environmental Impact
When you accidentally hit a golf ball into lakes or ponds, should you fish it out? My answer is yes, regardless of whether it’s being waterlogged or not afterward, because the golf ball may harm the water environment if you leave it there.
So, how can a golf ball harm the water environment? The answer lies in its materials. Most golf balls are made of thermoplastic, resin, and rubber. These materials take about a century to a millennium to decompose.
Therefore, it would become trash and pollute the underwater environment. Moreover, as the golf ball gradually decomposes, it harms the ecosystems.
Particularly, the degradation of golf balls may create intact objects and microplastics. These particles can harm the underwater creatures that accidentally eat them. Meanwhile, the intact objects could float to the surface and get eaten by birds or other animals.
If you still have some unclear points, check out these FAQs to see if your wonder is here!
Do Waterlogged Golf Balls Weigh More?
Probably yes. When a golf ball gets waterlogged, it means the water has penetrated into the ball. As a result, the total mass of the ball should include the amount of water that comes into it, thus adding a little more weight.
You can find the standard weight of a golf ball here.
How Long Does It Take for a Golf Ball to Get Waterlogged?
According to HJGT, the answer is about 12 hours,. Although golf balls can totally be waterlogged, the process happens quite slowly. To explain, golf ball materials may not be totally waterproof, but its water-resistant coat is protective enough for hours.
However, 12 hours is not the fixed number for all the cases. Instead, golf balls can get waterlogged within less or more time depending on their conditions.
Particularly, a golf ball with severe damage can get waterlogged just in a few hours. The more damage the golf ball has, the less time it takes for water to enter.
Meanwhile, a new ball or premium balls with greater protective coating can withstand longer. For example, premium products from reputable brands like Srixon or Taylormade may help slow down the waterlogging process if they are in the original condition.
Is Hitting Golf Balls Into a Lake Illegal?
Yes, it is. First, it can be considered a littering action, which is illegal in some regions. Second, it can accidentally cause accidents for fishermen, boaters, or other people working or playing in the lakes or ponds.
Therefore, it’s better to golf at a safe distance from the lake or pond to avoid unwanted troubles.
Are Lake Balls Bad?
When golf balls are left under the lake, divers may collect and recycle them. The ball is then cleaned, tested, sorted, and recycled. These lake balls are available from cheap balls to reputable brands like Titleist.
Of course, they are not as well-performed as a new ball, but are totally usable for beginners and casual practice. You can watch the below video for a comparison between lake balls and refurbished balls!
How to Get Golf Balls Out of Lakes?
There are many ways to get the golf ball out. You can try snorkeling if the lake is not very deep. However, the best way to get it out is using a golf ball wrangler tool as in the video below.
You can also use a retriever to get the balls out of water. Check out my reviews on some high-quality golf ball retrievers on the market here.
Do golf balls get waterlogged? How to tell if it is waterlogged? Should you take a golf ball out of the lake? As you’ve read till here, you may have understood several interesting facts about waterlogged golf balls. I hope what I’ve shared is useful for you.
So, it’s your turn to explain that to everyone you know. Don’t hesitate to share the information with your friends, so they know what to do when accidentally hitting the golf balls into lakes.
Thank you for reading, and hope to have your support in the related content!