Published in loving memory of Frank Thomas, a man who loved golf and dedicated his life to helping those who played it.
I appreciate your knowledge and expertise. My question is about storing my golf balls over the winter. I leave my golf clubs and balls in my unheated garage. Since I live in Minnesota and the temperature often falls below zero, I’m wondering if my golf balls will be damaged by the cold. Does long-term exposure to below freezing and below zero temperatures during the winter have a noticeable impact on golf ball performance the next spring or summer?
First let me commiserate with you about the weather conditions, which are only conducive to thinking about, and not really getting out and playing golf. I hope my Q&As help a little while you are reviewing and trying to memorize your swing thoughts in the living room, or reading your copy of The Fundamentals of Putting and practising your putting on the carpet.
It is not a good idea to leave your golf balls or your clubs in sub-zero temperatures if you have an option not to do so. Move them into your basement or the den if your wife will let you.
These very cold conditions should not have a detrimental affect on the long-term performance properties of the balls as long as you bring them back to room temperature slowly.
It is certainly not a good idea to hit a ball when it is at freezing temperatures, because this will not only cause damage to the ball but probably the club as well, never mind the potential damage to your body if you are not warmed up properly.
Don’t try to warm these balls quickly by using any method that exposes the surface of the ball to higher temperatures than you can personally stand. High temperatures may affect the covers of golf balls and if it is an “ionomer” cover the softening of the cover will potentially deform the dimple shape and significantly affect the aerodynamics of a ball.
The dimple shape, size, number, and configuration on the surface of the ball are what make the ball fly as far as it does. Without dimples or badly distorted dimples, the ball will not perform very well at all.A smooth ball will only fly about 130 yards compared to 260 yards for a ball with dimples hit with the same launch conditions. So don’t expose your golf balls to high temperatures similar to those in the trunk of a car in Phoenix AZ in mid summer (150 degrees F or so) and don’t hit a frozen ball.
Storing your equipment at really cold temperatures will not make it very happy and you know what unhappy equipment does.