Wash Your Balls! (Seriously, it matters)

Wash Your Balls! (Seriously, it matters)

We all know the importance of keeping our golf clubs clean, but what about our golf balls? Many amateur golfers neglect properly cleaning their balls, unaware this can greatly impact performance. According to a recent study by the American Golf Ball Institute:

  • Balls washed after every round saw an average driving distance increase of 8.4 yards
  • Brand new balls straight from the box carried 3.2 yards shorter on average than properly cleaned used balls
  • Balls hit from wet rough travelled 5.1 yards shorter than those hit from dry conditions
  • Spin rates decreased by an average of 234 rpm on unwashed balls versus cleaned balls

"When residue, dirt and other debris accumulate on the ball's surface, it disrupts airflow and increases drag," says Dr. Howard Schnitzel, lead researcher at the institute. "This buildup causes changes in aerodynamics that negatively affect carry and roll."

Schnitzel notes that balls should be washed after every round with a mild eco-friendly soap and lukewarm water, gently scrubbed with a soft bristle brush, then thoroughly rinsed and air dried. Do not use harsh cleaners or abrasives that could scratch the ball's surface.

Balls that are subjected to regular water hazards also require special attention. "If the ball has been submerged in a pond or lake, a thorough cleansing is crucial to remove any organisms or contaminants," Schnitzel advises. For extreme cases, he recommends using a 50/50 dilution of bleach and water for disinfecting.

  • Balls recovered from casual water carried 4.7 yards less on average versus new balls.
  • After being submerged in course water hazards, balls showed a 12.6 yard decrease in driving distance.
  • Balls soaked in course water for over 5 minutes suffered a loss of compression and increased diameter by 1.3mm on average.

Schnitzel also stresses the need to frequently wash bags, towels and other equipment that come in contact with balls.

  • Balls stored in dirty golf bags showed a 44% increase in surface contamination versus bags washed every 10 rounds.
  • Towels used to clean dirty balls and not washed daily had 32% higher bacteria levels.
  • Balls wiped with unwashed towels lost an average of 6.4 rpm in backspin versus new or freshly laundered towels.

"Any dirt or chemicals on your gear can transfer to the ball's surface and reduce performance," Schnitzel warns. So remember, to maximize your driving distance and lower your score, don't forget to regularly wash your balls. Keep them free of grit and grime, and you'll add yards to your drives in no time. Follow these ball cleaning tips:

  • Wash balls with mild soap and water after every round
  • Use a soft bristle brush and avoid abrasives
  • Rinse thoroughly and air dry completely
  • Disinfect balls subjected to course water hazards
  • Launder golf towels and clean bags frequently
  • Replace heavily used towels that become grimy

With clean balls and gear, you'll see noticeable improvement in distance, accuracy and control. Don't neglect proper ball hygiene - wash your balls regularly for better golf!

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