is a lore among golfers that warm golf balls go further with the
same hit than those that are colder. As a result, on cold days a
golfer will often keep his/her ball in a pocket until just before
teeing off. This led to the following investigation, one that can
be done with relatively little equipment, and leads to further
The first question:
How fast does a warm golf ball
cool off when placed on a tee on a cold day? (How much time do
you have to strike the ball before it cools off?)
Other questions to consider:
1. How fast does the outside of
the golf ball cool off compared to the center of the ball?
2. Does it matter if the ball is composed of a single piece, two
3. Does the rate of cooling depend in any way on wind?
4. Does a warm golf ball really go further than a cold golf ball
with the same hit?
* Golf ball(s)
* Data Collection device
* Surface Temperature Probe
* Motion Detector or Video Camera
1. Drill small hole (5/64”) in
ball to insert Surface Temperature Probe. Depth can vary for
2. If it’s too warm outside, consider running the experiment in
a refrigerator or freezer.
3. One thing possibly affected by temperature would be the
coefficient of restitution. One way to investigate this is to
drop objects from a standard height onto an anvil and observe
the height of the bounce.
4. Report your results to your favorite golfer, especially if
they are going to play during cold conditions, in a form they
can understand and apply them to their game.