Music: Guitars – I’m Really Sorry You Guys – 01 Philip K Dick Was A Prophet
he 19th hole is a playground filled with legends, tall tales and myths about equipment, from the basic (Is the ball I found in the pond still good?) to the prosaic (What happens if I put Vaseline on the face of my driver?). We asked various experts to address some of the most interesting and enduring. Consider your myths busted.
1) HOW LONG WILL A GOLF BALL LAST IF I DON’T LOSE IT?
Most balls don’t stick around long enough for it to matter, but what would happen if you played with the same one for 10 rounds? Would the scuffs and hundreds of whacks make it perform worse? Dean Snell, a former golf-ball designer at Titleist and TaylorMade who now runs Snell Golf, says you’d have to hit a premium ball at least 100 times with a driver—at tour-level swing speeds—to see any cover cracking. Most balls, he says, will survive more than 250 hits before any deterioration. Scuffs aren’t even a big deal if they haven’t chopped up the dimples. Temperature and water are bigger enemies. Below freezing and above 100, the polymers that make up the various layers stiffen or soften, both of which impact ball speed and spin rate. Playing balls you find in the water isn’t a great idea, either: “Water can seep into the core, and that costs you distance and speed,” Snell says. “Velocity slows after 48 hours in the water, but the ball really loses speed after two to three weeks in the water.” The perfect conditions for ball performance? Think San Diego, dry and 70 degrees.
2) HOW DOES THE HEAT/COLD/ALTITUDE AFFECT MY DISTANCE?
If you aren’t playing on a calm, 70-degree day, you’re probably losing or gaining something from your “stock” distances. The folks at TrackMan have used their radar system to measure thousands of shots in various conditions. Temperature plays more tricks on your game than you think. The average 6-iron travels eight more yards in 100-degree weather than it does at 40. As for altitude, players with average swing speeds see about a 6-percent gain at 5,000 feet—a bit less with lower-trajectory clubs like a fairway wood or hybrid. Which means you should pretty much take one less club in Denver.
WATCH NOWHOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS YOUR GOLF GAME
3) DO CLUBS WEAR OUT?
Unless you’re a tour player hitting thousands of balls in the same spot on your iron faces, advances in technology will occur before the average player can beat most clubs into submission. “If you’re playing with stainless-steel cast irons, it’ll take forever to wear those faces out,” says Kirk Oguri of Pete’s Golf Shop in Mineola, N.Y., a Golf Digest 100 Best Clubfitter.
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