Are you a stickler for cleanliness? Perhaps you are worried about how a dirty golf ball might affect its flight or accuracy? While some individuals could care less about such small details, the fact of the matter is that a clean golf ball could very well have a very real impact upon your game. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might need to clean these balls, a handful of the associated advantages as well as what steps you can take in order to ensure that any dirt and grime can be removed well before you hit the green.
Table of Contents
What Might You Wish to Clean Golf Balls?
Besides personal preferences, some experts feel that a dirty ball will have a direct impact upon its inherent aerodynamics. This arises from the fact that modern balls have been engineered to the highest of standards. Any type of imbalance or unnatural drag will exert an influence upon the flight, the trajectory, the distance, and the accuracy. So, it only makes sense that a clean ball will help you to improve your game.
We should also take common courtesy into account. Members of a golf club care a great deal about their reputation. Thus, walking in with a bag full of dirty balls is a sure-fire mistake that amateurs will make on occasion. Other players can likewise be judgemental at times. They will appreciate your efforts and as a result, your image amongst others is likely to improve. It could also be somewhat embarrassing to lend a player a ball that appears as if it has been found in a garbage heap.
It is always worthwhile to take a decidedly pragmatic approach. Let’s imagine for a moment that you have neglected to clean your golf balls. What happens if you are playing on a cloudy day or during low-light conditions. An off-white ball will be much harder to find; particularly if it happens to land in the woods, the rough or a sand trap. Why spend a great deal of time looking for a ball that could have been cleaned beforehand? If you do not fancy wading through brush and thickets only to come up empty-handed, it pays to prepare well in advance. Let’s also note that a bright white ball is much easier to follow as it flies through the air. This will enable you to troubleshoot any potential issues with your swing and to make the appropriate adjustments in order to lower your par per hole.
Factoring in Used Golf Balls
Although there is no doubt that a new set of golf balls will be provided in pristine condition, this is not always the case if you happen to purchase a used bundle. Many players opt for used balls due to the simple fact that they are quite cheap. This is often beneficial if you are on a limited budget. Furthermore, those who are new to the game are likely to lose a significant number of balls due to inaccurate drives. Why spend an arm and a leg for new balls when you can simply procure their used counterparts for a fraction of the price? The only issue here is that second-hand golf balls might not always be in the best condition upon arrival.
The good news is that you may very well be able to pick up and keep any balls that you find around the circumference of the course. Be sure to check with management first. Or, you might instead navigate to online retail portals such as eBay and Amazon. These will provide you with a host of different options at highly competitive prices. Assuming that you have just obtained a bundle of used golf balls, how can they be cleaned properly? This brings us to the next main point.
The Top Cleaning Techniques to Keep in Mind
You will be happy to learn that cleaning golf balls does not equate to rocket science. Believe it or not, they can simply be placed within a dishwasher. The fact that they are designed with smooth and non-porous surfaces indicates that the majority of grime should come off easily during a normal wash cycle. However, you might encounter a handful that have become damaged as a result (this will depend upon the brand, the age and the overall condition). This is not necessarily a bad thing, as substandard balls discovered in this manner should be discarded regardless.
There are still some issues with the aforementioned method. Perhaps you do not own a dishwasher. Or, you might find that some stains and discolourations are much harder to remove. This is often the case when referring to materials such as algae or mould. In either of these scenarios, the balls can be soaked in a bucket of warm water containing a small amount of oxalic acid (brand names such as Y10 contain this formulation). The acid will help to slowly loosen and stubborn materials that might have adhered to the golf ball. Once the dirt has been removed, wash the balls with detergent and water. Allow them to air dry for 24 hours before taking them to the course.
The other option is to use a scrubbing pad and a diluted bleach solution. Manually address any areas of the ball that need to be cleaned. However, be sure to wear gloves. Even diluted bleach formulations can irritate the skin. It is also wise to don goggles or even sunglasses to avoid any splashes. Of course, only perform these techniques away from children and pets. Never mix bleach with any other type of cleaning agent, as this can release extremely dangerous fumes.
Proactive Cleaning While on the Course
The best way to avoid a ball caked with dirt is to wipe away any grime after every hole. This will also help to ensure that their accuracy is not sacrificed. Be sure to take a terry cloth or a towel along with you. You can simply place a bit of water on this cloth and clean any dirt as it becomes visible. It is also a good idea to check the heads of each club, as imperfections will obviously affect how the striking head makes contact with the ball.
Another useful tip is to bring along an old toothbrush or even the accessories found within a shoeshine kit (these often contain a number of ergonomically designed brushes which are easy to manipulate). If you happen to notice any dirt or grime on the ball, simply knock it away and give it a quick polish before moving on. This is much easier than dealing with dozens of balls after you arrive home.
What do the Rules Have to Say?
Golf is a game associated with a fair number of regulations, so it should not come as a great surprise that the condition of the ball when playing under certain conditions has been addressed. Let’s therefore take a look at what the Lift Clean and Place Rule 2019 has to say.
This regulation is mainly intended to provide guidance when playing in the rain or similarly adverse weather conditions. It states that golfers can clean off a dirty ball before returning it to the original position (or within the length of one standard score card). This essentially helps to ensure that the condition of the ball will not adversely affect its subsequent mechanics. Let’s also keep in mind that once again, a clean ball is much easier to visually track and find if you happen to be dealing with a significant amount of rain.
Having said this, there is no definitive rule which states that a ball must be properly cleaned before taking a shot. It simply makes a great deal of sense if you hope to maximise your efforts and to avoid any mistakes that could have been easily avoided with a bit of proverbial “elbow grease”.
Putting it All Together: Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Golf is a game of finesse, poise, accuracy, and precision. This is why nothing should be left to chance while out on the green or lining up for an important putt. For example, would you ever want to lose the chances of a win due to the simple fact that your ball was not properly cleaned? Of course not. Although this may appear to be a rather minor issue, coming in under par can sometimes be decided by the smallest of variables. This is why it is always better to take no chances. Cleaning your golf balls is a great practice to embrace, as it will soon evolve into a habit. This is particularly important if you regularly employ used models. Whether you have just become interested in this game or you are a seasoned veteran, there is no doubt that the suggestions mentioned above will come in quite handy. As always, feel free to subscribe to our blog for even more golf-friendly advice.