QA Ball Storage Sticky Problem

By Frank ThomasDecember 12, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from GOLF CHANNEL's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email
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 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. Please be sure to sign up as a Frankly Friend by clicking here so at least you can read about golf every week.
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.
Dont 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 will affect the covers of golf balls which in many cases are made of an ionomer which is a thermoplastic which starts melting and deforming at temperatures above about 170 Degrees F. 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 dont expose your golf balls to high temperatures similar to those in the trunk of a car in Phoenix Ariz., in mid summer (150 degrees F or so) and dont hit a frozen ball.
Storing your equipment at really cold temperatures will not make it very happy and you know what unhappy equipment does.
Hope it warms up soon in Minnesota.
--Frank (Orlando Fla.)
Dear Frank,
I always enjoy your column, but this is the first time I have had occasion to ask a question.If I bend a 54 degree wedge (forged) with 10 degrees of bounce to 55 degrees, or bend a 52 degree wedge with 8 degrees of bounce to 51 degrees, how will it affect the bounce? Is there a rule of thumb? Thanks.

You have asked the question about bounce and the effect that bending the head to increase or decrease the loft will have on this property.The answer is relatively simple to figure out if you understand how bounce angle is measured.
Lets try to explain this as follows:
If the shaft of the club is in the vertical plane (normal address position) but tilted toward the golfer the angle the shaft makes with the ground toward the golfer is the lie angle. This is when the leading edge, and generally the score lines on the face are horizontal.
The angle the face plane makes with the vertical plane when the club is in this position is the loft angle. In your example, this is 54 degrees. In this same position, the angle the sole makes with the ground (horizontal plane) is the bounce angle. In your case, you say this bounce angle is 10 degrees. This means that the back of the sole is lower to the ground than the front at an angle of 10 degrees.
As you can see changing the loft angle will directly affect the bounce angle because it is part of the head design configuration. So if you bend the club head to have more loft by 2 degrees, you will be changing the angle the sole makes with the ground by the same amount, i.e. two degrees more.
A question often asked is, If I want a 55 degree wedge, would I be better off to bend my a 54 degree wedge to 55 or should I bend my 56 to a 55?
As you now know bending the 54 to a 55 will increase the bounce by one degree and a 56 to a 55 would decrease the bounce. One degree change in bounce angle is not significant but 4 or 5 degrees does make a difference to the way the club performs. So now the decision is up to you. Hope this helps.
Last Week's Sticky Problem: Reader Suggestions
Your question last week about removing the price tags from the shaft of new clubs, and my response about using a hairdryer has caused a flurry of e-mails with alternative suggestions. I thought mentioning these may be of some help to our readers with the same problem.
I have NOT tried, nor do I endorse these remedies but I will list only the substance suggested not the precise and sometimes lengthy application methods. If you have the same sticky problem and want to be adventurous, you may want to consider the following:
  • Smear a stout layer of peanut butter on the tag.
  • The heat gun at the pro shop is the best way, but I also use a product called Goo-Gone, which works very well.
  • A paper towel moistened with mineral spirits will take off that sticky stuff.
  • I leave the tag on my putter just to remind the instrument how easy it is to replace it if it fails to perform.
  • Using WD-40 will usually remove the most stubborn of stickers. Doesn't smell great but it works for me.
  • For papery labels a bit of the remover 'Goo-Gone' works well.
  • Use a product like 'Goo-Gone' or 'Disolve-it' and soak the sticker completely.
  • Golfers are an impatient breed. I don't use hair dryers. I use fingernails and....WD-40. Spray a little on a cloth and it will get those pesky tags off.
  • Spray a LITTLE, a VERY little bit of WD-40 on the glue, and wipe with a rough soft rag.
  • Put some grip solvent on a paper towel and rub until the obnoxious substance is removed.
  • Use a little Oil, any type of oil (cooking oil or machine oil). The oil breaks down the glue and then you can just wash it off.
  • I recently played with a guy who said he paid so much for his new driver he wanted everyone to know. Let me tell you, the way he hit that driver he should have kept the money.
    I believe that WD-40 is the winner with Goo-Gone a close second. Not too sure about the peanut butter though!
    Thanks for the suggestions to solve a sticky issue.
    On a more serious note, I will have more reader feedback for you next week on our Two Sets of Rules reader comments. Fifty-one-thousand words of feedback is a lot to get through, and I want to be sure that I do justice to your very considered comments.
    -- Frank
    Hoppy HolidaysFrank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email
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