Have you ever wondered why golf balls, after spending some time in water, seem to lose their bounce and sink? If so, you’re not alone. This is something we’ve also pondered and even discovered that a golf ball can indeed become waterlogged over time! In this informative article, we aim to shed light on how golf balls get waterlogged and the buoyancy effects of such a state.

Ready to improve your understanding of golf physics? Let’s dive in Can Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?

Can Golf Balls Get Waterlogged?

Golf balls can indeed get waterlogged, which means they absorb water and become saturated.

How golf balls become waterlogged

In the game of golf, the prospect of a ball becoming waterlogged is quite real. This typically occurs when a ball is submerged in water for an extended period. The outer covering of most golf balls consists of durable materials like urethane or Surlyn, designed to resist normal wear and tear on the course.

However, prolonged exposure to water can result in microdamage to this protective shell due to temperature fluctuations or simple mechanical pressure. Water then permeates through these tiny cracks into the core over time, causing it to become saturated with water – hence ‘waterlogged’.

Despite seeming watertight initially, no golf ball is completely impervious! It’s astonishing that it takes just about 12 hours for this slow infiltration process to start once a golf ball finds its way into a pond or lake.

Signs of waterlogging in golf balls

Waterlogging in golf balls can have several noticeable signs. One of the most obvious signs is when a golf ball feels heavier than usual. This weight increase is due to the absorption of water into the core and layers of the ball.

Another sign is a change in the sound produced upon impact with the clubface. Waterlogged golf balls do not produce as pure a sound and may have a faded ping sound instead. Additionally, visual cues such as discoloration or water stains on the outer surface of the ball can indicate waterlogging.

It’s important to be aware of these signs so that you can replace any waterlogged golf balls for optimal performance on the course.

Impact on golf ball performance

When golf balls become waterlogged, it can have a noticeable impact on their performance. The water absorbs into the outer layer of the ball, causing it to become heavier and affect its balance.

This can result in reduced distance and accuracy when hitting shots. Additionally, waterlogging can cause microdamage to the ball’s structure, which further compromises its performance.

When a golf ball is waterlogged, it may not fly as far or consistent as a dry ball would, leading to frustration for players trying to achieve optimal results. It is important to keep your golf balls dry and avoid playing with waterlogged ones if you want to maintain good gameplay.

How Long Can Golf Balls Be in Water?

Factors such as the type of golf ball, its construction, and the conditions in which it is submerged can affect how quickly a golf ball becomes waterlogged.

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How Long Can Golf Balls Be in Water?

Factors affecting water absorption

Several factors can affect the rate and extent to which golf balls absorb water. The main factor is the type of cover material used in the manufacturing process. Some golf balls have covers that are more porous and prone to water absorption, while others have covers that repel water more effectively.

Additionally, the condition of the golf ball can also play a role – older or damaged balls may be more susceptible to waterlogging. Finally, environmental conditions such as rain or wet course conditions can accelerate the process.

It’s important to note that not all golf balls will absorb water at the same rate, so it’s crucial to consider these factors when determining how long a ball can safely be in contact with water before becoming too waterlogged.

Recommended time limits

To avoid waterlogging your golf balls, it is important to limit their exposure to water. While it may take about 12 hours for a golf ball to become fully waterlogged, it is recommended to retrieve your ball from wet conditions as soon as possible.

Leaving a golf ball submerged in water for an extended period of time can lead to microdamage and a decline in performance. Research shows that after 5 months underwater, a golf ball will not perform any differently from a brand new one.

So remember, the sooner you rescue your golf balls from wet conditions, the better they will maintain their durability and performance on the course.

Effects on golf ball durability

Waterlogging can have a significant impact on the durability of golf balls. When a golf ball becomes waterlogged, it absorbs moisture, which can lead to microdamage over time. This damage can weaken the structure of the ball and ultimately affect its performance on the course.

Additionally, waterlogged golf balls are more susceptible to deterioration with age, as moisture can expedite the breakdown of materials used in manufacturing. Therefore, it is important to take proper care and storage measures for your golf balls to avoid waterlogging and preserve their durability for longer-lasting gameplay.

Can Waterlogged Golf Balls Sink?

Waterlogged golf balls can sink under certain conditions, such as when they become excessively saturated with water and lose their buoyancy. This can have an impact on gameplay and requires proper care to prevent damage.

But how exactly does this happen? Read on to find out more about the potential sinking of waterlogged golf balls.

Can Waterlogged Golf Balls Sink?

Buoyancy of waterlogged golf balls

Waterlogged golf balls have a lower buoyancy compared to dry ones. When a golf ball absorbs water, it becomes heavier, causing its density ratio to increase and making it more likely to sink in water.

This can be especially problematic if you’re playing on a course with water hazards or if you accidentally hit your ball into a lake or pond. The increased weight of the waterlogged golf ball affects its performance, making it harder to achieve optimal distance and control with your shots.

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To avoid this issue, it’s important to take precautions and ensure that your golf balls stay dry during gameplay.

Conditions under which golf balls may sink

Golf balls may sink under certain conditions due to their waterlogged state. When a golf ball is immersed in water for an extended period of time, it absorbs the water and becomes heavier.

The density ratio of the waterlogged golf ball can be higher than that of the surrounding water, causing it to sink.

The sinking of a golf ball can occur in wet conditions such as heavy rain or when it goes into a pond or lake on a golf course. Once submerged, the process of becoming fully waterlogged happens relatively quickly, sometimes within just a few hours.

It’s important to note that not all waterlogged golf balls will sink. Factors such as buoyancy and hydrodynamics play a role in determining whether a specific golf ball will float or sink when saturated with water.

Impact on gameplay

Waterlogged golf balls can have a significant impact on gameplay. When a golf ball becomes waterlogged, it not only affects the sound it makes when struck but also its performance.

The water inside the ball adds weight and changes its balance, resulting in reduced distance and accuracy. Waterlogged golf balls may feel heavier when swung and tend to fly lower than normal.

This can make it difficult to achieve the desired trajectory and distance on shots. Additionally, the microdamage caused by prolonged exposure to water can affect how the ball spins and grips onto clubfaces.


In conclusion, golf balls can indeed become waterlogged and sink. This happens when the outer cover of the ball absorbs water over time, resulting in a decrease in performance. While it may take several hours for a golf ball to become fully waterlogged, it is important to retrieve submerged balls quickly to prevent damage.

Proper care and storage of golf balls can help prolong their lifespan and maintain optimal performance on the course.


1. Can golf balls become waterlogged and sink?

Yes, golf balls can become waterlogged and sink if they are submerged in water for an extended period of time.

2. How does a golf ball become waterlogged?

When a golf ball repeatedly comes into contact with water, the outer layer can absorb moisture over time, causing it to become heavier and less buoyant.

3. Are all golf balls susceptible to becoming waterlogged?

Most modern-day golf balls are designed to resist absorbing large amounts of water, but prolonged exposure or damage to the ball’s outer cover can still lead to waterlogging.

4. Can a waterlogged golf ball still be used for play?

A heavily waterlogged golf ball may not perform as intended due to changes in weight and balance. It is generally recommended to replace a waterlogged ball with a dry one for optimal performance during play.

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