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I Weighed 100 Golf Balls and Here's What I Found

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I just clicked through, @iacas

Apologies. I didnt scroll out on the chart. Someone needs a better web designer.

I stand by the loss of mass idea though. No way a ball with less mass and less aero goes as far as a new one.

Edited by Bonvivant

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1 hour ago, Asheville said:

Some time ago, PHDs told us that smoking cigarettes was good for us.

🤦‍♂️...smh

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20 minutes ago, dennyjones said:

Well now I went and done it.  I emailed Dr. Thomas Raffel asking about the study.  I linked to this thread.   

 

From what I saw, it was just an advertisement for waterlogged golf balls.  

Harkens back to the days of liquid filled balls 🤣

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20 hours ago, TRUCKER said:

Found another test done on used balls (not water balls) vs. new. Again no difference in distance or performance. 

 

20 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

Tested on a LM? Because that will not account for mass or aerodynamics. 

I was using a launch monitor at Golftec and the trainer told me something interesting.  He said that they have all of the launch monitors set to something like 97%.  Apparently the store that houses this Golftec center insists upon it so that they get fewer angry purchasers of clubs.  That is, they want the clubs to perform at least as well IRL as on the monitors.  I do not know if I entirely believe that, but the guy had no reason to lie to me.

The point is, do these high end launch monitors have a gravity setting or something?  It's kind of upsetting to me that such things exist, but I should not be surprised.

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6 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

The point is, do these high end launch monitors have a gravity setting or something?  It's kind of upsetting to me that such things exist, but I should not be surprised.

Of course. You can set the altitude, landing zone firmness, etc. Some literally have a slider that lets you change the "boost" the ball is given (some stores like the above reduce the distance). It's just a software control. Sometimes simulators use it as a handicapping measure.

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I got a response from Dr Thomas Raffel.   Copied directly from my email.  

Dear Mr. Jones,

 
Yes, a student of mine (Patrick Long, copied) did an experiment last year, testing effects of pond submersion on golf ball performance. It was a fun side project for us. I agreed to the study because it seemed like a good learning opportunity for Patrick.
 
Full disclosure, the owner of Golfballdivers.com (Alex) suggested the study and provided funding to support part of Patrick's summer pay that year. Alex's company also covered costs of sending the golf balls out to a testing facility in California. However, I insisted on a stipulation in the grant contract, giving us permission to publish our results regardless of outcome.
 
Patrick is still planning to submit a manuscript based on his work for publication in a peer-review journal. So, I'm not free to share the full manuscript publicly just yet. However, Patrick agreed to let me share some of the study details with you.
 
The experiment was inspired by an article by Farrickers in Gold Digest (1996) that reported reduced performance in 2-piece and 3-piece golf balls (unspecified brand) following submergence in water. However, the methodological details were vague, the article wasn't peer-reviewed, and there have been changes in golf ball technology since 1996. We predicted that there might be less performance loss in newer golf balls with urethane elastomer covers. We focused on Titleist Pro V1 because of its popularity, and because Alex said they commonly retrieve golf balls of this type from water hazards. 
 
We submerged golf balls in water-hazard ponds on our campus golf course, placing them in mesh cages (modified minnow traps) to make retrieval easier. The total sample size was 144 balls: 96 submerged and 48 control. The submerged balls were distributed among 12 cages, placed at multiple depths in 3 different ponds. We retrieved 24 balls per time point at 1, 3, 5, and 11 months post-submersion. To reproduce the procedure used by golf-ball-diving companies, we cleaned each ball with a mild detergent and microfiber cloth. We compared submerged balls from each time point to a group of 12 unsubmerged "control" balls, which we had saved from the same manufacturing batch. Half of the control balls were washed with the same procedure to control for possible washing effects. We marked each ball with a randomly assigned code number and mixed the Control balls with the Pond balls, to ensure testers would be blind to treatment, and we sent the balls off to a commercial golf-ball-testing facility in California. They tested each ball's performance using a robotic system and sent us the data. 
 
We analyzed the results with general linear regression, focusing on testing for effects of Treatment (Pond vs Control), Time point (i.e., testing batch), and a Treatment*Time interaction. Our primary response variables were Total Distance and Carry Dispersion. Contrary to my personal expectations, we weren't able to detect statistically significant effects on golf ball performance even after a full year of pond submergence. There was a non-significant trend towards Control balls moving farther than Pond balls in the full model, but this effect was small with limited statistical support. We didn't detect treatment effects on carry dispersion or ball mass. 
 
It's possible the results might have differed with a different type of ball, or in a different aquatic environment. For example, there's a published study that documented severe damage to golf balls exposed to fast-flowing stream or ocean environments.
 
I'm sorry I can't share additional details just yet. It sounds like Patrick is eager to get the manuscript submitted for publication in the next month or so, and if it gets accepted somewhere, all the details including the data will become publicly available at that time.
 
On another note, I am not a golfer and I don't plan to do additional work on this subject, so it doesn't matter to me whether the results of Patrick's experiment convince anyone or not. But, I'm happy to defend the rigor of my student's work.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tom Raffel
 
I thanked him for his time and appreciated his quick response.   I'm not judging, just relaying information.  

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

I wonder how long after they retrieved the balls that they were hit.

He did say in his email that they were shipped to a golf ball testing facility in California.    I get the impression that the student's work will be published soon.   

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6 minutes ago, dennyjones said:

He did say in his email that they were shipped to a golf ball testing facility in California.    I get the impression that the student's work will be published soon.   

Right, what I'm saying is did they store them and ship them all at once, or were they shipped and hit immediately after 1 month, 3 months, and 5 months?

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20 minutes ago, iacas said:

Right, what I'm saying is did they store them and ship them all at once, or were they shipped and hit immediately after 1 month, 3 months, and 5 months?

It does make a difference.   It will be interesting to read his manuscript.

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There's no difference. If there was Titleist with all their billions of $$$ would have multiple tests showing what a huge difference a new ball can make in your game.

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This would be a great question for Dean Snell.  Here's his response.   

His comment about watered golf balls start at the 6 minute mark.   I would trust his understanding and knowledge of golf balls over anyone.

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

Oh, for sure.

I have held water logged golf balls in my hand.

Well there’s an image I won’t get out of my head for a while...especially looking at Don Knotts while reading it!  LOL!

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Interesting that Snell said that a golf ball that is too heavy would be illegal. I am not familiar with ball conformity standards, but I wonder if there is a too light. I would think not?

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On 12/6/2019 at 5:10 PM, dennyjones said:

I got a response from Dr Thomas Raffel.   Copied directly from my email.  

Dear Mr. Jones,

 
Yes, a student of mine (Patrick Long, copied) did an experiment last year, testing effects of pond submersion on golf ball performance. It was a fun side project for us. I agreed to the study because it seemed like a good learning opportunity for Patrick.
 
Full disclosure, the owner of Golfballdivers.com (Alex) suggested the study and provided funding to support part of Patrick's summer pay that year. Alex's company also covered costs of sending the golf balls out to a testing facility in California. However, I insisted on a stipulation in the grant contract, giving us permission to publish our results regardless of outcome.
 
Patrick is still planning to submit a manuscript based on his work for publication in a peer-review journal. So, I'm not free to share the full manuscript publicly just yet. However, Patrick agreed to let me share some of the study details with you.
 
The experiment was inspired by an article by Farrickers in Gold Digest (1996) that reported reduced performance in 2-piece and 3-piece golf balls (unspecified brand) following submergence in water. However, the methodological details were vague, the article wasn't peer-reviewed, and there have been changes in golf ball technology since 1996. We predicted that there might be less performance loss in newer golf balls with urethane elastomer covers. We focused on Titleist Pro V1 because of its popularity, and because Alex said they commonly retrieve golf balls of this type from water hazards. 
 
We submerged golf balls in water-hazard ponds on our campus golf course, placing them in mesh cages (modified minnow traps) to make retrieval easier. The total sample size was 144 balls: 96 submerged and 48 control. The submerged balls were distributed among 12 cages, placed at multiple depths in 3 different ponds. We retrieved 24 balls per time point at 1, 3, 5, and 11 months post-submersion. To reproduce the procedure used by golf-ball-diving companies, we cleaned each ball with a mild detergent and microfiber cloth. We compared submerged balls from each time point to a group of 12 unsubmerged "control" balls, which we had saved from the same manufacturing batch. Half of the control balls were washed with the same procedure to control for possible washing effects. We marked each ball with a randomly assigned code number and mixed the Control balls with the Pond balls, to ensure testers would be blind to treatment, and we sent the balls off to a commercial golf-ball-testing facility in California. They tested each ball's performance using a robotic system and sent us the data. 
 
We analyzed the results with general linear regression, focusing on testing for effects of Treatment (Pond vs Control), Time point (i.e., testing batch), and a Treatment*Time interaction. Our primary response variables were Total Distance and Carry Dispersion. Contrary to my personal expectations, we weren't able to detect statistically significant effects on golf ball performance even after a full year of pond submergence. There was a non-significant trend towards Control balls moving farther than Pond balls in the full model, but this effect was small with limited statistical support. We didn't detect treatment effects on carry dispersion or ball mass. 
 
It's possible the results might have differed with a different type of ball, or in a different aquatic environment. For example, there's a published study that documented severe damage to golf balls exposed to fast-flowing stream or ocean environments.
 
I'm sorry I can't share additional details just yet. It sounds like Patrick is eager to get the manuscript submitted for publication in the next month or so, and if it gets accepted somewhere, all the details including the data will become publicly available at that time.
 
On another note, I am not a golfer and I don't plan to do additional work on this subject, so it doesn't matter to me whether the results of Patrick's experiment convince anyone or not. But, I'm happy to defend the rigor of my student's work.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tom Raffel
 
I thanked him for his time and appreciated his quick response.   I'm not judging, just relaying information.  

Thanks for posting. This was a proper Design of Experiments test set up.

On 12/6/2019 at 6:54 PM, iacas said:

I wonder how long after they retrieved the balls that they were hit.

That is the one factor I think they left off. I think they would need to do a drying time variable.

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10 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

Interesting that Snell said that a golf ball that is too heavy would be illegal. I am not familiar with ball conformity standards, but I wonder if there is a too light. I would think not?

No. They have a minimum size and a maximum weight.

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On 12/7/2019 at 2:33 PM, dennyjones said:

This would be a great question for Dean Snell.  Here's his response.   

His comment about watered golf balls start at the 6 minute mark.   I would trust his understanding and knowledge of golf balls over anyone.

 

 

 

So you trust someone who makes NEW balls, and spent all of 15 seconds saying pond balls aren't as good. As opposed to a real test done by an unbiased phd at the university level. Ok...🤦‍♂️ 

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