How does moisture affect golf ball performance? | Fully Equipped

Last week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill saw heavy rain during Saturday’s third round, which only added to the variables players had to account for when hitting approach shots from the rough and fairways.

With that in mind, this week’s episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast decided to go deep on the subject — kicked off by Jonathan Wall posing a question to Golf Laboratories’ Gene Parente. “What does moisture actually do to performance?”

Thanks to robot testing conducted by Golf Laboratories, Gene was able to break down what happens to golf shots hit under various wet conditions including simulated rough.

“Water has a major effect on a golf ball … and what I’ve learned [through the testing process] is that water is a huge X-factor that you simply cannot control,” Gene said. “What is also fascinating is shots from the rough … what we found is that under simulated conditions, and even under lab conditions, you get randomness of how the ball will react up to thousands of RPMs”.

It’s those thousands of RPMs that create shots that either fly much longer or shorter than the intended distance in a random fashion. Random! That’s why it is so important to choose conservative targets when playing in wet conditions or even from a dewing lie — you just don’t know where your ball might end up.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

Ryan Barath Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.