Here’s how a muddy ball affects your ball flight (and what you should do)
Maybe it’s just me, but I get more than my fair share of “mud balls.” So I did some research with the help of PING’s director of innovation Erik Henrikson. Some fast facts: With a “neutral” swing (one not overly left or right of the target line), mud on the left side of the ball almost always causes the ball to move strongly right in the air, and vice versa when mud is on the right side of the ball.
Mud on the top, front or back of the ball will significantly reduce shot distance without much directional change, regardless of the club you’re swinging. As you can see from my clubface (photo, right), much of the mud on the ball detaches at impact; it’s the remaining small particles that eventually alter ballflight. Of course, anything’s possible when it comes to a mud ball, but the bulk of our research points to these absolutes. Plan accordingly —and give that ball a good wipe once it reaches the green.