Does Mud can Really Curve Your Shot?
A common occurrence in playing golf in Branson is that when you drive the ball down the fairway, it can pick up a clump of mud along the way. With the local rule that bars golfer in lifting and cleaning a dirty ball, then you have to play it as it lies and deal with the dirt. When you think that a muddy ball can affect your shot’s trajectory, that might be right.
Traditionally, it is assumed that if the muddy ball flies, the mud creates air resistance or drag – that sends the shot in the direction of the ball’s soiled side. So if there’s a mud on the left quadrant of the ball, it would tug the ball to the left. But there’s no compelling data to confirm or refute this assumption until now. Many assumed that a muddy ball will curve in the opposite direction of the ball’s dirty side. It’s time to rethink the assumptions about mud’s effect on ball flight. Here are some takeaways to keep in mind.
If the clump of mud or dirt is smaller than the width of your thumb, it can make the ball fade when it’s on the left side of the ball and draw when it’s on the right side. If the hunk of mud is wider than your thumb, the volume is likely large enough to curve the shot in the direction of the muddy side of the ball. It has been proven that testers lost an average of 5.3 yards on mud-ball shots.
With a mud on your ball, it can really affect your playing golf in Branson. This gives significant effect on trajectory, distance and in-flight curvature. The trouble with this assumption is no one can really predict what that effect just might be. Some bright minds in the golf ball technology business have been asked about the effect of a muddy ball. The director of golf ball research at Nike, Rock Ishii, has studied the mud ball conundrum for years. Rock has some specific answers, but concedes, “It all depends on how much mud is on the ball,” he says, indicating the distance loss on a 200-yard shot might be as much as eight yards and the presence of mud on top of the ball will tend the ball to spin too much up in the air.
Rock Ishii also believes the ball will curve in the opposite direction of the side of ball with mud on it. He said, "That's the basic tendency, but if there is too much mud, the ball starts going the same direction as the side the mud gets on. We don't have enough knowledge what amount of mud turns it to the opposite."
It is believed that if the mud gathers on only one side of the ball it will slightly change the ball’s center of gravity toward that side, making it off-center compared to a clean ball. That off-center effect means that the ball is going to rotate and curve in the direction of where mud is.