Golfers all across the East End have been taking advantage of the mild weather, which has provided numerous opportunities to extend the golf season. Temperatures have been cooperating to keep courses open longer and are currently still reasonable to play. However there are some diehards that will continue to play even when there is snow on the ground. The Bridgehampton Golf Club has a great membership for winter golf. Growing up I never let the weather stop me from playing golf, even with snow on the ground. The local public course where I lived never closed and I went out in the most frigid conditions. The only problem I ran into was I would have problems finding my ball with any snow on the ground. Quickly (and at the time with no college degree) I resorted to playing the course’s range balls so I could see the ball easier. The facility kept yellow range balls so that they could monitor who was stealing range balls and using them on the course since yellow was not a very popular color at the time. Same concept with the red stripe you see at many driving ranges.
Until recently a yellow ball had never been constructed with much precision and playability. Traditionally, the color of choice has always been white for a golf ball. Studies have shown that visually a white ball is easier to see in the grass. While I agree with the studies, my opinion is that a yellow ball is easier to track in the air (not to mention the snow). However many companies have tried to market different colored golf balls with limited success. Nike promoted a black golf ball a few years back to add excitement to the par 3 16th at the Phoenix Open.
However, it lost popularity because it was difficult to see in the rough. Jerry Pate won the Players Championship with an orange ball and would have continued to play one if Titleist offered it. Srixon Golf is currently the most popular producer of a yellow ball. It is used by some well know professionals, garnering 42 international wins in 2010. However, most professional golfers choose to use a white ball because of tradition, optics and the fact that golf ball manufactures do not offer their ball of choice in different colors. Until the Srixon ball, there hadn’t been any performance golf balls made with a color other than white.
If you’re playing golf when there is snow on the ground, a white ball will never be your ball of choice, regardless of how well it is constructed. Unless golf becomes a winter sport, the popularity of a yellow (and any other color) ball will be very limited. If you are a diehard golfer like I was as a kid, playing winter golf with a yellow ball is a must. Do not forget a few other winter essentials such as hand warmers. I like to stick a few in my pockets for my hands and a few in my golf ball pocket. A warmer ball will always fly farther than a cold one—assuming you get the ball airborne.