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  • Feature Story

Golf Products: Standing up to the Elements

July 28, 2015

Every few years, new materials are introduced into golf equipment to give players an edge in their game.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, golf equipment manufacturers shifted from hickory to steel shafts on clubs, improving strength and consistency in production and play. In more recent decades, new graphite shafts lightened the clubs and improved flexibility.

While new materials may help lower a golfer’s handicap, what is less well known is how they will stand up to normal degradation.

Relying upon decades of scientific research and knowledge of materials testing, UL conducted a series of “wear and tear” tests on golf equipment (for entertainment purposes only). One factor that significantly affects the game of golf—and the materials that make up the equipment—is the weather. UL evaluated the effects of weather on these materials by simulating a wide range of environmental stresses, such as changes in temperature, ultraviolet light and humidity.

UL also conducted UV testing, looking at factors such as color fading, the integrity of materials and legibility of labels, to determine how susceptible golf jackets and gloves are to sun exposure.

As golf is a worldwide game played in many different environments, such as coastlines, UL placed gloves and clubs in a salt spray environmental chamber for 18 days to simulate coastline conditions and exposure to ocean elements.

UL’s testing and science demonstrated, many — but not all -- of the latest golf equipment materials and how they stand up to the elements. For example, UV testing faded a golf jacket and golf glove while the salt spray chamber corroded a golf club.

Applying similar approaches to testing the wide range of materials found in everyday products, UL gives manufacturers confidence that their products will perform under both normal and extreme circumstances.