Golf game gone sour? You could try deep freeze

Featured in USA Today

A new one for the frustrated golfer who has tried everything  “deep cryogenic tempering.” For less than $20 each, 300 Below Inc. of Decatur, III., will put your clubs in the deep freeze. Or, for around $30 each, they’ll chill your tennis racket or aluminum baseball bat at minus 300 degrees.

The company was founded to service industrial equipment by applying extreme cold to temper materials to increase their durability and strength. The trick, says founder Pete Paulin, is in carefully raising and lowering the temperature to avoid “thermal shock.”  He admits “the technology has been around 30 years, but it’s been seen as kind of fluky.”

That might be understandable. But the company claims to project about $1 mllion in revenues – with 30% coming from freezing sports gear. It claims to be icing and defrosting 100 tennis rackets and 100 golf club sets each month.

Saying he knows of no sport body having rules againist deep-freezing its gear, Paulin says the company also has treated race-car parts, rifle barrels used in the competitions and even golf balls. While Paulin can offer lengthy technical explanations of a process meant to more evenly space materials’ molecules, he admits he doesn’t know why his customers say it helps golf balls. “But people keep sending them in.”

And while the company plans to expand, Paulin admits there are limits. Unprompted, he deadpans, “We won’t freeze mothers-in-law.”