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itching4scratch

How much distance is lost in cold weather?

12 posts in this topic

At first I thought something was wrong with my swing, but then a friend mentioned I could be losing distance because it's cold.  The past few times, I've been going when it's about 45* outside.  My approach shots are coming up short.  Usually from 160 I'm hitting a 7, but I've had to hit 6 and sometimes 5 to get it on or near the green.  I'm really getting frustrated thinking it's my swing.

Could I be losing 10 to 20 yard because it's 45 degrees (F) outside?

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Originally Posted by itching4scratch

At first I thought something was wrong with my swing, but then a friend mentioned I could be losing distance because it's cold.  The past few times, I've been going when it's about 45* outside.  My approach shots are coming up short.  Usually from 160 I'm hitting a 7, but I've had to hit 6 and sometimes 5 to get it on or near the green.  I'm really getting frustrated thinking it's my swing.

Could I be losing 10 to 20 yard because it's 45 degrees (F) outside?



Here is the answer straight from my PGA Teaching Manual;

'The temperature of a golf ball affects its ability to rebound from the clubface. The following chart is the approximate influence of temperature on the ball for a shot that would normally carry 220 yards at 75 degree temperature.

Yards --- Temp

226 ------- 105

224 ------- 95

222 ------- 85

220 ------- 75

216 ------- 65

214 ------- 55

205 ------- 45

196 ------- 35

It gives the reasoning of rubber being a poor conductor of heat. So your answer; yes.

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Great question and great answer.  I had been wondering the same thing this year...

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Good answer, but it reads like that is the temperature of the golf ball itself as it talks about "ability to rebound from the clubface" and "influence of temperature on the ball".     Does the manual also address the additional impact of the increase in air density as temperature decreases?

Originally Posted by chrisutpg

Here is the answer straight from my PGA Teach Manual;

'The temperature of a golf ball affects its ability to rebound from the clubface. The following chart is the approximate influence of temperature on the ball for a shot that would normally carry 220 yards at 75 degree temperature.

Yards --- Temp

226 ------- 105

224 ------- 95

222 ------- 85

220 ------- 75

216 ------- 65

214 ------- 55

205 ------- 45

196 ------- 35

It gives the reasoning of rubber being a poor conductor of heat. So your answer; yes.


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What is really odd is that, the distance drops a lot after you go below 65 degrees. However above 75 it does raise that much.

Now, the teaching manual is a bit old. So perhaps the newer balls are better with this. Not positive tho.

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Originally Posted by Clambake

Good answer, but it reads like that is the temperature of the golf ball itself as it talks about "ability to rebound from the clubface" and "influence of temperature on the ball".     Does the manual also address the additional impact of the increase in air density as temperature decreases?



Good point. And no it does not. The way I take it; They measured the temp of the ball. Not the outside temp. However this would most likely mean that, at 45 degrees outside, the ball may be below 40 degrees. The rest goes on to talk about how, keeping the ball in your pocket is not enough to warm it up. It also talks about how using a hand warmer to warm it up would be against the rules. It suggests, you keep 4 or 5 golf balls in your house the night before you play and switch them every few holes.

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Its not as much as you think, there are other factors that contribute more.. I would say its 1 yard for every 4 degrees...

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Originally Posted by Clambake

Good answer, but it reads like that is the temperature of the golf ball itself as it talks about "ability to rebound from the clubface" and "influence of temperature on the ball".     Does the manual also address the additional impact of the increase in air density as temperature decreases?

My guess would be the air density affect from the temperature is almost negligible.  I'd guess altitude would have more an affect on air density than the 60F deg temperature swing from ~100F to ~ 40F.

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Being a snowmobile rider as well as a golfer, I can relate to this topic quite well.

You might ask what snowmobiles have to do with this. Well, the carburetors on them have to be jetted for elevation as well as temperature. I've ridden at elevations ranging from 1,300 ft. to 10,000 ft. elevation and 20 below zero to 40 above zero. You develop a pretty good understanding of relative air density when you ride in those extremes.

To keep it short and sweet, elevation changes will effect air density much more than temperature, so it will have more of an effect on the golf ball. Temperature still makes a noticeable difference though.

From my experience, the yards we perceive as being lost in cold temperatures have more to do with our clothing and our bodies being stiffer in cold weather, more than the actual effects of the temperature on the golf ball.

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For me, here in the northwest its usually 1 club difference, sometimes 2.

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All of these factors are playing a role in your distance, cold weather clothing, cold golf balls, tight muscles, dense air...

Get yourself some techy base layer stuff to wear in the cold, that will help. Also, get yourself some of those hot-hands handwarmers and stuff one in your pocket with a ball or two and rotate in a warm one on every hole. Even then you will still probably be at least a club short in 45 degrees or less... from my experience anyway.

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