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How much does the temperature change distance?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Just checking to see if I lost my distance (no lagging perhaps) or if I'm underestimating the temperatures affecting my distance. It's about 35 degrees right now... on a regular day I hit my PW 145. What should that distance look like in the cold?
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
Also, hitting into 15 mph wind
post #3 of 19

Two things effect the ball,

 

1) temperature of the golf ball

2) temperature of the air

 

Golf ball that is colder will be more rigid, meaning it takes more energy to deform the golf ball at impact. So there will be energy loss there.

 

Temperature of the air is a bit more straight forward, Titliest said about 2% difference from 70 degrees to 40 degrees, or about half a percent per 10 degrees. It probably would be more for longer clubs than shorter. But the major aspect is how warm the golf ball is itself. 

 

So i would keep the golf balls inside before a round, and it might be good to place a warm towel to line the compartment in the golf bag you keep the balls in. Or i think handwarmers might work to.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Two things effect the ball,

1) temperature of the golf ball
2) temperature of the air

Golf ball that is colder will be more rigid, meaning it takes more energy to deform the golf ball at impact. So there will be energy loss there.

Temperature of the air is a bit more straight forward, Titliest said about 2% difference from 70 degrees to 40 degrees, or about half a percent per 10 degrees. It probably would be more for longer clubs than shorter. But the major aspect is how warm the golf ball is itself. 

So i would keep the golf balls inside before a round, and it might be good to place a warm towel to line the compartment in the golf bag you keep the balls in. Or i think handwarmers might work to.



Thanks for the input. I know the air has a very small effect on the distance. But I'm a the range so I can t really warm them up. Just curious how far 35 degree balls go compared to 75 degree balls.
post #5 of 19

Its tough to say, i know Phil use to get a lower compression golf ball when he played in colder temps, just because the higher compression golf balls got to hard. 

 

As for distance, rule of thumb is tough. No really exact number. The best thing i can say is maybe take the first two holes and see how far your hitting it. You have a 4 handicap, so you probably make solid contact alot, if your iron comes up half a club length short, you got your adjustment there. 

 

I would say 6-10 yards on irons maybe, it depends. I've had times were it wasn't that big of a deal, sometimes it wasn't. 

post #6 of 19

Here is a question that I have been thinking about/pondering all winter long.  I realized something about this and other parts of my game last Sunday......it was cold when I played Sunday morning, 39 degrees at tee time.  The day before it was in the mid 60's and I played 36 holes at two different courses.  I was not feeling good Sunday morning and was tired/sore from the day before. 

 

So I got to my club Sunday morning with just a short time for a warm up before my tee time.  I had a "breakthough" in that I was swinging easier with a more rounded swing and was amazed at how far the ball went compared to my usual swing.  What I noticed the first few holes that I played though before this all sunk in was that I for once did not give a damn on how much distance I was losing. 

 

I guess I've been stubborn all winter long and did not want to lose distance with my irons (or I wanted to lose as little as possible) because to me it seemed that if I could still hit a 7 iron 150 plus in the cold weather that it would make me feel better and have more confidence as a golfer.  Yes I know that this is really stupid but that was what I was thinking.  So on Sunday I really did not give a damn because I was not feeling good.  Since it was cold and windy and at the time I thought that I was not hitting the ball as far because I was not swinging as hard I just pulled the club based on the situation, not the distance.  Before Sunday I would have first thought of distance and with my ego telling me that I have to swing hard because it would look bad if I clubbed up too much.  Not that my friends would say anything but I subconciously would think that I am not getting better and instead getting worse. 

 

So on the first par 3 I pulled a 6 iron from 139 when I usually hit an 8 iron.  I only pulled the 6 because in my warm up on the range I knew that this is how far the 6 was going at the time.  To make a long story short I ended up going over the green by 30 yards because even though I swung at like 60% of my usual strength my new swing was hammering the ball.  I realized an important lesson though.  I hope to never again let distance and club selection ruin any of my shots. 

 

A lot of people are "brain-washed" into this.  I was one of them.  It's cold and yes the temperature/wind has an affect on how far the ball goes.  Subconciously though I think that many people (not saying that you are like this at all OP, but I know that I was/am and my playing partners are and I can see where many golfers would be as well) want an exact figure or percentage so they can justify why their iron that usually goes x yards in normal weather is only going x yards today. 

 

It undoubtedly has a psychological effect.  When we see commercials with Jason Day bragging about hitting a 7 iron 209 yards it only adds to it.  Don't get me wrong, it's clear that the manufacturers are doing something right because just as sex sells in entertainment, distance sells in golf.  The problem is when that compromises shot selection. 

 

I'm sorry for such a long post but your question tied directly in to something that happened to me over the weekend and something that I realized that has really changed my view on golf.  To answer your question, it depends on many variables.  Unfortunately I do not believe that there is any one magic formula or answer.  There are good rules of thumb as some of the other people have responded with.  I was asking this same question all winter long.  The way that I am going to treat this issue of how much less distance a ball will go in colder temperatures moving forward is to try as hard as I can to not think about what my usual distance is with my irons.  If I think about that at all then it's going to potentially have a negative impact, I believe.  So to figure this out on any given day, my range session before my round will tell me how far the ball is going in that weather. 

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Two things effect the ball,

1) temperature of the golf ball
2) temperature of the air

Golf ball that is colder will be more rigid, meaning it takes more energy to deform the golf ball at impact. So there will be energy loss there.

Temperature of the air is a bit more straight forward, Titliest said about 2% difference from 70 degrees to 40 degrees, or about half a percent per 10 degrees. It probably would be more for longer clubs than shorter. But the major aspect is how warm the golf ball is itself. 

So i would keep the golf balls inside before a round, and it might be good to place a warm towel to line the compartment in the golf bag you keep the balls in. Or i think handwarmers might work to.

Don't forget about the temperature of the club, especially with woods. The CoR will drop in the cold weather.
post #8 of 19

That's true, there is a pride thing with golf. Believe me, my dad suffered a few years when he kept trying to catch my distance. He figured out he could beat me at golf playing his game, and not playing my game. Its something that gets pro's even, on a different level, when they play tiger. They start changing there game because Tiger is leading, so many just fall off the board. 

 

Acceptance is a big key to being successful at golf. If your swing is bad, distance will come later, just focus on what you can do. Cold weather isn't something you can control. well, you can keep your clubs warm as long as possible, and probably find a way to keep the golf balls heated in the bag, but besides that. 

 

Also i found, at least for me, i get to caught up on exact yardages. I am not that good. So i tend to play with the logic of half club lengths, basically i will go, ok 165, thats half a club length above my 9 iron. So i can gauge my swings around that. I can't tell the difference between 164 and 163, heck GPS is off by 2-3 yards anyways. 

post #9 of 19

This winter was pretty chilly, so I played a lot of rounds around 40*F. I noticed a 1 to 1.5 club difference (10 - 15 yds) with the irons, and about 20 yd loss with the driver. Into a strong wind, fugetaboutit - we're talking 60 yd loss off the driver. This winter I crushed many drives that went about 210...

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

 

So i would keep the golf balls inside before a round, and it might be good to place a warm towel to line the compartment in the golf bag you keep the balls in. Or i think handwarmers might work to.

I believe the use of a handwarmer to keep golf balls warm is counter to the Rules of Golf.  Warming the golf balls prior to a round or the use of a towel that has been warmed is within the Rules.

post #11 of 19

Not sure, about the rules of golf. I don't think it is. If you keep hand warmers in your pocket, i don't see a problem. I don't think there's a rule against keeping your hands warm. I know that Furyk got in trouble because his magnetized ball marker got caught on his putter once, and that was a foreign attatchment to the golf club, which is illegal. Since were not technically modifying equipment, if so wouldn't marking your golf ball with a permanent marker be illegal? 

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Not sure, about the rules of golf. I don't think it is. If you keep hand warmers in your pocket, i don't see a problem. I don't think there's a rule against keeping your hands warm.

You are correct that warming one's hands with a hand warmer is allowed.  Warming one's golf ball is a breach of the Rules of Golf.  As the Rule uses the word "purposely", accidentally placing one's ball in the pocket with a hand warmer is okay.  If the intent is to both warm one's hands and warm the golf ball, that would be a breach of the Rules.

 

 

14-3/13

Hand Warmer

Q.A player uses a device to warm his hands during a round. Is the player in breach of Rule 14-3?

A.No. Although a hand warmer is an artificial device, its use to warm the hands is traditionally accepted, and Exception 2 to Rule 14-3 applies.

 

14-3/13.5

Golf Ball Artificially Warmed

Q.Is the use of a golf ball that was purposely warmed during a stipulated round with a golf ball warmer, hand warmer or any such device a breach of Rule 14-3?

A.Yes. Use of a ball that has been purposely warmed during a stipulated round with an artificial device constitutes a breach of Rule 14-3. However, it would not be a breach of Rule 14-3 to use a ball that was artificially warmed prior to the stipulated round.

post #13 of 19

When I play in weather 45-60 I seem to loose a little over a half club distance and a lot off my driver, 15-20 yards.  When its colder, its more of a club length or a little more with irons and 25-35 yards with my driver.

post #14 of 19

interesting thread i have always wondered this myself but thank you all for the information! 

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by onephenom View Post

Just checking to see if I lost my distance (no lagging perhaps) or if I'm underestimating the temperatures affecting my distance. It's about 35 degrees right now... on a regular day I hit my PW 145. What should that distance look like in the cold?


maybe you should try the tour, the average PW on tour is 130 undefined

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by notsohard View Post


maybe you should try the tour, the average PW on tour is 130 undefined

What does hitting a 130 yard PW have with being on tour?  I hit my PW150 before I got my 48* PW weakened so that I now hit it 140 and my gaps are proper. So I guess I have PGA tour distance, which I've always had, but definitely not PGA tour consistency. 

 

To get back on topic when I lived in Kuwait the hottest temps approached 130 degrees, and the lowest were around 50 degrees playing at night in the winter (the course is floodlight for night play), and the difference in distance due to temperature definitely had to be taken into account.  A stock 7 iron for me is 175 under normal temps but at night in winter it was 150 until I started playing those Wilson Zero compression balls in the winter time and then my distances in the cold temps were much closer to normal. 

 

We had to pay very close attention to it because as the sun set and temps quickly begin to fall carry distances would immediately and dramatically change during a round.   

post #17 of 19

god here we go, another battle of why someone can't have that type of distance. I'm done :p 

post #18 of 19

I've played a few rounds this year, all of them starting in the upper 30's. I've found myself hitting at least a club more, sometimes two to play it safe.

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