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Puttsalott

hitting to elevated and de-elevated greens

9 posts in this topic

Is there a general guideline / formula as to how much more club to take hitting uphill (like 1 club per 10ft. elevation) and the same for hitting to a green that is significantly lower than the tee, (1 club less per 40ft?)

thanks in advance!

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The question is all about how fast the ball is dropping. How many feet does it travel forward for every foot that it drops? The ratio continuously changes, but if you find some graphs showing the ideal path of the ball, you can probably get a good idea for it. You're just interested in what the bottom 5 or so yards above the ground of the trajectory is like. Remember that a properly struck iron is going to have climbed in trajectory and finished by dropped much more steeply than it rose. I would guess that a good rule might be to assume that, as the ball drops from a mid-iron shot, is between 2ft down for every 1ft forward (2:1), maybe as low as a 3:2 ratio. So if the green is 10 feet above your starting point and you're approaching with a 7-iron, I can't imagine that you'd lose more than 5 to 8 feet of distance. For more parabolic-type shots, like pitches, you might have a ration closer to 1-to-1 at that point, so if you're 20ft from the pin standing at the base of a green that's 5 feet elevated, you may want to hit a 25-foot pitch shot. Everything works similarly for greens lower than you, but remember that the rate of decent only gets steeper as the ball drops. For a mid-iron, the ratio might be more like 5:2 or 3:1. 10 feet of elevation is probably negligible. And of course, the higher in the trajectory the ball hits the ground, the more it's going to roll out. The more it drops, the less it'll roll out, so roll-out will compensate a little bit for whatever distance you gained or lost in your shot. So, my purely abstract assessment would suggest, as a very general rule, maybe adjust by 1 club for every 15 yards of elevation...?
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In my experience 1 club for 50 feet of elevation loss going down, 1 club for 25 feet going up, the first time around. See what happens, and write it down for the next time.

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Thanks guys, that's kind of what I was thinking but didn't know if there was a concrete formula for it.

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Trackman has a lot of the data from Tour pros, and in the Jan 2010 newsletter they discuss yardages and landing angles, and this can provide a better method determining what club to use through measured data.

The Tour pro data show that landing angle varies from about 39 degrees for a driver to 52 degrees for a PW (Tour averages).     For most short to mid irons the optimum is around 45 degrees.      At a 45 degree descent angle, you gain or lose 1 yard in distance for each yard in height.      So using this data suggests that you can simply take the elevation difference and add or subtract it from the horizontal distance to get the effective yardage and pick your club accordingly.

This data seems to be close to my experiences as well.    A par 3 on my home course plays downhill on a 165 yard shot to a green about 30 feet below means the hole would play effectively 155 yards    (30 feet=10 yards vertical distance, and with a shorter iron landing at about 45 degrees this means 10 yards effectively shorter).       I take an 8 iron instead of the usual 7 and the distance works out nicely.

For those who haven't read them, there is a lot of interesting factual data in the Trackman newsletters - check them out here: http://trackman.dk/Media/Newsletter.aspx As quoted by one of the pros about Trackman "Never guess what you can measure".

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Trackman has a lot of the data from Tour pros, and in the Jan 2010 newsletter they discuss yardages and landing angles, and this can provide a better method determining what club to use through measured data.

The Tour pro data show that landing angle varies from about 39 degrees for a driver to 52 degrees for a PW (Tour averages).     For most short to mid irons the optimum is around 45 degrees.      At a 45 degree descent angle, you gain or lose 1 yard in distance for each yard in height.      So using this data suggests that you can simply take the elevation difference and add or subtract it from the horizontal distance to get the effective yardage and pick your club accordingly.

This data seems to be close to my experiences as well.    A par 3 on my home course plays downhill on a 165 yard shot to a green about 30 feet below means the hole would play effectively 155 yards    (30 feet=10 yards vertical distance, and with a shorter iron landing at about 45 degrees this means 10 yards effectively shorter).       I take an 8 iron instead of the usual 7 and the distance works out nicely.

For those who haven't read them, there is a lot of interesting factual data in the Trackman newsletters - check them out here: http://trackman.dk/Media/Newsletter.aspx As quoted by one of the pros about Trackman "Never guess what you can measure".

Excellent, numbers that I didn't make-up. :-) Substitute trackman numbers into my analysis above. For mental calculation purposes, any decent between about 38 and 52 degrees is practically 1:1 ratio, so if the range truly is 39* to 52*, then you can probably always use a 1:1 ratio. Some basic trig tells us that you won't get a 1:2 (vertical:horizontal) rate of decent until about 26* of decent, which I'm guessing would only happen if you hit the green with a really flat driver. Conversely, basic trig tells us that you won't get a 2:1 rate of decent until you have about 63* of decent, which is apparently well-beyond the average PW. I looked at the trackman data (I didn't even know they tracked angle of decent before now) and it appears that the LPGA averages about 3 to 4* flatter for each club than the PGA does, and I'm guessing that on average we probably hit more like the LPGA than PGA -- at least the >15 handicappers do. (No shame in that, they're some skilled ladies. :-) ) But that doesn't change the ratios much. So if you're using a driver to a PW, you can probably just use about a 1:1 ratio, especially for the mid-irons which are almost right on the 45* mark. Just figure out how many feet above/below you it is. I didn't see trackman data related to GW/SW/LW, though, and I'm guessing that's too shot-specific to be of mush use for tracking. My guess is that they, particularly for flop-style or mid-distance accuracy-oriented pitches, are noticeably steeper in decent, maybe as high as 2:1. So maybe for 40 yards and in you should switch to a 1.5:1 or 2:1 ratio, depending on how high you plan to pitch. Bottom line: Using 1:1 will give you a very good idea of how much extra/less club you should take in your approach. (Using your own height will help you gauge it to within a few yards.) Odds are good that your estimate will be more accurate than you can hit anyway. If a 120 yard shot is actually playing like a 125 yard shot, it probably doesn't make that much of a practical difference for those of a >15 handicap. :-P

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"Hitting to elevated and de-elevated greens"

I play 75% of my golf in Colorado and became very interested in why & how elevation change (of the shot) effects the "Flight path" or carry of the golf ball, over the past year I have come up with some interesting conclusions that might be helpful.

  • Elevation change does not discriminate between a 1 handicap or a 20 handicap.
  • Most golfers neglect to take elevation change into account or they just guess.
  • There are 3 to 6 approach shots typically (per round) that require "distance adjustment" due to elevation change on the majority of courses.
  • Golf course architects use design elements to fool your "eye", making it virtually impossible to determine true elevation change.
  • There are countless methods and formulas available but without knowing the change in elevation - they won't be very helpful.

knowing how many yards to add for an uphill shot or how many to subtract for a downhill shot and play that "adjusted" distance you will take the guess work out of the shot.

"Trackman" and other flight monitors provide very helpful diagrams to understand launch angle, maximum height and landing angles to see what the ball flight looks like.

Bushnell Tour v2 slope    http://www.bushnellgolf.com/laser/tourv2_se.cfm  works great from my own experience, Nikon and leupold also have rangefinders with slope, but they range in price from $350 to $600.  Recently I found a site:   http://www.slope-tec.com   that has a product that calculates the yardage adjustment for uphill and downhill shots for you, and they have an APP that does the same thing. I tried the APP during the last 3 rounds and it does seem to provide pretty accurate adjustment for uphill and downhill shots.

I know these devices are not legal for USGA sanctioned play but, they are a good way to start getting a better understanding of determining yardage adjustment rather than just adding or subtracting a club.

In conclusion: "it's all between your ears" and having an actual yardage to add or subtract has taken a lot of the guess work out for me.

Hope this helps.

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Has this guy posted about anything besides that website he provides links to? I can understand someone liking a product, but this seems slightly fishy to me...

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