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How much does cold air actually affect your distance?


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I was playing golf in MA for the last couple of months, especially when the weather was hot. There were some days where it was 85 which I would consider hot.

I'm back in Ireland now and the average temperature since I've been home has been about 48.

How much does the cold air effect the distance?

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I wouldnt say it dictates it.. i.e "the ball is travelling 15 yards less than over in the states so we'll make it shorter".

That being said, there is a European Tour event that is so high above sea level the ball can travel anywhere to 20-40 yards further in benign conditions.

Driving par 4's and flicking wedges into par 5's.

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+1 mith Mr3Wiggle.  I experience this quite often where it will be 45 degrees on #1 tee box and by the time I finish up it is 75 or 80 degrees.  Every vlub is considerably longer at the end of the day than it was on the first few holes.  I am located in NE Nevada where there seems to be a 30-40 degree swing from the low to the high.

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Originally Posted by Dialit

Thanks.

Is this taken into account when deciding tee box positions and hole lengths on the European tour?

Don't think so.

St. Andrews plays 7300 yards in the Open.  Most of the courses they play over there seem to be well over 7000 yards.

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Its about 2.5 yards per 10 degrees of temperature change. So really its not that much, if your nomral distances are based on 70 degrees, then at 40 your looking at 7.5 yards, which is just over half a club length more..

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Its about 2.5 yards per 10 degrees of temperature change. So really its not that much, if your nomral distances are based on 70 degrees, then at 40 your looking at 7.5 yards, which is just over half a club length more..

Add the heavier clothing you would likely wear in colder weather and you get a club less and even less distance off the tee.  I would imagine results could vary depending on how good someone's swing is.  Not sure which way it would affect it, but I would imagine a player that heavily compresses the ball at impact would see different changes than someone that hits the ball with less forward shaft lean.

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I think you also need to consider the difference in flexibility and muscle performance between, say, 50 degree weather and 80 degree weather....for me (not being 21 anymore), this is as big (or bigger) factor than the actual impact of the weather on the physics of the ball flight.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Its about 2.5 yards per 10 degrees of temperature change. So really its not that much, if your nomral distances are based on 70 degrees, then at 40 your looking at 7.5 yards, which is just over half a club length more..

Where did you get this information?

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Cold weather helps and hurts my distance at my course.

In cold weather the course plays hard and fast. So I bomb drives in the winter. In warm weather the kikuya fairways become thick and lush. I've seen driver ball marks about a foot from my ball.

In cold weather I'm bundled up in layers. I try and make them as light and free-moving as possible, but sometimes I do feel restricted. I can't help to think that cuts some distance.

And as also mentioned, cold air is more dense then warm. wikipedia told me so . So with the dense cold air, my ball will lose distance. We range from 50* days to 110*days. From experience, I say I lose 1/4 club playing in cold. Nothing very significant

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I've noticed that in the summer I hit the ball further... The fairways get pretty baked out and roll really well and the air is a little less dense.  (Note: summer day where I am averages 105)

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There's this cool excel spreadsheet that calculates carry distance for the driver, you can plug in temperature. So i did a few data points, and came up with a decent rule of thumb. I just know that temperature really doesn't bother the golf ball unless you really playing in colder than normal conditions. But i have never noticed that much change when its related to colder temps only..

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I played in golf scramble two saturday's ago here in Ohio and it was about 40 degrees all round. I think I lost about 1 club (10-15 yards) of distance on most shots.  I was hitting the ball very well, it was just not going as far as it usually does.  Made for a lot of short shots into greens.  Very sad.

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  • 2 years later...

Here in CT, when it is 50*, I seem to lose at least 10-15 yards off driver. Maybe more if it is 40 degrees. We also tend to "feel" more wind when the leaves are off the trees than when they are full, which also affects distance....a lot. A15 mph wind in the summer is not as drastic on ball distance as a 15 mph wind in winter when there is less protection from it due to the lack of leaves.

Normally, I hit my 6 iron about 155-165 yards, but yesterday, it was 50 degrees and windy. So after watching my playing partner hit 7 iron and come up woefully short, I used my 6 iron off the tee on a rangefinder-measured 138-yard par 3. I hit it flush, as good as I could and ended up only pin high. Granted the wind was against me and howling, so the distance was more affected by wind than temp. In reality, when wind is not factored in, I would say I notice about one club difference on average when it gets cold vs warm. Driver, about 15-25 yards when it really gets cold...in the 40s.

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I play in northern New England and typically play a much softer and spinnier golf ball in the fall and early winter, I get great results with the Taylormade project A.  years ago i found playing in harsher cold conditions with a lady precept golf ball worked great compared to proV1 etc

cheap too if you lost one under leaves etc.

as far as < 45deg temps I lose a full club + easily. the cold is one part the second part is your body and how much you are wearing. generally I wear high tech fabics with little to no bulk.

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The fact that the ball itself gets cold will greatly cut down on your yardage. During the winter you will see balls cracking and splitting on occasion. Although technically "illegal", you can use hand warmers or other devices to keep a couple of golf balls warm during the round. I remember years ago that the Jon-e hand warmer company offered a care that kept two golf balls warm while you played - you would alternate these as needed. Of course, you can do this today with simple, disposable, air-activated hand warmer pads. Other factors come into play as well - soft ground will limit your roll until the ground hardens up with a few frosty nights - then you'll get plenty of roll to make up for the distance.

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I read some where that you lose 1% in distance for every 3 degrees under 70*F. Humidity, and other factors will have an effect also. I never really gave much thought to exactly how much of a  loss of distance I incur due to lower temperature. I just know it's lower.

If it's really cold, below 40*F, I might use a lower compression ball. Wilson offers up that 50 compression ball. A softer ball feels better coming off my irons. I tend to use more irons than metal woods during colder weather.

What I do know that limits my distance is how much extra clothing I might need to wear to stay warm. The extra clothing limits my swing speed to a noticeable degree. However, the plus is, with the extra clothing, my short game seems to be better.

Even though I live in the desert, I will find myself playing in freezing weather during our shorter winters. I know I will be playing on 40*F days, with a 25 mph north wing blowing. Wind chill can be a bitch.

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Note: This thread is 2267 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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