With the golfing season enduring both cold and humid weather, many golfers wonder if weather conditions can affect the distance of a golf ball.
Yes weather does affect the distance of a golf ball. This is because the temperature of cold air is denser than warm air. When a cold club comes into contact with a cold golf ball, drag will be experienced. The cooler energy affects the distance and speed when a golf ball is hit.
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How Much Does Cold Weather Affect Golf Ball Distance
Although it’s not the easiest thing to measure, colder weather does result in a decrease in golf ball travel distance. When the temperature decreases by 20°F you can expect a 1 – 2 yard decrease in distance for every 100 yards in a shot.
Other factors like wind, rain and snow will affect the distance a golf ball travels more than temperature.
However, advanced players will take into account the amount of humidity in the air, and how cold conditions are. Doing so gives you an advantage over less experienced golfers on the fairway.
Temperature vs Golf Ball DistanceFor a better example take a look at the chart below to better understand how cold weather can reduce distance.
|Temperature °F||Temperature °C||Optimal Distance||Distance Golf Ball Will Travel|
|100 °F||38 °C||100 yards||100 yards|
|90 °F||32 °C||100 yards||99 yards|
|80 °F||26 °C||100 yards||98 yards|
|70 °F||21 °C||100 yards||97 yards|
|60 °F||17 °C||100 yards||96 yards|
|50 °F||10 °C||100 yards||95 yards|
|40 °F||4 °C||100 yards||94 yards|
|30 °F||-1 °C||100 yards||93 yards|
|20 °F||-7 °C||100 yards||92 yards|
|10 °F||-12 °C||100 yards||91 yards|
Does a Golf ball Go Farther in Hot Weather
Yes a golf ball will travel farther in hot and humid weather. You can expect your golf ball to fly through the air an extra 1-2 yards (per 100 yards) in a warmer environment.
Humidity creates an ideal temperature for a golf ball to travel a longer distance. The reason for the extra yards is simply because warm air is lighter than cold air.
Molecules in warm air are further apart, resulting in a less density.
Ever notice when you have a warm shower, that there is steam and water vapor in the air? This is much different when you compare this to a cooler environment of frost and ice. Cold air is heavy, and will slow down your golf ball.
While you shouldn’t get too excited about the extra yards your ball will travel across the fairway, it’s important to keep it in mind.
You’ll certainly want to keep note of the weather conditions if you’re less than 150 yards from the green!
With only 1 shot to reach the green, you can use this knowledge to take a more accurate shot. If it’s really hot, you may want to ease up on your shot. While if it’s cold and windy, add a little power to your shot.
Golf Ball Distance Temperature Chart
You’re going to have to use your own intuition and experience to adjust your shots. This shouldn’t be too difficult, since nobody knows how you play as well as you do.
Does Rain Affect Golf Ball Distance
One of the other weather factors all golfers will have to face at some point is rain. Rain does affect golf ball difference, even more so then cold weather.
Rain drops will decrease the speed of a ball and also change its trajectory. You’ll want to take note of the direction the rain is falling, and adjust your shot. Obviously the rain will be falling in the same direction as the wind, so choose whichever is easier.
Furthermore, rain and dirt will develop in the grooves of your club. Having clean grooves is very important in creating spin on the ball.
When your grooves are filled with water and mud, spin creation is greatly reduced and you’ll find your shots flying sporadically. The lack of spin will decrease how far the ball travels, and makes holding the green extra difficult.
Rain also affects the distance of golf balls due to indirect factors, mainly the formation of mud. In the next section I’ll share with you the best way to adjust to a muddy ball.
How Mud Affects Golf Ball Distance
When it rains think about how mud forms on the ground. Well this mud will get stuck to the ball and even your golf clubs. Mud causes friction and added weight which results in the ball travelling less yards.
Not known by your everyday golfer, mud stuck on golf balls will cause the ball to curve.
A small amount of mud will cause the ball to curve in the opposite direction. Things are different when a ball has a larger piece of mud. In the latter case, the ball will curve in the same direction the mud is placed.
How much travel distance is lost due to the rain? It’s difficult to say exactly the amount rain decreases distance. A safe estimate is a loss of 3 to 8 yards per shot.
However as this is difficult to measure I would instead not think about rain and take of other factors instead.
For example if you see mud on your ball, or water trapped on your club face, adjust your shots. This will no doubt result in a better shot and is far more practical.
How To Hit Golf Balls In The Rain
Hitting golf balls in the rain comes with two schools of thought. As rain does cause shorter shots, some say to hit the ball high and hard.
Others recommend hitting the ball low and hard. This seems to be the preferred option and results in a lower angle shot. A lower angle shot will have a shallower drop, causing less dirt to stick to the ball.
Difference Between Cold and Warm Golf Balls
Varying weather conditions not only affect your club performance and air density on the course, but also your golf balls.
It’s always best to keep your balls at room temperature to ensure optimal shot distance and accuracy.
Both cold and warm golf balls will travel shorter distances than normal. This is because materials in the golf ball change properties. This temperature change results in reduced shot velocity, especially during the initial lift off of a golf shot.
Keep in mind there is a caveat here. Its true warmer air will make a golf ball travel further. However when the actual ball is warm, the distance will be decreased.
Before any game, I recommend you keep your balls stored indoors at room temperature for as long as possible.
If it’s the course temperature is cold, keeping one ball inside your pocket will help increase the ball temperature to a more optimal level. Then you can simply rotate the ball with the one you just used, to keep both balls in peak state.
Best Cold Weather Golf Balls
I always recommend it’s better to face the challenges of cold weather conditions head on. As a golfer you improve by failing and learning from your mistakes. However that does not meant you can’t buy some cold weather golf balls to gain an advantage!
Low compression balls are great to cut through the dense cold air and windy conditions. When hitting these balls you’ll notice your shots spinning less and travelling more “straight”. Some of the best cold weather ball choices I’ve found are:
- Titleist NXT Tour S Yellow
- Bridgestone e6
- Wilson Zip
- TaylorMade Noodle Long & Soft
- Precept Laddie X
One thing you need to take from all of this is weather does affect a golf balls distance, speed and velocity. And while the loss in yards is minimal (1-2 yards per 100 yard shot), it does become important on those do or die shots.
Remember to keep your club face and balls clean from water and mud. Store your balls at room temperature, and remember cold air will result in shorter distances.
Wind speed and direction will always be a much larger influence on a golf balls trajectory. But once you master winds influence in golf, finer details like air and ball temperature are worth learning.
These extra details may seem small, but they will give an edge on your competition!
Read More: My Complete Guide On Golf Club Distances