Stressed about the high heat and humidity? I teed off at 7:30 this morning and it was already over eighty degrees out. Does that make it a bad day for golf? The ball actually travels farther and faster in high temperatures, so I’d have to say no. It’s actually a very good day for golf, especially if you’re a long ball hitter.
Humidity affects a golf ball also, though not to the extreme you might think. Humid air feels heavier, but water actually weights less than the nitrogen and oxygen mix of dryer air. It’s like driving a ball at a higher altitude. It flies just a little bit further.
In colder temperatures, the energy transfer between the club and the ball is not as efficient as it is in warmer temperatures, so your ball doesn’t fly as far. The velocity is lower and you’ll get less bounce after the shot lands. Feel free to share that tidbit of knowledge with your buddies the next time you play.
How This Will Affect Your Game
If you’re an average golfer like me, everything you just read is merely topic for conversation. For an increase in temperature of ten degrees, you get an extra yard and a half. Full humidity will get you a yard. The only real advantage you gain is on the bounce after the ball lands. Heat adds elasticity to a golf ball, making it bounce higher.
Altitude is a different animal. Every thousand feet you play above sea level will add 2% to your drive. That may not seem like much, but it could be worth an extra twenty yards for higher elevations. Of course, the higher you go, the colder it gets, so some of that extra distance may disappear with lower temperatures.
With social distancing, golf is now the most popular new sport in America. My son and I broke in four newbies in the past few weeks and didn’t discuss temperature and ball distance with any of them. If you’re just learning, focus on hitting the ball straight and learning the rules of the game. Most importantly, have fun.