In Colorado, we know that our high elevation impacts everything. From baking to hiking, weather, and even golf.
Elevation and Golf
The density of air decreases with elevation. When you hear the phrase "the air is thinner up here", it's true! A golf ball travels further in lower density air due to a lower drag force on the ball.
Research from Titleist found that "You can calculate the distance gain you will experience (compared to sea level) by multiplying the elevation (in feet) by .00116."
For example, if your drive is 250 yards in Pebble Beach, CA (elevation 0'), the same drive would travel about 268 yards in Colorado Springs (elevation 6,035'). This effect is most noticeable on long shots and negligible for putting.
Weather Impacts on Golf
Temperature also influences air density. Warm air is less dense than cold air. Following the same logic as elevation, warm air will exert less drag force on a golf ball, allowing it to travel further.
Research from GOLF found that a change of 10 degrees in temperature can change your drive by about 2 yards.
Wind is the weather variable that creates the greatest difference in golf. Wind influences can change a drive's distance by 74 yards!
Because wind increases with height, aim to keep the ball low in a headwind and high in a tailwind.
While dry air is denser than humid air, the difference is low and it generally has a negligible impact on your game, according to Steve Aoyama from Titleist.
Rain and thunderstorms impact golf significantly. Water is heavy and will weigh down your ball, both in the air and when you are hitting the ball off the wet ground. Plus, out of the 10 lightning fatalities in El Paso County since 1980, 3 of them were on a golf course. When thunder roars, go indoors!