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How altitude affects your golf distance

This post is going to start differently and is that the first thing we're going to do is debunk a widespread legend on the golf course:

It is believed that at higher altitudes the distance is 10% higher (as an immutable rule that never changes).

This is not entirely true, there are some exceptions and features that make that 10% can vary.

The percentage at which altitude affects your distance in golf depends on whether the trajectory of the ball is high or low and the club you use among other things.


Differences between high flight paths and low flight paths

Players with low flight paths barely see winnings while playing at higher altitudes, while players with higher flight paths often notice greater variations.


A Trackman University study to measure how altitude affects your golf distance

Trackman University made a comparison between PGA Tour players and amateur players, with the aim of discovering whether altitude affected these two groups of players differently, it is understood that the golfers who participated in the PGA Tour had a greater knowledge of this sport than their amateur companions.

To make this study more accurate, variations were also measured based on the club used by each player. Let's look at the results:

The first step was to measure the distances of an amateur player who played at sea level, i.e. at 0 metres altitude.

The distance in golf of the same player was then measured at 1,500m altitude.


What was the surprise in amateur player measurements?

In none of the measurements did the flight gain reach a meagre 7%, values well below that "legendary" 10% that we all have in mind.

To give more emphasis to the matter, there was also a greater difference with hybrid 5.


And the difference with the professional PGA Tour player?

In this case the difference in distance widens as the golfer rises in altitude. The difference can reach 9%, which is still less than that 10% that we all have in mind.

Which golf clubs provide greater percentage differences to professional golfers?

In this case it was irons 6, 7 and 8 that made the biggest difference, more specifically iron 7 was the most decisive club.


In summary, how does altitude affect your distance in golf?

Altitude in golf can increase your distance in the flight of the ball, but it will hardly do it at levels higher than 9%. As we saw in the record of amateur players, the difference rarely reaches 7%.

In the same way, everything depends on the club you use, with irons 6,7 and 8 being the most recommended. Finally, we must take into account if the trajectory of your ball is high or low, in the first notarial case a much greater difference than if your style of play is low.