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The Ball Is Going Nowhere

Happy New Year to one and all. I am sat listening to the rain lashing down and looking through my statistics for the last month and thought this was worth sharing. There is not much I find more frustrating than feeling the perfectly struck iron and looking up to watch it sail to the pin only to see it fall out of the sky 20 yards short. If there is one thing I thought I did well on the golf course it was select the right club. Spending most of the year caddying it should be a given that I can pluck the correct stick from the bag more often than not. My numbers are telling me different.

I am only interested in approach shots as they are the ones I can affect with choice. 40% short! There will be some mis-hits in there but that is still way too high. I know my carry numbers. They are averaged and ego has been kept away so they are realistic. Most will know that the ball does not travel as far in the cold. A cold ball comes off the club face with less speed and less spin which makes it fall out of the air quicker. It also struggles to get through the denser cold air. Many brave souls will have hit the driving range recently and watched with disappointment as the cold muddy ball struggles it’s way past the 100yard marker and thought a hot coffee might be a better option. What else will affect distance? Obviously swing speed. How much quicker will our swing speed be basking in the summer sun compared to wearing half your wardrobe? How quickly will our muscles get warm? Possibly only after an hour in the bar.

So how much should we be taking into account? Scientists would suggest that we lose 2 yards for every 10 degrees. We can suggest around 6 yards for that. That’s the easy bit. Now what about being warmed up? There is a study on dynamic stretching that suggests a 24% increase in swing speed when muscles are fully loose. That might be a stretch to think any of us can get to that state in Jan but if we estimated 10% on an average 75mph 7 iron then that’s about a 9 yard reduction. 15 yards lost so far. Finally the clothing. Todays Golfer did a study on bulky clothing and their result was a 15 yard loss with a driver equal to 4% drop.

Now for for the maths.

Normal conditions 7 iron for me is 160 yards

Less 21 yards for the conditions

This is now a 139 club before any wind adjustment. I am starting to understand why 40% are short and 2% long.

Any other things we can do? Keep your ball in your pocket and don’t use one that has sat in the boot of the car all night getting goosebumps on its dimples. Clean your ball when you can. King Edwards are good for chipping but don’t fly well. Even look at alternative balls that compress a bit easier. Make a point of cleaning the club face especially if you have just filled the grooves with your practice swing. Don’t be afraid of loft both off the tee and elsewhere. We know it’s not staying long in the air so let’s help keep it away from the soft ground as long as possible. Your body also fatigues faster in the cold so keep yourself hydrated and fuelled more than usual. Lastly just be thankful we are still out there, don’t be too hard on ourselves and leave the ego at home when you are clubbing.

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