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How temps impact equipment

How temps impact equipment

How Does Temperature Affect Golf Club and Ball Performance?

In an ideal world, we would love to play every round in calm, pleasant, warm conditions. But the reality is that Mother Nature either isn’t a golfer — or she is just downright mean sometimes.

Many times, we are faced with temperature extremes, as in extremely hot or extremely cold. And if you live in the Northeast like me, you can often have both in the same round. Yup, it’s true.

While we prepare ourselves as best we can with our clothing selections, such as layering, gloves, hand warmers, visors, many feel the real question is the potential effect these conditions have on our golf ball and our equipment.

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Put simply: The temperature of your golf ball and the temperature of the air directly impact how your ball will perform. More loft is created by a warmer ball, which will come off the clubface with greater spin and velocity than a colder ball.

Further, warmer air is less dense allowing the ball to compress off the clubface more and resulting in greater distance. Cooler air is correspondingly more dense and that greater density will cost you distance.

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Ewan Porter, author, two-time winner on the Web.com Tour, winner on the Australasian PGA Tour and three-time major championship participant concurs.

“Colder weather in general will make the ball travel a shorter distance through the air,” Porter said. “Colder weather creates a heavier atmosphere and therefore the course will play longer.”

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But, for the pros, the preparation and adjustments for a particularly cold or hot round take place during the practice rounds rather than during competition, Porter said.

“The things I would do preparing would be to warm up for a few minutes longer to get the body ready and make sure the muscles aren’t stiff,” Porter said. “Generally no modifications are made with equipment. If the weather turns cold out of the blue, then spontaneous adjustments that have to be made will be.”

For Porter, who suffers from Raynaud’s, a condition in which cold temperatures cause blood vessel spasms, the temperature on the course can often play a huge role in his game.

“I personally struggle with the short game in colder weather as my hands are regularly frozen,” he said. “Therefore, my touch around the greens is affected.”

In hotter weather, Porter said the major thing you have to be wary of is your mental energy as it’s easy to lose focus if you become tired or dehydrated.

In general, Porter said, managing your game in varying temperatures is less about the equipment and more about dressing appropriately. If it’s extremely cold, he said, then hand warmers inside mittens are essential, as are the other necessities like jackets and caps. In summer, lighter colored clothing and plenty of sunscreen are important.

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