I have always blamed air density in colder weather for the loss of distance in the Fall and early Spring. As a matter of fact I used the same excuse for loss of distance on very humid days too. I now realize that I was wrong on both counts. The truth hurts.
Dave Dusek, senior writer for Golf Week Magazine asked Titleist if air density has an effect on the distance travelled by golf balls. Titleist confirmed that the air in cold weather is denser. A 20 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature causes a drive to travel only 3 yards shorter. I was expecting to hear that I could expect to lose 20 yards on a drive. Why was I losing a lot more distance than 3 yards on colder days?
After playing 2 hours of tennis I dropped by a driving range as I wanted to prepare for a match the following day. I was amazed to find that my drives were extremely consistent and long. I was surprised as I thought that I would be exhausted or weakened from my tennis. Why were my drives so consistent?
Like all want-to-be golfers I have been puzzled by these two dilemmas. The solution is simple. When your muscles are cold you can’t swing as freely, so you lose distance. Your tight muscle problem gets compounded as you tighten up when you try to swing faster to hit out of the rough or an old divot hole. In both cases, your consistency and distance will go down the drain. You tend to swing with a shorter backswing and try to compensate by swinging harder. Tense muscles will shorten your arms causing you to blade or top the ball.
As a reminder to confirm this theory, a friend of mine told me that he was playing with a bad hip all summer but he had lowered his handicap by 5 strokes. He told me that he was getting less distance with all of his clubs but his consistency for fairways hit and GIR was really improved. Bingo! His pain slowed his swing down and his consistency improved. He couldn’t swing harder so he just accepted his limited distance and improved control. Lesson learned.
To avoid destroying your game on a cold day:
1/ Swing your arms in circles to warm your shoulders up and get your blood circulating,
2/ Hold your club with your hands apart in front of your body and then lift it over your head to stretch out your arms and chest and back. Then slowly rotate left and right. Do this slowly as you work up the mobility in the trunk of your body.
3/ Take hold of your mind as you accept the fact that you will hit shorter distances.
4/ Choose 1 higher lofted club so that you can swing slower and still achieve the distance that you want.
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