Here’s how temperature affects carry distance with your driver

louis oosthuizen swings in the cold during the alfred dunhill links championship

Temperature can have a huge impact on your carry distance.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

As Ned Stark once said, “Winter is coming.” The consequences might not be as severe in the real world as they were in the Game of Thrones universe, but the changing of the seasons will have an effect on your golf game nonetheless.

For those fortunate enough to live in a temperate climate, winter golf isn’t too bad. But for those of us in the north, winter golf can be a challenge. In some places, it’s not even possible. In others, the game plays on — albeit in parkas and winter gloves.

As those who can’t put away the clubs for the winter can attest, playing golf in the winter is much different than in the warmer months. Not only are the courses in rougher shape, but the strategy when playing in the winter is totally different, too.

How temperature affects distance

As it gets colder, the ball doesn’t fly as far (duh). But exactly how much does it affect your carry yardage? Thanks to a study from GOLF Top 100 Teacher Andrew Rice, we now know.

Rice conducted a series of tests on Trackman, and he found that golfers will lose about two yards with each club in their bag for every 10-degree drop in temperature below 75 degrees. On the flip side, golfers will gain two yards with every club 10-degree increase above 75 degrees.

“The primary reason for the differences we see is that temperature can affect the air density, which, in turn, affects the golf ball’s flight,” Rice writes. “As the temperature increases, the air becomes less dense, resulting in a decrease in air resistance. This reduction in air resistance allows the golf ball to travel farther through the air. Conversely, as the temperature decreases, the air becomes denser, increasing the air resistance and reducing the distance that the golf ball will travel.”

Check out the chart below for a look at how temperature affects driver carry distances.

Temperature (F)Driver carry distance (yards)
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