I hope you’ve been enjoying the fabulous weather we’ve been having. Whilst it’s great to have constant sunshine, it can be draining playing golf in the sun, so make sure you drink water regularly before you head out and whilst you are on the course, and don’t forget to eat!
The incredibly high temperatures and lack of rain have transformed golf courses across the land and perhaps, like me, you’ve found it difficult to work out which club to use because there’s so much run. The greens are generally faster and that can be disastrous! Standing on the 9th tee on Saturday afternoon we had time to talk, as we watched the visitors in front almost dangle one of their three-ball into the pond in a vain attempt to retrieve a ball, and as we were discussing the difficulties of playing in almost-tropical conditions one of my friends said, “The hot air must allow the ball go further”. That got me thinking. Obviously the firm fairways enable the ball to roll further but this statement wasn’t concerned with rolling – rather it focused on the flight of the ball through the air.
After a little searching I came across this video which discusses the results of an experiment comparing warm golf balls and cold golf balls. I realise that this isn’t exactly what my friend was thinking about, but it’s closely related.
So, warm golf balls travel further than cold ones. You probably knew that, but let’s go back to my friend’s original statement which focused on the hot air. Thinking back to the Physics you learned in junior science, you may recall the kinetic theory of matter (particle theory) which says that all matter consists of many tiny particles which are constantly moving or in a continual state of motion. As the air temperature increases, the particles gain more kinetic energy and so they move faster and will move further apart, thus the air becomes less dense. I reckon that a golf ball should move through this less dense air more easily and therefore further than in cooler air.
Put all of this information together and you’ve got harder fairways and greens, warm balls and warm air. The ball should move through the air more easily and therefore further, and when it hits the ground it will roll further, so you should be recording your longest ever drives over the next day or two… as long as you hit them down the middle of the fairway. Extra length is only an advantage if it’s in the right direction!!!