Balls to Fly Record Distances
May 21, 2021
FARMINGTON, NM — The 2021 Carl Spackler Open is set to kickoff in less than 3 weeks in northern New Mexico. The small host city, Farmington, is not located in your average elevation and ensures all balls will fly a record distance for all players.
“The city of Farmington sits 5,400 feet or a mile high,” says Captains Club member Jason Ridgeway. Everyone should add 6 percent to their yardages for all clubs.”
Altitude, or elevation, and wind have the greatest and most apparent effect on golf ball distance. Every 1,000 feet above sea level a golf course sits, a golfer can expect their ball to travel approximately 2 percent farther.
The golf ball flies further in high altitudes mainly due to the change in air density, which decreases as elevation increases. Thinner air exerts less drag force on the ball. The ball moves more easily through the air and doesn't slow down as quickly as it flies, resulting in greater distance.
“You can calculate the distance gain you will experience at Pinon Hills,” said Ridgeway. “Multiply the elevation 5,400 feet by .00116.(5,280 x .00116 = 6.264%)
“The golf ball does not spin any less at high elevation,” added Ridgeway. “However, because the air is less dense and imparts less force on the ball, the lift force is also lower. Guys will see a flatter trajectory on longer shots. They will see more shallow angle of descent and greater roll.”
Eleven year player and 2012 Golden Jacket winner Andy Hanks should expect 308 yards if hitting the 290 yards at sea level.
Third year player Joe Bono, who is super excited to return tournament golf, asked if lack of humidity effects ball flight.
“So how much does heat affect how far the golf ball travels?” asked Bono.
Jason Ridgeway replied, “That’s a good question as we head into a desert. Humidity does have a small effect on golf ball distance, too. The higher the humidity, the longer the ball flies. You can feel humid air more, but water weighs less than the nitrogen and oxygen molecules that make up dry air. So going from basically no humidity to full humidity has the effect of a single yard.”
The 2021 Carl Spackler Open is expecting 70 golfers for its annual event. The vast majority of participants are gaining two hours on Wednesday when they move into Mountain Standard Time. A player meeting is scheduled for 7:00am (feels like 9:00am) at the hotel. Then off to golf course for practice.