The major determinant of a golfer's drive distance is ball speed. Ball speed is highly correlated with club speed. So, if you swing faster, you'll hit it farther.
Environmental factors can also increase the length of the golfer's drive, however. Golfers will hit it farther when the temperature is warmer (both the air, the club and the ball), when the wind is following (tail wind), when the target is downhill and when altitude is high.
GOLF TIP: During cooler weather, keep your golf balls warm. Start with 3 balls that were in your house overnight (even heat them in a heating blanket). Keep 2 in your trouser pockets to keep them warm. Replace the cold ball with a warm one at the end of the hole. Place the cold one in your pocket to get warmed up again. It won't regain it's original temperature but it will stay warmer than the air and ground. You'll gain a few yards of carry by using warm balls. You can even get a golf ball warmer to keep more balls warm!
The total distance of a drive depends on how far the ball carries in the air and then how far it rolls along the ground. The roll distance is highly dependent on the hardness of the ground and on the trajectory angle of the ball at impact. The steeper the trajectory, the less roll distance. The harder the ground, the greater roll distance.
Carry distance = 267 yd --- Roll distance = 32 yd -- Total = 299 yd
The roll distance of the average golfer is 17% of the carry distance while the PGA golfer is only 12% of the carry distance.
The average golfer gains much more distance in the summer when the fairways are firm. During the wet season, there isn't much roll.
GOLF TIP: During the cooler wet season, play the forward tees to shorten the course. This way, you'll be the same distance from the green as in the summer when you play longer tees.
A tail wind won't increase the carry distance much but increase the roll distance for an overall gain. The greater the wind speed, the greater the gain. However, the higher the wind speed, the more difficult it is to swing the club.
GOLF TIP: When playing downwind, you might even consider hitting a 3-wood instead of a driver. This will give you a higher launch angle and increase the ball's flight time. The result will be greater carry distance. Plus, the wind is faster at greater heights above the ground.
High altitude will also result in a little more carry distance but a lower trajectory, and thus more roll distance for an overall gain. Golfers that have high flight trajectories will experience a greater gain than those with low trajectories. Since long hitters tend to hit it higher than short hitters, long hitters will realize greater gains at higher altitudes. Due to the shorter carry, however, golfers will not realize much of a gain if the fairways are soft (wet). And, at higher altitudes, it's usually cooler which reduces the total distance as well.
So, the optimum length drive of a golfer will be one that is hit downhill on a hot day, with a tail wind, at a high altitude landing onto a firm fairway on a downslope.
The average golfer has a swing speed of about 90 mph, while the average PGA Tour player has an average swing speed of about 110 mph. Assuming a hot day and semi-firm fairways, the carry and total distances for these golfers under different conditions would be approximately:
Level Ground, no wind, sea level
40 yd vertical drop downhill, no wind, sea level
40 yd vertical drop, 45 mph tailwind, sea level
5000 ft elevation, level ground, no wind
5000 ft, 40 yd drop, 45 mph tailwind
Let's apply the above information to playing the longest par 3 in the world.
Extreme Par 3 19th Hole 600 yd
The longest Par 3 Hole in the world is located in South Africa. It's called the Extreme 19th and is part of the experience playing at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort.
As viewed with a zoom lens from the teeing area (photo left), the green is in the shape of Africa and apparently is contoured to replicate the elevation changes of the continent as well.
The owners of the course cite some stats on their website which I would challenge as not being correct. Either they are exaggerating the facts or have made incorrect measurements.
It's very easy to verify distances and elevations using Google Earth.
Here are my measurements of this Extreme 19th Hole:
Vertical Drop from Tee to Green = 350 yd = 320 metres
Horizontal Distance from Tee to Green = 508 yd = 466 m
Distance from Tee to Green = 615 yd = 564 m
So, tee to green it plays about 615 yd yet you can hit the green in one shot, if you're a reasonably long hitter. Numerous professionals have played the hole; a number have birdied the hole. One accesses the tee via helicopter as it's quite a hike!
Below are golf ball trajectories for no wind, tailwind and headwind from a 110 mph driver club head speed (average PGA Tour). The location of the green is indicated by a horizontal, green line about 350 yd below the starting point.
The average PGA Tour player hitting Driver would likely land near the back of the green, if there was no wind (unlikely given the tee is so high from the top of a mountain). With a tailwind, such a player would need to club down a bit. With a headwind, most would likely not be able to reach the green and would land on the fairway.
Learn more about how to play this great game here at Probable Golf.
to read and play
the wind effectively. You can hit the right club
for the shot, like pga golf.
An error in alignment of FIVE degrees results in an error of 17 yards (that's the width of some greens). That's a huge error!! Misalign by 5 degrees on a 20 foot putt creates an error of 21 inches at the hole. If you can't align properly, how can you ever hit your target??
The vast majority of right handed swingers align too far to the right. Likewise the vast majority of left handed swingers align too far to the left.
Every shot starts with alignment!
Do you want to improve yours? Play the video to the left and/or visit this page that describes how to perfect your alignment.
One reason is that most golfers try
to rely too much on technology for improvement. They ignore
the 3 essential basics of the game, which are:
1. physical skill – hitting
the ball long and accurate, having great touch around and on
the greens (what’s required
is hitting lots of balls and playing lots of golf)
2. mental game – managing your emotions, maintaining focus
(easier said than done)
3. reading the elements – being able to select the correct club for the
situation, selecting the best target line, reading the break on the greens
all capable of becoming highly proficient with these)
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My entire golf online site is clearly
focused on the third component. I would argue that it is that
of your game that you have
at improving the most, and thus lowering your score, unless you
have loads of time for physical practice. Learning the basics
of reading the elements can be done anytime, anywhere, without
a club in your hand.
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