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Friday, February 21, 2020

How to Calculate Elevation Changes (Video)

Unlike the pros at Club de Golf Chapultepec who are dealing with altitude, today we're talking about dealing with big slopes at normal altitudes. This GolfersRX video has a couple of simple tips to help you get the ball closer to the hole.

To get your overall yardage, figure one yard less for each yard of drop. In their example they have a 150-yard hole with 10 yards of elevation, so they subtract 10 yards from 150 yards to get a 140-yard shot. It's only a rough estimate but it should get you in the ballpark.

I think it's interesting that they don't come out and say exactly how it affects you going uphill, but it appears they're using the same yardage. So do you take a longer or shorter club to compensate for the elevatio?
  • If you're hitting to a lower elevation, the ball will drop in at a steeper angle and won't roll as far. In this case, you want to take a club that will carry the ball almost pin high.
  • If you're hitting to a higher elevation, the ball will come in at a shallower angle and roll out some. In this case, you choose the club that will put the ball a bit short of pin high to allow for the rollout.
Clearly this approach takes some experience. Relate your club choice to what your normal level-ground choice would be. You'll need a longer-than-normal club when you hit to a higher elevation and a shorter-than-normal club when you hit to a lower elevation. Why?

Because you have to allow for the trajectory of the ball. When you hit the ball to the lower elevation, your normal club would fly too far because it's in the air for a longer time. And when you hit the ball to the higher elevation, it won't fly as far before it starts down.

The tricky part is hitting to the higher elevation. A longer club launches the ball on a lower trajectory. If the rise is too high, the longer club won't be able to hit the ball high enough to get all the way to the top of the rise. And if that's the case, you'll just have to accept that you'll need two shots instead of one to get all the way to the top.

If you don't have a rangefinder that calculates slope, this is probably the best way to guess what club you'll need. This is where a good short game comes in handy!

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