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Science of Weather: Golf Ball In Flight

When it comes to getting your golf ball out on the green there's a lot more than just swinging a club, it comes down to the minutiae of the atmosphere.

Mike Madson, Senior Director of Golf Ball R&D with Titleist, says the air is the biggest factor in creating golf computer models.

"It's all physics based", he says.
"It's all based on air density and kinematic viscosity so we can predict the rest of it pretty well to kind of know what those trends are".

One of the most important things when you're looking at a golf ball going through the air is the spin. As it spins it acts the same way as you would get with the wing of an airplane as the air flows over the top and underneath, this helps to create that lift, allowing you to drive the ball that much further or like me slice it completely off the course

"Dimples help hold that air to the surface of the golf ball for a little bit longer so it gives you a little bit more lift in that regard" says Mike.

One last bonus is your height above sea level.
Titleist created an equation that estimates the additional distance thinner air in higher altitudes can provide.
For example, if you are 1 mile above sea level you could expect a 6 percent increase in your drive distance, so a 250 yard drive would be closer to 265 yards.

Mike tells us, "It's an accurate estimation of how the actual physics play out in a real-world scenario".

Now you know all the different atmospheric conditions that will help you get the furthest distance on that ball. Just keep an eye on the forecast and we'll do the rest at

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