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Ball flight and humidity


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Just curious how much you all have seen humidity impact ball flight. Went to the range this morning and the ball was going NOWHERE, and it was absolute soup outside. Does it impact things or did I just not eat my wheaties this morning?

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its more density than weight alone, normal air is nitrogen, oxygen ect ect. when it is humid the is more hyrdogen as part of the water. mainly replacing the nirtogen. Nitrogen weighs 14.0067u while hy

Actually just to be a nerd water weighs less than air, at the molecular level, so you're hitting into "thinner" air. Albeit the effects from a nerd science point should only be a yard or two.  

Air density is actually pretty complicated. You need to factor in atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.   Dry air is always less dense than moist air but the effect of temperature

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Just now, dmac4g said:

Having played in super humid locations, my observation has been the soupier it is the higher the ball flies and the shorter it goes.  Especially in the morning in the south!

I mean I stepped on a couple, but it was like 25 yards short of normal off the longer clubs it seemed. I'm sure range balls dont help either. 

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1 minute ago, Warrior42111 said:

Actually just to be a nerd water weighs less than air, at the molecular level, so you're hitting into "thinner" air. Albeit the effects from a nerd science point should only be a yard or two.

 

I would blame the range balls because nothing is my fault in my swing.

Hmm....interesting. It sure as heck doesn't feel "thinner" lol. Is weight what would determine air "thickness?"  

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30 minutes ago, Duffner's Waggle said:

Hmm....interesting. It sure as heck doesn't feel "thinner" lol. Is weight what would determine air "thickness?"  

 

Air density is actually pretty complicated. You need to factor in atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.

 

Dry air is always less dense than moist air but the effect of temperature and humidity can change the air density quite a bit for moist air.

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42 minutes ago, Warrior42111 said:

its more density than weight alone, normal air is nitrogen, oxygen ect ect. when it is humid the is more hyrdogen as part of the water. mainly replacing the nirtogen. Nitrogen weighs 14.0067u while hydrogen is 1.00784 u. Density equaling mass/volume we can see that mass is a factor.

Also @jvincent is correct, that are so many factors like temperature (molecules move faster and are more spread at higher vs colder) if it is hot the air gets thinner as the molecules are moving much faster and have more room.

 

The best example I can think of is here in Florida, if I wake up and it 78* with 80% humidity I will hit the ball shorter than if it was noon and 94* with 80% humidity. Same humidity but the air is "moving" faster and therefore thinner. 

Bryson, is that you? ? 

This is the kind of data I started this thread for! 

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8 minutes ago, Duffner's Waggle said:

Bryson, is that you? ? 

This is the kind of data I started this thread for! 

hahaha my degrees is Aerospace engineering and I am kinda built, but my golf game is not there...by about as long as Bryson can drive it.

 

Back to the topic, a better barometer perhaps is dew point, when the due point is high the water can not evaporate in the air, and that's where it feels really muggy and oppressive.

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The higher the humidity the less dense the air becomes.  As a pilot you learn very early in your training about the triple whammy called "Hot, High and Humid." All three lower the density of the air reducing the amount of lift available from the wings (with some reduced engine performance as well) resulting primarily in increased takeoff distance requirements.  Temperature and altitude have the greater effects with humidity coming in third. There is actually very little effect on ball flight going from 60%-90% humidity - easily outranked by temperature and altitude.

 

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I love this topic.  My uneducated brain had always thought that humid conditions is "thicker/heavier" because it feels "thicker/heavier" and thus provides more resistance and impact to the ball's velocity and overall distance.  But I've read so much that drier, colder air is actually more dense and thus would actually have that impact.

 

Science...

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all I can tell you is that moving from the cold/humid Oregon Coast to hot and dry Arizona, does wonders for your long game. 

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6 hours ago, Duffner's Waggle said:

Just curious how much you all have seen humidity impact ball flight. Went to the range this morning and the ball was going NOWHERE, and it was absolute soup outside. Does it impact things or did I just not eat my wheaties this morning?

I was just about the post the Trackman Univ video.. but I see somebody beat me to it. Watch the vid OP... Humidity shouldn't have had that much of an impact all else equal (skip to ~1minute into the video for the humidity part). Were you hitting range balls? Did it rain recently? Was it really cold compared to usual?

 

Temp and then elevation are going to have big impacts.. humidity... not so much.

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The Trackman video post pretty much explains it.  Although as @smoky25 there has to be a big time change in humidity to have a major effect.  Temperature has a larger impact.  

 

Sometimes the barometric pressure can cause the impact, but not very often.  I have an app that measures the barometric pressure in millibars.  Typically in Florida we are around 1,015 mb in barometric pressure.  It may dip as low as 1,000 mb (which is very rare), but on those days the ball will travel close to about 1-club further.  Conversely I've seen it get to 1,028 mb and the ball doesn't travel nearly as far.  

 

I was in the Western section of Virginia last week and the barometer fell to 975 mb, but that's primarily due to a major change in altitude (going from 30 feet above sea level in Florida to about 1,300 ft above sea level in Virginia).

 

 

 

 

 

RH

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Does mist/fog/rain have any disparate impact from just humidity? I'm not talking about pull-out-your-umbrella levels of precipitation. Just beyond the point where water vapor has turned visible/tangible.

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4 hours ago, DLev45 said:

Does mist/fog/rain have any disparate impact from just humidity? I'm not talking about pull-out-your-umbrella levels of precipitation. Just beyond the point where water vapor has turned visible/tangible.

I've definitely noticed rain taking distance off of ball flight.  When you're out playing and it starts to rain, if the rain is very light, it's hard to notice anything, but then you keep playing and all of a sudden it starts raining hard and you keep playing for a hole or two.  Yes, then I see a big loss in distance.  The ball is physically colliding at high velocity with numerous drops of water.  That is a lot more resistance than air alone, and the reason a ball loses speed in the air is due to air friction. I'm also pretty sure I've never hit a ball long in the fog or light rain unless I had a flier lie, so it has some effect, but not much.

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37 minutes ago, Moonlightgrm said:

When it’s hot and humid in Massachusetts, I usually GAIN a half a club in distance. Warm air is less dense than cool air, so perhaps that’s the primary contributing factor. We rarely get hot, dry days during a Massachusetts summer.

"When it’s hot and humid in Massachusetts"...LOL...anyone who actually plays where it really is hot and humid (Houston, Florida, with overnight lows in the low 80's with high 80's percentage humidity) would be like "what a really pleasant, nice day for golf"...

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18 hours ago, Z1ggy16 said:

I was just about the post the Trackman Univ video.. but I see somebody beat me to it. Watch the vid OP... Humidity shouldn't have had that much of an impact all else equal (skip to ~1minute into the video for the humidity part). Were you hitting range balls? Did it rain recently? Was it really cold compared to usual?

 

Temp and then elevation are going to have big impacts.. humidity... not so much.

 

Yea seems like maybe I was wrong, but yes I was hitting range balls, which seem to be all over the place in terms of spin/distance. Could just be that I guess, but it still seemed like they were flying shorter than normal days with the same balls. 

Bottom line: I should have just eaten my wheaties. 

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I notice more distance in hot humid days. Same when I played baseball, the ball jumps in hot humid weather more than cooler drier air.

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As a pilot, I can tell you that the one number you need to pay attention to is Density Altitude. 

 

Density Altitude factors in your local elevation, temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity to give you your “true” altitude at any given moment. It’s important to pilots, because the higher the density altitude, the less power their normally-aspirated engines will make, the less lift their wings will produce, and the less thrust their propellers will produce. 

 

For example, this morning here in Lakeway, TX, where I live at 763 ft msl, I open my Density Altitude+ app (iOS) and see that my “playing” elevation is 1,874 ft (see screenshot attached).

 

On hot, humid days here, I regularly see it up around 4,000 - high enough to fly greens if I were going by my 763 msl numbers.  It’s easy to check the app before a round and know how my carry distances will change that day. 

 

To get the actual carry % change, the calculation is 0.0012 x elevation change in feet - so going from 763 to 4,000 would be (4,000 - 763) x 0.0012 = almost 4% longer carries. 

63B229B1-103A-4610-BDC4-1901746B8E18.jpeg

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