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Massive Variances in Driver Distance (Round to Round)


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Recently, I've found that my driver distances swing wildly by round. For instance, on Saturday I hit 7 drives over 300 yards per my Arccos, with some over 320, most of which were incredibly straight. Yesterday, I couldn't hit a drive 275 and many were wild. This was a pretty extreme example, but I have been noticing how day by day I have zero consistency distance-wise with my driver. I'm certain some of it is based on conditions - Saturday was an afternoon round, it was hot and there was some helping wind whereas Sunday was at 5am, much cooler, damp, etc. - but I'm skeptical that's the entire reason. Generally, I view this as a positive as the longer days are becoming more frequent and distance continues to increase on those good days, but I can't help but scratch my head on days where I have no distance. I have a lesson scheduled in July and am going to try and crack the code in the interim. 

 

Now to the question: has any one gone through something similar? Can conditions impact distance this much? Is there a single move (i.e., appropriately pressuring the lead side) that can make such a large difference with a driver and not other clubs? Know people can't point to anything specific without a video, but wondering how people have approached something like this in the past. 

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Don't underestimate how the condition factors can stack up against you. Colder air + heavier clothing + tighter muscles from both the cold and the early morning can EASILY scrub 20y off your drives, e

Temperature alone can't be the culprit. But clothing, flexibility/stiffness, combination certainly could.   There can be a big difference between early morning golf and warm afternoon golf.

Contact quality/location and wind can lead to some huge swings. Slightly low heel into the wind vs slightly high toe down wind will produce vastly different results. Wet vs dry fairways will make the

I'm like you.  I can hit my drives pretty far, but at times my distance and dispersion can get squirrely.  Conditions play into it, but it's mostly mechanical IMO.  I'm also working really hard atm to hit fades on command as the draw is my go to which is probably not helping in terms of distance consistency. 

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I know for me, that I'm stronger and more flexible in the afternoons than I am in the mornings. I hit it further and score better in the afternoons. As a reinforcement to this, I'm also stronger and have more stamina in the gym when doing afternoon/evening workouts vs. morning workouts.

 

I have determined that I am not a "morning person".

 

LOL...

 

ZA

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55 minutes ago, ZA206 said:

I know for me, that I'm stronger and more flexible in the afternoons than I am in the mornings. I hit it further and score better in the afternoons. As a reinforcement to this, I'm also stronger and have more stamina in the gym when doing afternoon/evening workouts vs. morning workouts.

 

I have determined that I am not a "morning person".

 

LOL...

 

ZA

 

This could definitely be a factor. I generally play in the AM with little warm up, but Saturday I played after a solid warm up and was swinging free by the time I reached the tee box. Unfortunately, given local course dynamics (e.g., pace of play), doubt playing in the afternoon will become a regular endeavor. May need to find a way to be more awake / limber when tee'ing off in darkness... 

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Don't underestimate how the condition factors can stack up against you. Colder air + heavier clothing + tighter muscles from both the cold and the early morning can EASILY scrub 20y off your drives, especially when factoring in decreased roll. All it would take on top of that is minor variation in strike to account for all your distance loss, something that is common when you're stiffer in the morning. 

If your strikes are good then I wouldn't be concerned at all. If your distance varied that much in the same conditions then I would look at strike quality and launch conditions, which should be reproducible on a good launch monitor. 

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Combination of conditions and some factors in your swing, and maybe how loose you feel, etc. 

 

This happens with my driver a lot. Some days I’m murdering it and I find parts of the fairway I didn’t know existed. Other days I’m like “why am I so short today?”  And conditions definitely play a majority of the factors, but I’ll admit that my swing is off some days too. 
 

This even happens with my irons sometimes. A week ago I discovered mid-round that I was a full 2 clubs longer than my typical. It was weird. But it was very hot and dry, and for whatever reason I was flushing it. This week?  Back to normal. Cooler by 20 degrees and very humid / wet. Plus I wasn’t quite flushing it. 

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2 hours ago, Valtiel said:

Don't underestimate how the condition factors can stack up against you. Colder air + heavier clothing + tighter muscles from both the cold and the early morning can EASILY scrub 20y off your drives, especially when factoring in decreased roll. All it would take on top of that is minor variation in strike to account for all your distance loss, something that is common when you're stiffer in the morning. 

If your strikes are good then I wouldn't be concerned at all. If your distance varied that much in the same conditions then I would look at strike quality and launch conditions, which should be reproducible on a good launch monitor. 

 

Sounds like I may be underestimating the impact of conditions, warm up, etc. Good to know going forward. 

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Are your approach distances impacted in a related way? In my neck of the woods we can see 40 degree temperature swings during the summer so teeing off at 6:30am at 70 degrees with a freshly watered course vs. 110 in the afternoon where it's been baking all day makes a massive difference. It sounds like your "long" days are fairly consistently long so I'd doubt you lost 40+ yards on strike quality alone, you'd notice it if it was that poor.

 

I hit a random 250 yard 6 iron off the tee on Saturday afternoon on a short par 4, I didn't see the bounce but it was 40 yards too long for a "perfect" strike, also had a 3 wood tee ball roll out over 315, it was 111 degrees, no wind above a stupid hot breeze... On the day I was generally 3-8 yards longer through the bag on total distance, but I'm old enough that the 4 hour sauna probably helped keep me much more flexible than usual.

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48 minutes ago, Long_Left said:

Are your approach distances impacted in a related way? In my neck of the woods we can see 40 degree temperature swings during the summer so teeing off at 6:30am at 70 degrees with a freshly watered course vs. 110 in the afternoon where it's been baking all day makes a massive difference. It sounds like your "long" days are fairly consistently long so I'd doubt you lost 40+ yards on strike quality alone, you'd notice it if it was that poor.

 

I hit a random 250 yard 6 iron off the tee on Saturday afternoon on a short par 4, I didn't see the bounce but it was 40 yards too long for a "perfect" strike, also had a 3 wood tee ball roll out over 315, it was 111 degrees, no wind above a stupid hot breeze... On the day I was generally 3-8 yards longer through the bag on total distance, but I'm old enough that the 4 hour sauna probably helped keep me much more flexible than usual.

 

They're definitely a bit longer on those "long" days, but the difference isn't nearly as pronounced with other clubs. Probably similar as a % of distance when I think about it, but in absolute terms it's not nearly as noticeable. 

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14 hours ago, dvq9654 said:

 

They're definitely a bit longer on those "long" days, but the difference isn't nearly as pronounced with other clubs. Probably similar as a % of distance when I think about it, but in absolute terms it's not nearly as noticeable.

I'd be inclined to say it's a combination of weather, course conditions as a result of that weather and your body reacting to it. As uncomfortable as it is to play in 100+ degrees, I absolutely play my best in the summer afternoons. Combination of the warmth helping to get and stay loose and the natural impact of temperature on ball flight.

 

This is an observation from my experience, I have no facts to back it up... If you play a very high compression golf ball (pro v1x etc) you will likely notice bigger differences as well, I play the Snell MTB-X and am pretty close to positive that it is impacted by temperature slightly more than a softer ball is and remains very fast at very high temps. Could be pure speculation or confirmation bias, I'm sure someone has done a research paper on this at some point...

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22 hours ago, ZA206 said:

I know for me, that I'm stronger and more flexible in the afternoons than I am in the mornings. I hit it further and score better in the afternoons. As a reinforcement to this, I'm also stronger and have more stamina in the gym when doing afternoon/evening workouts vs. morning workouts.

 

I have determined that I am not a "morning person".

 

LOL...

 

ZA

I can agree with that.  I'm a morning person.  I like to get my workouts in at 4 to 5am because that's when I have the most energy.  I find myself less motivated to workout in the afternoon/evenings because it's crowded, gross and waiting on every machine, bench, etc. sucks.  All the eye  candy walking around is also distracting.  There's also the lethargy that sets in after work as well.  Def stronger in the afternoon and evenings but the other factors mentioned are more than enough to keep me away from the gym at those times. 

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On 6/14/2021 at 7:41 AM, dvq9654 said:

Recently, I've found that my driver distances swing wildly by round. For instance, on Saturday I hit 7 drives over 300 yards per my Arccos, with some over 320, most of which were incredibly straight. Yesterday, I couldn't hit a drive 275 and many were wild. This was a pretty extreme example, but I have been noticing how day by day I have zero consistency distance-wise with my driver. I'm certain some of it is based on conditions - Saturday was an afternoon round, it was hot and there was some helping wind whereas Sunday was at 5am, much cooler, damp, etc. - but I'm skeptical that's the entire reason. Generally, I view this as a positive as the longer days are becoming more frequent and distance continues to increase on those good days, but I can't help but scratch my head on days where I have no distance. I have a lesson scheduled in July and am going to try and crack the code in the interim. 

 

Now to the question: has any one gone through something similar? Can conditions impact distance this much? Is there a single move (i.e., appropriately pressuring the lead side) that can make such a large difference with a driver and not other clubs? Know people can't point to anything specific without a video, but wondering how people have approached something like this in the past. 

50 yard variations from early morning to mid afternoon are not unreasonable especially at your driving distances.

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