Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golf Course Elevation

A number of golf courses have variable elevations. Golf course architecture can include holes that have tees someway above the green, from an elevated tee box, or alternatively they can be below the green if the hole has some upward slopes. As stated in a previous blog post overall course altitude will impact distance, but so too can variable elevation on the course itself.

Any ball will travel further on a hole that has elevated positions than one that is entirely flat. For example, let us suppose that a par-3 hole has a tee box 50 feet above the green and hole. If you select the same club that you usually would for the equivalent distance the ball might land 20 yards past the green.

In my KISS golf book it states, "Generally speaking, for every ten to 15 feet of elevation change... you need to change your club selection to the next club up." So, if you were 50 yards above the green then you might have to select a club with a number three bigger, i.e. an 8-iron instead of 5-iron, than what you may select if the hole were flat. This would compensate for the extra distance on a short par-3 hole.

But what if the green is elevated above the tee box?  There are quite a few holes that can have elevated greens, with upward slopes, such as the seventh Pampas hole at Augusta National. On that hole there is an upward approach to the green. If there's an upward elevation of 50 feet, with the green about 50 feet higher than yourself, then that will mean that you'll have to select a longer club to enhance your distance.

Your distance may be enhanced or decreased with holes that have variable elevation. If there's any notable elevation changes on the hole you should select an alternative golf club.

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