Playing at High Altitude - Any Tips?

5150

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I'll be heading to Colorado next month for a couple rounds at two mountain courses up near Keystone. A few friends have described their rounds at these courses as "beautiful but frustrating" due to the impact that the high altitude had on their distance.

I'm interested to hear from THPers who routinely play at low altitudes (I am in St. Louis for reference) and have played up in the thin air on occasion.

How did you adjust your game? Club selection? Choice of tees (did you move back and play from the tips)? I understand there's less resistance from the thinner air - does that also translate to less spin?

Thanks!
 

kc720

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I'll be heading to Colorado next month for a couple rounds at two mountain courses up near Keystone. A few friends have described their rounds at these courses as "beautiful but frustrating" due to the impact that the high altitude had on their distance.

I'm interested to hear from THPers who routinely play at low altitudes (I am in St. Louis for reference) and have played up in the thin air on occasion.

How did you adjust your game? Club selection? Choice of tees (did you move back and play from the tips)? I understand there's less resistance from the thinner air - does that also translate to less spin?

Thanks!
I live in CO but have traveled a lot to play. The biggest impact will be approach shots. Pay close attention to how fat the scoring clubs are flying. Spin won't be affected from what I can tell. For me it's about 7 yds carry difference from Co to fla in scoring clubs on full swing
 

SkiBumGolfer

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Pretty much what Kang said. I've always heard to add 10% to your usual distance at a mile altitude, and it seemed to work OK for me, but YMMV. I used to live in Salt Lake City (~4500ft), and moved to western Washington afterwards (basically sea level), and the difference was stark. It can be really fun once you get used to it though, your drives will fly further for sure. On dry days, I could sometimes top 300 with roll with driver up there, which I've got virtually no chance of doing closer to sea level.
 

J4U

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Approach shots from around 130 and in is the most difficult I think. Or...wherever you stop using full swings that is. If you have a high flight I would start out expecting half gap distance gain on full shots. If you have a lower flight it could be as much as a full club less or more depending on roll expectations.

Don't worry about it too much, just get to the range early enough to set some way points.

Playing up as high as you will be you will see possibly more than what my guidelines above described. We here in denver even see some differences up there. Have fun and swing hard...haha.
 

tucsondivots

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I recently returned from a golf trip in Colorado with each round on courses at 8800 feet. I would agree with the inputs given on this thread. Maybe 7%-10% increase in distance but not a major factor.
 

EaglevsFalcon

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When I go to low altitudes, ill play one club stronger as a baseline for any further adjustments. For you, start with one club less than you normally would hit and go from there
 

Nate

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I live in CO but have traveled a lot to play. The biggest impact will be approach shots. Pay close attention to how fat the scoring clubs are flying. Spin won't be affected from what I can tell. For me it's about 7 yds carry difference from Co to fla in scoring clubs on full swing
What was it for me? 20 yards? LOL!
 

IceyShanks

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Drink plenty of water, focus on hydration, I always seem to lose sight of that in altitude and can never get caught up!
 

kevin81002

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I go play alot with some friends in the higher elevations of Az. They're at 4500ft elevation and most of the courses I play at home are pretty close to sea level. I used to always struggle going up there with club selection and found myself going long on most approach shots, which on most if the courses they have up there, long is dead. It's a good 1-1 1/2 club difference for me.
 

5150

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I live in CO but have traveled a lot to play. The biggest impact will be approach shots. Pay close attention to how fat the scoring clubs are flying. Spin won't be affected from what I can tell. For me it's about 7 yds carry difference from Co to fla in scoring clubs on full swing
Have you played http://www.ravenatthreepeaks.com/?
 

kc720

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Spivey

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I would play one club shorter than what the yardage states, for starters - at 8800 ft, you may see an additional 1/2 to full club difference in approach shots.
Driver and 3w weren't that much different - maybe 7-10 yds.
 

tomcat

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Drink plenty of water, focus on hydration, I always seem to lose sight of that in altitude and can never get caught up!
Start the hydration a day before you leave for higher elevations, if you're going to be active. Stay away from sodas for the first day, and you'll be good to go.
 

JMN57

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From my perspective, it's just like any other adjustment one would do. If it's windy or up/down hill, you factor in some changes. At altitude, there's an adjustment too. I usually make sure to get some range time in advance to gauge the distances and then good to go.

As a baseline, my "altitude" golf is near Santa Fe when I go there to visit my in-laws. Courses I like to play are around 6000'. The adjustments are less than what I do on a course with lots of wind. For example, yesterday I played at Ferry Point and the wind was going 15 mph or so. Downwind 175 was 8 iron, maybe 9 if one wanted to run a shot. Into the wind, 175 was a 5 hybrid flighted low or a 4H that climbs.
 

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