Welcome To Our Blog

Elevation blog featured image

How X-Golf’s Indoor Golf Simulator Technology Accounts for Elevation

If you are a golf enthusiast, you probably know the importance of adjusting your yardage to match the altitude. The basic logic behind this practice is to account for air density, gravity, and ball spin—factors that can affect the distance traveled by a golf ball. However, accounting for ball distance by a golfer is easier said than done, and it may take time before you become an expert on this.

One way to understand how elevation affects ball distance is by playing via an indoor golf simulator. Golf simulators are based on high-tech technology that allows golfers to perfect their swing and accuracy within a virtual golf course environment. These computerized setups mimic real golf courses and are ideal tools for improving your weaknesses.

In this guide, we take a look at how X-Golf’s indoor golf simulator technology accounts for elevation. The objective is to help you better understand your carry distances before playing a round outdoors at our Colorado indoor golf simulator.

Colorado Golf Course

How Elevation Level Affects the Flight and Distance of a Golf Ball

Most golfers believe that golf ball distance is affected by two major factors that relate to altitude increase or decrease: gravity and air density. To some extent, gravity and air density play a part in the distance a golf ball travels. However, air density is the most significant factor.

You can measure elevation changes by how much higher or lower a golf course is from the sea level. For example, Colorado Springs is 6,035 ft above sea level, while Las Vegas is approximately 2,030 ft above sea level. A golfer who moves from Las Vegas to Colorado Springs will experience an elevation of 4,005 ft. (6,035 – 2,030). The difference in sea level automatically affects golf ball movement, meaning that the spin and distance traveled might differ.

Although gravity is a determining factor in this regard, its effect is minimal. Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward the center of the earth. The further a golf course is to the earth’s center, the lesser the gravitational pull, which automatically translates to a higher golf ball flight. While this is technically true, changes in gravity are very minimal as one reduces or increases the elevation.

The most significant factor is air density (atmospheric density), which refers to the amount of air (mass) within a unit volume. The higher the elevation, the less dense the air is at that level. Therefore, a golf ball launched in Las Vegas will produce a lesser distance increase compared to the sea level than one launched in Colorado.

Hawaii Golf Course at Sea Level

Note: The overall impact of air density on a golf ball depends on the launch conditions. Examples of these are the initial speed, ball launch angle, and spin rate. The spin rate also depends on the type of golf club used, the ball, and the golfer’s swing.

The following chart shows the changes in distance you can expect at different altitudes compared to the sea level. You can estimate the distance variation percentage by multiplying the altitude by 0.00116. We have incorporated altitudes between 1000 ft and 6000 ft above sea level. Once you have the expected percentage change, you can then multiply it by the number of yards between the teeing area and the hole.

For example, if you expect the ball to travel 200 yards on a golf course that is 4000 ft above sea level, the expected increase in travel distance will be 9.3 yards (200 × 4.64%). Thus, the total distance covered will be 209.3 yards (200 + 9.3).



chart showing how increase in altitude affects distance in golf

Another important point to note is that altitude does not directly affect a golf ball’s spin rate. The golf spin refers to how fast or slow the ball spins immediately after it comes into contact with the clubface. The spin rate gives the golf ball the lifting force.

Hence, the spin trajectory affects the ball movement less due to the reduced air density when you play at a high altitude. Here, the ball tends to travel further, although this makes it harder for it to hold the green.

How X-Golf Colorado Stores Account For Elevation Effect

The state-of-the-art technology at X-Golf Colorado can be customized to mimic the desired altitude. This gives a golfer the ability to practice under different conditions.

At X-Golf Colorado, we can adjust both the ball speed and spin rate to better reflect your chosen altitude. Going for a higher altitude gives you a higher ball speed percentage, while the ball speed percentage is lower when you choose a lower altitude.

Therefore, you can simply communicate your preferred altitude settings, and we will make the necessary ball speed and spin rate adjustments.

The Advantages of Being Able To Adjust Elevation Settings

Changing the altitude settings within an indoor golf simulator has several pros, as discussed below:

  • Before you start your golf trip, the technology allows you to make your preferences known. This gives you the desired consistency when playing at elevation or sea level.
  • Before playing a golf round, you can confirm club “carry distances” at altitude or sea level.
  • You can change the firmness or softness of the green based on the outdoor conditions found at a specific golf course altitude.

Calculating Carry & Total Distance using X-Golf Simulators

Give X-Golf’s Indoor Golf Simulators a Try 

This guide shows how the elevation, or the altitude above sea level, affects the golf ball distance and spin rate. The main determining factors are air density and gravity, although the former is more influential.

The higher the course elevation, the thinner the air becomes, meaning that the golf ball travels faster at high altitudes than at low altitudes. A gravity decrease also has a positive effect on golf ball distance. Nevertheless, the impact is minimal.

Finally, the spin rate depends on the type of golf club used, the ball, and the golfer’s swing.

With X-Golf’s indoor golf simulators, you can have fun golfing at altitude. We have state-of-the-art technology that allows you to adjust the ball speed and spin rate to better reflect your chosen altitude.

Contact X-Golf Colorado Stores today to receive a quote, or call us at (720) 428-2322. You can also book a tee time with us.