Help me with my physics homework?

Played yesterday in moderate wind. Had an approach to front pin downwind, clubbed to pin+5y thinking if it goes long I’m fine at the back. Watched the shot apex normally then drop like a brick 20y short, way shorter than a stock, no-wind shot!
I’ve had similar experiences before, but not always. Most of the time I see the +5 to +10y push from the wind but anecdotally (20%? Guessing here but statistically significant) occasionally see these Lead Zeppelins. What the heck?
So, went to TrackmanU and played around with launch conditions, nothing. Ball should carry at least as far as in no-wind conditions.
I reckon it must be spin, or lack thereof. I’m thinking the following air has the effect of reducing the aerodynamic lift since the ball’s velocity relative to the air is lower. My rationale is it would be similar to a ball with no dimples: no dimples no lift; no lift no distance, right? So, I should spin the heck out of downwind shots?
Thought of another possibility while listening to Sweet Spot pod about Ballnamic where the discussion was spin decay: the Fading Hookers & Hooking Faders? That explanation made sense and would seem to explain the “normal”-looking early trajectory followed by the meteoric reentry. Only problem is I can’t figure how spin decay could increase going downwind? Maybe my ball speed isn’t high enough? I don’t see this trajectory in other conditions.

Any of you folks experience anything similar? I’m dying to understand what’s happening and how to fix it. Is more spin downwind the solution?

Thanks in advance!

If your question was based on the result from a launch monitor, lots of things could have had happened and some will have no explanation.
If this happened to you on the golf course, you would have a better chance of understanding what happened there.
Don’t worry about it and as they say, go take an aspirin.

Can’t say I understand it, but if it’s a wedge or short iron show downwind then the spin can be kept down and the ball knocked down. I think I read it was due to the much lower ball speed of a wedge shot vs the shot with a longer club.

I was once told, “when it’s breezy, swing easy” which suggests that you impart less spin on the ball to get a decent result. However, the wind is a fickle “b” and it will do whatever it wants. Play on.

With the CAD dimple pattern, the golf ball may play a minor role for the trajectory in the windy condition.
I use a golf ball with stronger compression and larger dimples on a windy day. We have a local links style golf complex situated in a valley used to be farmlands and wetlands. In a warm afternoon, the breathe will come over the mountain and holler 25-40 miles gusts through the valley. My go to golf balls back then was the ProV1X, swung normal and never had a second thought.

Interesting question. In my humble opinion…Launch monitors are a tool and nothing more. They capture impact (spin, ballspeed, carry–distance, LA etc all the usual) and some direction… Launch monitors DO NOT take into consideration real Mother Nature. For instance, the last few weeks the home course is playing exceptionally hard…meaning the ball is hitting the ground and going unusually far with the bounce and roll out. I was 190 out and hit a Pitching Wedge onto the green and played the shot a full 40 yards short of my distance target with a 10-15mph tailwind. Normally, full-on I could maybe get 115-120. Not while the course is playing this way. My PRGR, said I hit the ball 115 carry and 118 total… According to my yardage app… it went 192 total carry and roll out.

Not so much on irons and wedges which will impart serious spin (that’s the club design) … your metal woods are designed to impart less spin. The golf ball of today is designed to impart less spin than its predecessors from even just 10 years ago. The ball is designed to go straighter, the clubs are designed to help you hit the ball farther and straighter. I learned to play in a different era… I learned to create shots with my weapons. We used to have an event…3 clubs and a putter. So I brought a 5W, 7i, PW and putter. My scoring didn’t change all that much. I digress, the dimples on the ball are there to create less drag keeping the ball straighter and traveling farther. If there is a flaw in your swing and your trajectory is too high you are allowing the outside agency of wind to have a longer effect on your ball. Depending on how much wind or what direction the wind is blowing, the path of your swing and impact position of clubface and even more importantly what kind of lie you are hitting from will all have a direct correlation of spin on the ball and how far your ball will travel and in what direction. Physics aside (Bryson…LOL) if the wind is against you the ball will not go as far, wind behind you the ball will travel farther, Side to side the wind will affect a fade or draw because it will actually move the ball. A slice or a hook…cant help you cause you are off the planet anyhows. My general advice is starting with a 6 or 7 iron…learn to control trajectory and distance and develop shots into your repertoire, I can hit my 7i 70 yards, I can hit it normal, 160-165, I can also shut it down and hit it 180ish…not a problem. I would just keep playing, practicing and working on the game and worry less about the physics…there is always something to learn and develop and your game will take care of itself. Just my take on your question

Exactly why this game is so charming. No one could ever master it.
The elements changes everyday, golfer’s physical well being, golfer’s mental strength, the weather, even the turf condition might change from day to day.
Like changing a different dating partner each time.
This is also why no technology will replace this game forever. Some indoor practice will provide the convenience if one does not have time to even get on the driving range, or during the rainy or snowy days. But no device will replace this great game.

Thanks Kevin, I think you’re on to something there. Low ball speed and low spin. It kinda makes sense, the already low spin decays plus low relative airspeed = loses lift: drops like a rock.
It was a wedge and I often take spin off shots to front pins with false fronts (too many times I’ve carried the stick only to have a 30y pitch back to the green :open_mouth:).
It’s certainly worth trying, think I’ll “think spin” with downwind short irons/wedges from now on and see what happens! Thx again!

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