Up in the Air – what’s the number?

Club de Golf Chapultepec

Altitude Adjustments Will Play a Key Role at WGC-Mexico Championship

The world’s greatest players are in Mexico City for the WGC-Mexico Championship, and they are contemplating the same question all golfers will ask: 

How much farther will I hit the golf ball at 7800ft above sea level?

As a general rule, the distance gain experienced above sea level can be calculated by multiplying the elevation (in feet) by .00116. While the math may seem complicated, a 250 yard drive at sea level would go approximately 9% farther, or 272 yards at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

That doesn’t account for slope (uphill or downhill), temperature, wind speed and direction, and humidity. Throw in such golfer-specific variables as ball velocity, trajectory and spin rate, and coming to a true yardage can prove challenging even for the game’s most skilled tacticians. 

“The main method we use as caddies is to have our pro hit a shot, then ask him how he hit it,” says Ted Scott, caddie for two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson. “If he says, ‘I hit it good,’ we make a note that that sand wedge flew 158 yards with the wind blowing this hard, in that direction, on this hole. So, the next time we have something to refer back to. There’s not an exact science to it, but we get close.” 

Altitude is just one more variable to cloud the mind and complicate the club selection process.

When combined with wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity, it can become an exercise of miscalculation and pure guesswork, especially for amateur players.

Enter the Arccos Caddie Rangefinder, the first GPS rangefinder powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Leveraging data from 300,000 golfers logging more than 200 million on-course shots during 3.8 million rounds played with Smart Sensors or Grips, the Arccos Caddie Rangefinder (integrated within the app) uses algorithms to provide the “Arccos Caddie Number” based on real-time calculations of slope, weather and altitude.

Altitude adjustments are personalized to each Arccos user based on the elevation differential between his or her home course and the one he or she is playing.

Arccos' AI-driven technology also makes club selection recommendations based on historical performance data, your location, the hole geometry, the real-time conditions and more.

This groundbreaking level of data could certainly prove useful at Club de Golf Chapultepec. At that altitude, a golf ball can fly considerably farther than normal due to the thinner air density; this, in turn, dramatically impacts shot distance, club selection and ultimately, scoring.

Look at the dramatic differences players will see with the GPS Number vs the Arccos Caddie Numbers.

Hole 5:

Hole 5

Hole 11:

Hole 11 

To understand the true power of the Arccos Caddie Rangefinder, consider standing over your tee shot on the par-4 fourth hole at Chapultepec, where a standard rangefinder measures the distance to the middle of the fairway to be 269 yards.

Hole 4

The Arccos Caddie Rangefinder, on the other hand, factors the following:

  • 6 mile-per-hour downwind speed
  • 38-foot downhill slope
  • 75 degrees Fahrenheit temperature
  • 11% humidity
  • 7,790 feet above sea level

And delivers a 241-yard measurement. That’s a 28-yard difference!

Based on this Arccos user’s averages of 260 yards for a driver and 238 yards for a 3-wood, the Arccos Caddie app recommends hitting the 3-wood.

“If a friend of mine would go play in Mexico, he [or she] would be terrible because one, he hasn’t [played at elevation] enough to adjust and two, he doesn’t know the method to adjust,” says Scott. “Having the Arccos Caddie Rangefinder would be amazing because he would be able to arrive at the ball with all that information.”

Truth is, you don’t have to travel to Mexico or play more than a mile above sea level to experience the impact Arccos technology can have on your scores and your enjoyment of the game. 

Data shows Arccos golfers shaved an average of 4.2 strokes from their handicaps in the first year, some in as few as five rounds. Arccos users are also 5.5 times more likely to record a hole-in-one than non-users.

“Knowing exactly how far a shot is for the best golfers in the world is extremely important,” says Scott. “So, if it’s important for the best golfers, it’s important for every golfer.”

It’s the type of information that can help golfers at every level soar to new heights, both literally and figuratively.