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Plays Like

Have you ever hit the perfect shot only to see your ball land 15 yards short of the green? 

We have too, and in many cases coming up short was due to environmental conditions we didn’t factor into the shot's ‘Plays Like’ distance. 

So, we looked into how the best caddies in the world determine how far to hit a shot and are putting that system into your hands with our latest update to 18Birdies.

Plays Like – The greatest Caddy on tour, in your pocket

By looking at the science for how a golf ball is affected by temperature, elevation change, wind, rain, humidity, and other conditions – 18Birdies will help you factor all of these elements into how to play the perfect distance.  

It’s like having a scientist in your golf bag who determines what distance to hit just like the best caddies on tour. 

Let’s get into some details of the Plays Like feature.


Play your best, even in poor weather conditions! 

The rule of thumb is that for every 10 degrees in temperature difference you can expect a change of just over a yard of distance depending on how far you are from the hole. 

Typically you’ll find that warm weather has less impact on the ball than cold weather does, in cold weather where you often wear jackets which can slow down your swing speed even more. 

By our own proprietary calculations, we start with a baseline of 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) for how a ball normally flies. 

We suggest golfers add (+) more distance to a shot if the temperature is colder and take off (-) distance if the temperature is warmer.

Elevation Change

This is the elevation difference between where your ball is sitting and the green (or intended target).  

18Birdies will take into account that shots to an elevated target will naturally play longer than a shot on flat ground and shots to a downhill target will play shorter than a shot on flat ground. 


Think of the wind as either the extra “resistance” or extra “oomph” you might need on a shot. 

You’ll find that wind into your face hurts the distance of a shot more than when the wind is at your back pushing the ball forward. We’ve factored all of this into our calculations to let you know how to judge any type of shot with wind and even figuring out crosswinds.  

You’ll see the (+) sign indicates you should add ‘X’ distance on the shot you need to hit when hitting into the wind, and the (-) sign indicates you should take off ‘X’ distance on downwind shots compared to when there is no wind. 


Rain slows down your ball flight compared to normal conditions. 

You’ll also find the further the shot, the more rain affects the distance because it keeps getting slowed down as it flies.

Humidity & Air pressure 

We don’t factor in humidity or air pressure for 18Birdies calculations because research shows that these factors are nearly irrelevant to your game. 

A change from 10% to 90% humidity will account for less than a yard of difference on a 200 yard shot and substantial changes in air pressure result in less than a yard impact on ball flight from 200 yards. 

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