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 put that system into your hands with our latest update to 18Birdies.
Plays Like Tools
Plays Like – The greatest Caddy on tour, in your pocket
By looking at the science of how a golf ball is affected by temperature, elevation change, wind, altitude, and other conditions – 18Birdies will help you factor all of these elements into playing 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.
To see each of the components of Plays Like, Tap the Plays Like distance on the GPS screen to see a breakdown of each of the factors that are accounted for in the adjustment.
After opening the Plays Like panel, let’s get into some details of the Plays Like feature. To see each of the factors that Plays Like will take into account:
- Launch the 18Birdies app.
- Tap Play and follow the process to enter the GPS screen.
- Tap on the Plays Like distance to open the Plays Like Panel.
On this screen, you can see a detailed breakdown of how each factor will affect your shot Wind, Elevation Change, Temperature, Altitude Change, and Lie Angle. To manually change one of the Plays Like details, tap the 'Adjust' button next to the detail.
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 figure 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.
You can manually change the wind speed by moving the slider until you have reached the correct wind intensity. To adjust the Wind Direction, tap and move the dot around the compass to match your current wind direction.
This is the elevation difference between where your ball is sitting and the green (or the 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.
To manually adjust the Elevation for your next shot, slide the dot up to indicate the landing area will be higher, and slide the button down to indicate the landing area will be lower.
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.
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.
To manually adjust the Temperature, tap Adjust next to the temperature on the Plays Like Panel and slide the button up or down to increase / decrease the temperature.
Traveling from Denver to Carlsbad on a golf trip? 18Birdies has you covered!
If a golfer lives in Denver and travels to Carlsbad for a golf trip, 18Birdies will tell them how much shorter their shots will be compared to back home in Denver. While this is an extreme example, these differences can help prevent the short / long shots and help you hit more greens while you're at a new course!
18Birdies will automatically take the elevation of your first round and set that as your baseline. To edit the Altitude baseline for the 'Plays Like' adjustments, open the Plays Like panel and tap 'Adjust' to open the Baseline altitude change. Slide the button up or down to match the altitude of your home course.
Depending on the angle of the slope your ball is sitting on, your shot will have its initial trajectory changed. Tap the uphill or downhill icons to adjust for the vertical launch angle and how it will affect your next shot.