How to Play Golf at Higher Altitude

Golfing at a higher altitude can be a thrilling experience, with breathtaking views and a new set of challenges.

The thin air can significantly affect your shots, causing the ball to travel farther than it would at sea level. Simultaneously, the physical challenges of higher altitudes can put your body under strain. 

Essential Tips for Staying Healthy at High Altitude

When preparing to play golf at a higher altitude, understanding the impact of the thinner air on your body is crucial. The reduction in oxygen availability can pose significant health challenges, such as altitude sickness, fatigue, and dehydration. 

However, with the right preparation and practices, these can be effectively managed. Below, we delve deeper into some of the best ways to stay healthy and maximize your performance when golfing at high altitudes.

Hydration is Key

Hydration is of paramount importance when engaging in any physical activity, but at high altitudes, the need to hydrate is even more pronounced. 

At these heights, your body can lose water and electrolytes more quickly due to increased respiration and lower humidity, leading to dehydration. 

Staying properly hydrated is fundamental for maintaining good health and optimizing your golf performance. Here’s how you can ensure optimal hydration:

  • Drink plenty of water: At higher altitudes, your body’s need for water increases. Aim for at least an extra liter compared to your usual intake. Try to drink small amounts regularly throughout the day, even if you’re not feeling thirsty.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine have diuretic effects, which can contribute to dehydration. While it might be tempting to enjoy a few beverages during your golf game, try to keep consumption to a minimum or avoid it altogether to prevent any adverse effects on your hydration levels.
  • Include electrolytes: Electrolytes play a crucial role in maintaining your body’s balance of fluids. As you lose water at high altitudes, you also lose vital electrolytes. Drinks containing electrolytes, such as sports drinks or rehydration solutions, can help replenish these essential minerals and maintain your body’s fluid balance.

Adapt to the Altitude

Adapting to the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes doesn’t happen instantly. Your body needs time to acclimatize, which involves physiological changes that enable it to function with less oxygen. 

Rushing this process can lead to altitude sickness. Here are some strategies to help your body adapt more smoothly:

  • Ascend gradually: If your schedule allows, try to spend a day or two at a mid-altitude location before heading to the high-altitude golf course. This gradual ascent will give your body a chance to start the acclimatization process, reducing the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Take it easy: In the first few days at high altitude, start with light activity and gradually increase the intensity as you acclimatize. 

Despite your enthusiasm to start golfing, resist the urge to engage in strenuous activity immediately upon arrival. Listen to your body, and if you start to feel unwell, rest and recover before pushing yourself further.

  • Eat a balanced diet: A balanced diet can aid in altitude acclimatization. Foods rich in iron, such as red meat and leafy greens, can help your body produce more red blood cells, improving its oxygen-carrying capacity. 

Also, complex carbohydrates are a great source of sustained energy, which can be beneficial for extended periods of physical activity like golf.

Everyone’s body reacts differently to high altitude, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always listen to your body, and if you feel unwell, seek medical attention immediately.

Adjusting Your Golf Game for Higher Altitude

Playing golf at higher altitudes presents unique challenges that necessitate adjustments to your usual game, from club selection to swing techniques. The thin air, while offering stunning vistas, can significantly affect the ball’s travel. 

Understanding these impacts and adapting accordingly is essential for maintaining an effective golf game. 

Club Selection and Distance

One of the key effects of playing golf at a higher altitude is that the ball tends to fly farther. This is because the thin air provides less resistance, causing the ball to travel more distance than it would at sea level. 

Therefore, it’s essential to adjust your club selection based on this increased travel. Here’s how you can approach this:

  • Know your average distance per club at sea level: It’s crucial to understand how far you typically hit with each club when playing at sea level. This serves as a baseline to help you adjust your club selection at higher altitudes.
  • Estimate an increased distance: It’s generally estimated that a golf ball will travel about 10% farther at high altitudes than at sea level. This percentage can vary depending on various factors, including the specific altitude and weather conditions. However, it’s a reasonable starting point for adjusting your club selection.
  • Select your club based on these calculations: With the above information, you can select your clubs more accurately. If, for example, you’re aiming for a 150-yard shot and you know that your 7-iron achieves this distance at sea level, you might want to switch to an 8-iron to account for the increased distance the ball will travel at a high altitude.

Swinging Technique

Your swing technique is another area where adjustments can be beneficial at higher altitudes. The same power you use at sea level could send the ball significantly farther in the thinner air, which could be a disadvantage in certain situations. Here’s how you can adapt your swinging technique:

  • Swing smoothly and accurately: At high altitudes, accuracy becomes even more critical. The thin air can amplify any errors in your swing, sending the ball far off target. Therefore, focus on maintaining a smooth and accurate swing rather than hitting as hard as possible.
  • Adjust your approach shots: Remember, your approach shots will also carry farther at high altitudes. Consider aiming your approach shots short and letting the ball roll to the hole. This strategy can help you control the ball’s increased distance and avoid overshooting the green.

Golfing at high altitudes presents unique challenges and opportunities. By staying healthy, knowing your average distance per golf club, and adjusting your club selection and swing technique, you can enjoy a rewarding golfing experience while soaking up the breathtaking high-altitude views.


Golfing at higher altitudes offers a unique challenge and a chance to experience the game in a new light. By preparing your body for the changes in altitude and adjusting your game accordingly, you can ensure a healthy and rewarding high-altitude golfing experience.

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