When a player exerts force on the golf ball, he/she swings an average of 4-5 miles per hour. If the player uses a club with a flexible shaft, the act of swinging adds an additional measure of torque as the head of the club also propels forward to connect with the ball. The head of the club has grooves that increase the friction between the club and the ball, allowing the club to more effectively focus the area of contact.
The optimal angle to hit the ball ranges from about 12 to 20 degrees. Putting a backspin on the ball increases lift and can add significant distance to the drive. The dimples on the golf ball itself help reduce drag from the air stream by reducing turbulent air pressure around and behind the ball, shifting the wake further behind the ball, thus allowing for smoother, less resistant flight. Any combination of these variables contributes to how well the ball overcomes the forces of gravity and air resistance.
Learn the basics of how physics affects golf or read the more technical details here.
Articles by Trevor Stoddard.
Trees play a large role in the sporting world, impacting everything from the equipment used in golf and baseball to the courts played on in basketball. Different woods affect the game differently, and it can all be explained with materials science.
Articles by Nalini Narkani.
Have you ever wondered how professional tennis players are able to put a serve right on the line time after time? How about how a professional golfer is able to pull off pin-point shots with extreme consistency? Aside from intense focus, these athletes are using motor learning, also known as muscle memory. This is essentially teaching your muscles how to repeat movements or techniques over and over.
Learn the basics of how muscle memory matters.
Articles by Kenny Morley.
The composition of golf balls has evolved through the years. Two-layered balls, which are inexpensive and popular, have come a long way. Polymers combined with natural compounds from rubber have been used to create golf balls that have good distance, high abrasion resistance, and optimal firmness. Scientists are beginning to research ways to prolong the life of balls after they are exposed to moisture.
Articles by Jessica Egan.