The Physics of a Golf Ball Essay

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The Physics of a Golf Ball

The first written reference of golf was in 1457. Golf balls have had extraordinary changes since that time; they've gone from leather pouches to dried gum to today's dimpled balls. These dimples help decrease the drag and increase the lift. Different forces are applied to the golf ball when struck by the club. Golf clubs have grooves to create backspin. And then there are different variables that affect how a golf ball will travel, these include: lie angle and the shaft length. A golfer must never forget about "the wind factor". And last but not least , a golfer must flat-out use his own judgment in the game of golf.
The game of golf has a science all of it's own, and even the best players have days when the simplest of strokes proves a frustrating challenge. Golf has been an extraordinary sport for quite a while. In-fact, the first written reference of golf dates back to 1457. Since that time it has been a developing sport that has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. With all the money, energy, and time (the sandpit in my situation) that has been exhorted to the game of golf, you'd think it would be a cakewalk rather than a mystery. Surprisingly enough, the average golfer knows next to nothing about the physics of golf. Here's an inside look at what happens from the time the golfer steps on the tee too the time that the ball falls into that "ooh" so far away black hole.
With like anything else, the game of golf has gone through ratification due to science and technology. Up until 1848, a spherical leather pouch was filled with wet goose feathers. The pouch was stitched with linen thread, turned inside out so that the stitching was on the inside. The ball dried to becom...

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... ball hit against the wind will have greater lift and more drag and one hit with the wind will have a smaller lift and less drag. But a smart golfer must realize the strength and direction of the wind.
Understanding the physics of a modern day golf ball will not alone save you from an embarrassing round of golf. Perfection comes with experience and getting a feel of each course that awaits you. I do believe that a thorough understanding of the physical principals underlying the various aspects of the flight of the golf ball will help the golfer to make the correct judgments and thereby improve his game.



Haake, S. (1997) The Physics of Golf.
Science Spectra.

Jorgensen, T.P. (1994) Aerodynamic Forces.
The Physics of Golf. (1995) The physics of Golf
Why do golf balls have dimples?

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