Physics of Golf

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Many golf equipment companies are constantly trying to improve the different “tools” used during the game. And with the incredible rate of technology, golf equipment is constantly being taken to higher and higher levels. In fact, technology now allows golf equipment so precise and accurate, that many people believe it requires less skill to be a really exceptional golfer.

As technology and the study of physics progresses, only newer and better equipment will be produced. This is why a line must be drawn between technology and the skills of today’s players. The exceptional skills of some players to hit that long drive, or sink that incredible putt, must not be made common place for all players by means of better technology and equipment. The United States Golf Association was developed to regulate the game of golf and ensure that this doesn’t happen. “‘The USGA's role is to make sure the new technologies don't upset the balance between skill and technology,’ he (Dick Rugge, senior technical director for the U.S. Golf Association) explained. (Newsday.com)”

The construction and design of golf balls has changed drastically since the beginning of the sport. Some of the very first golf balls consisted of a leather pouch that was packed full of goose feathers. The feathers were wet when being inserted into the pouch, and the ball dried to become very hard and solid. A good drive with one of these balls was thought to be in the 150-175 yard range. These types of balls were given the nickname “featheries” and were the most common ball used up until 1848 when the Gutta-percha ball was developed. These balls were made of the dried gum of Malaysian sapodilla trees. These balls were very smooth initially and were found to not fly a...

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Works Cited

Jorensen, Theodore P., The Physics of Golf, http://services.golfweb.com/library/books/pog/pog1.html

Robert Cook and Earl Lane (Newsday.com staff writers), The Physics of Golf, http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/ny-dsspdn2742220jun11,0,6216653.story

Marshall Wells, Wendy Burd, Jennifer Trofimovics, and Rebecca Parker, The Physics of a Golf Swing, http://kingfish.coastal.edu/physics/projects/2000_Spring/golf/

CNN Sports Illustrated (Graphics by John W. Fleming/Chronicle Staff), The Physics of Golf, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/augusta/cool_stuff/physics/

Bridgestone Sports Online, The Science of Golf Balls, http://www.bs-sports.co.jp/english/science_of_golf_ball/science_of_ball_top.html

American Institute of Physics, Interview with Dick Rugge (product developer for Taylor Made Golf), http://www.aip.org/radio/scripts/golf_physics.txt

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