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Baseball bat vs. golf club

  1. Dec 3, 2004 #1
    There was a heated argument at my workplace today on what could drive a golf ball farther, a baseball bat or a golf club. Is it mass x velocity = force...end of story... or is there more to it? I think we are going to have to take an aluminium bat and some golf balls to a driving range to settle this one.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2004 #2


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    Firstly, the product of mass and velocity is not force, it's momentum.

    Secondly, put my money on the golf club...
  4. Dec 4, 2004 #3
    how would you figure it out?

    The head of the club has less mass but is traveling faster. Does the extra mass of the aluminium bat make a difference?
  5. Dec 4, 2004 #4
    The extra mass makes some difference, but you can't just multiply by the mass.

    Think of a one-ton car or a ten-thousand-ton ship hitting the golf ball at, say 20 mph. You wouldn't expect the ship to knock the ball much farther than the car, even though it weighs 10,000 times as much.
  6. Dec 4, 2004 #5
    In a simple elastic collision, where the bat is much heavier than the ball, the ball will be driven at twice the speed of the bat.

    If the bat were the same weight as the ball, then with an elastic collision, the bat should stop completely, and the ball should be driven away with the speed that the bat used to have.

    If the bat were lighter than the ball, then the bat should rebound, and the ball would be driven with less speed than the bat had originally.

    Since we know that neither baseball bats nor golf clubs rebound, we know that the ball will be driven faster than the club head was travelling, but not twice as fast (as the clubs aren't infinitely heavy).

    A golf club has more of its mass concentrated in the head, and it's longer and lighter, so I would expect the golf club head to be going about twice as fast as a basball bat head, if the same amount of energy is put into it.

    So I expect a clear victory for the golf club.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2004
  7. Dec 4, 2004 #6
    I say we go to the course and test it. My guess is there will be no contest, the golf club will make it go much farther.
  8. Dec 4, 2004 #7


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    Smart money is on the golf club. The average amateur golfer has a swing speed of about 90mph. The average professional baseball player has a swing speed around 80mph. Tiger Woods swing speed has been clocked at over 130mph.
  9. Dec 4, 2004 #8
    I agree with ceptimus. The tip of the golf club is small, so the force exerted on the golf club is more concentrated, therefore making the golf ball go further. Now if we were dealing with a baseball instead, the bat would definitely win, since the ball is heavier.
  10. Dec 5, 2004 #9
    my money isn on the tennis raquet :biggrin: :smile: :rofl:
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