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Hitting a golf ball

  1. Apr 14, 2008 #1
    ok so i saw a vid on youtube of a golf ball being hit by a club in slow mo. it was quite interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y57pw_iWlk&feature=related
    somethings i noticed:

    >the ball deformed quite a bit!
    >as it began to deform the far edge seemed to remain stationary.
    >the ball started to move faster than the club had been swinging.

    so i was thinking:

    when the club first strikes the ball, it provides no kinetic energy to the ball only potential energy [the deformation of the ball].

    when the initial "pulse" from the club reaches the far end of the ball, the ball stops deforming and begins to resume its normal underformed state.

    in resuming its undeformed state it pushes back agains the club providing it with foward momentum, as such its speed will consist of the speed of the club swing + the extra push it gives itself due to resuming its normal shape.

    so my question is:
    it this right?? !!

    and so i was thinking that the speed you can launch a golf ball at depends very much on the stiffness of the ball.
    i'm supposing the stiffer the ball is:
    the quicker it will resume its shape after deformation and so the quicker it will fly off the club, AND, the harder it will be to deform in the first place, thus the less elastic energy it will have to use to accelerate away from the club.
    so there probably exists a happy medium which depends on the speed at which you swing your club?
    i suppose i could try to do some sums on this but i'd be interested to hear you expert opinions!! thanks :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2008 #2
    Optimum has to do with rates. The golf ball needs to release its stored elastic energy completely while it's still in contact with the club head. Otherwise it will do so against it's own CG to no avail. I'm not a golfer but I don't think that I would want to be swinging at a steel ball bearing.

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2008
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