Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

9

Centrifugal force and the planar golf swing

B. Lowe

FEI Expert Systems Research, Melbourne, Australia


and I.H. Fairweather

Department of Physical Education and Recreation, Victoria
University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract

The familiar double-pendulum model of the golf swing was applied to the downswing and follow-through swing planes of low handicap golfers. Co-planar swings were predicted in which downswing and follow-through clubhead displacements follow the same plane. It was found that centrifugal forces generated by the pendulum action are used by better players to keep the clubhead on plane. Furthermore, centrifugal force, rather than supination of the left wrist, provides the mechanism to square the clubface at impact. The clubhead was found to rotate about a central pivot.

Keywords: Golf Swing, Centrifugal Force, Double-Pendulum, Planar.


1 Introduction

Although the concept of centrifugal force is central to the popular double-pendulum interpretation of the golf swing (Cochran and Stobbs, 1968; Daish, 1972), there is disagreement concerning the role it plays in golf swing mechanics. According to the double-pendulum model (Daish, 1972 p.30), centrifugal force explains how '…energy…in the upper lever is gradually…fed outwards…into the implement being wielded.'. Hay (1973) p.282, on the other hand, argues 'Thus, since…centrifugal force…acts not on the club but on the hands, it cannot possibly be responsible for pulling the clubhead outward.'.

According to Cochran (1993), centrifugal force '…is an inertial force, and to that extent is fictitious in the same way that all inertial forces are. But the effect is quite real.'. Fowles (1985) p.122 claims that '…the centrifugal force is the familiar force arising from rotation about an axis. This force is always directed outward and away from the axis of rotation and is perpendicular to that axis.'. According to Daish (1972) p.29 'The centrifugal pull on the hands…will be over 320 N for the clubhead of a driver whirling at 45 m s-1.'. More

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-59-

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