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

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

41

The attitude of the shaft during the swing of golfers of different ability

J.S.B. Mather and M.A.J. Cooper

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of
Nottingham, UK

Abstract

Modern golf shafts are made from a variety of materials. By using composites it is now theoretically possible to match a shaft or a set of shafts to the playing ability of the golfer. Important inputs to this design process are the forces and swing accelerations which different golfers apply to the club. This paper shows how those forces affect the motion of the club during the swing. Time based photographs show the development of the bending properties and calculations based on an FE programme are also given.

Keywords: Golf shaft, golf swing, finite element analysis, photogrammetry.


1 Introduction

For many years manufacturers of golf clubs have advocated the use of different shafts for different swings. The basic concept propagated is that swings achieving high head velocity at impact with high speed rotation of the club about the wrists in the last phase of the swing will require a stiff shaft, whereas those with the same tempo but at a slower speed (particularly the hand action) will require a more flexible shaft. The operative word in that statement of the concept is tempo, which implies the same relative timing of the swing pattern i.e. whatever the swing speed, the correct timing is achieved. This situation accounts only for a very small percentage of amateur golfers in the world. Many golfers produce swings where the phasing is totally different (see for instance reference 3), with the wrists uncocking very early in the downswing, and the club moving out of the normal plane. The club is then brought back to the ball on a plane which causes a slicing effect at impact. The clubhead velocity maximises during the first part of the downswing at a value very similar to that of the good golfer but then slows to a value at impact some 60% of the maximum. Much of the potential is wasted which, added to the slicing effect on the ball, results in a very poor shot with no appreciable distance and often in the rough to the right of the fairway.

It may be argued that such golfers should learn the correct timing to the swing-a timing to match their ability, but it could be that this is precluded by the unsuitability of the clubs for the amateur golfer. Thankfully, manufacturers are at last beginning to address this situation. Many golfers therefore come to accept the inevitability of the situation and either abandon the game altogether or learn to play by compensating for their deficiencies. Neither of these need happen, if equipment could be produced which

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

-271-

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