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

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

64

Golf ball impacts, greens and the golfer

S.J. Haake

University of Sheffield, UK

Abstract

This paper gives a brief overview of the results of a 3 year project to study the relationship between the characteristics of golf greens and the impact of golf shots on them. To this end, an apparatus was developed to project spinning golf balls directly onto golf greens with the resulting impacts recorded on film. The apparatus was used on eighteen golf courses resulting in 721 useful photographs of impacts. Two types of green emerged from analysis of the photographs; on the first, the ball tended to rebound with topspin, while on the second, the ball retained backspin if the initial backspin was large enough.

Eleven tests were used to determine the characteristics of greens and the relationships between the characteristics were linked to the impact study. It was found that it was easier to retain backspin on the rebounding ball on a green that was freely drained and had a low amount of Poa annua in its sward.

A mathematical model was developed to simulate the impact of the ball with the turf. The model gave sensible results for oblique impacts with backspin.

Keywords: Golf, Impact, Turf, Playing Quality.


1 Introduction

This project was carried out at the Sports Turf Research Institute in conjunction with the University of Aston in Birmingham. Manufacturers of golf balls have carried out many tests to study the behaviour of the ball on impacting with the golf club face. There has also been much work done on the aerodynamics of the golf ball (Bearman and Harvey 1976). There is little information, however, on what is a fundamental part of the game of golf-the impact of the ball with the green. With a better understanding of the process of impact it may be possible to define a given turf using a few easily measurable quantities and hence to predict how a golf green will play. These tests could then be used to aid the maintenance and construction of golf greens.


2 Apparatus

2.1 Recording golf ball impacts

The apparatus has been described in detail by Haake (1991a). Briefly it comprises a modified baseball practice machine to project the golf balls directly at the green and a light tight tent covering the impact zone to enable stroboscopic photographs of the impact to be recorded. The complete set of apparatus is shown in Figure 1. The projection apparatus has two identical wheels with pneumatic tyres with their axes parallel. The wheels rotate in opposite directions and when a ball rolls down the chute it enters the gap between the wheels. It is then gripped and fired out of the other side. The speeds of the two motors

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

-431-

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