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Golf: The Drive



One would think that someone who is somewhat knowledgeable in the realm of physics might be somewhat decent at golf. They would be wrong, because I exist.

In this particular installment, I will be focusing on the flashiest aspect of golf, known as the drive. A long drive may not guarantee a good score on a certain hole, but it's a good start, and can make you look cool.

Martin Paul Gardiner, creator of advanced golf simulators, obviously had to do some research beforehand - I will be citing his findings here. A driver has considerably less loft than other clubs, and typically, a 10 degree driver with an impact velocity of 134 mph will launch a ball at a launch angle of 8 degrees. The ball will then rotate at 3600 rpm.

At high spin rates, a magnus lifting effect causes the ball to climb vertically in a non-parabolic fashion. This is achieved by hitting the ball with a very high impact velocity and is only achieved by the "hard hitters" - most often seen in the pros.

Finally, I'll touch on two subjects I know very well: the slice and the hook.


A slice is a left to right movement of the ball caused by hitting the ball with an open club face, swung from out to in. A hook is a right to left movement caused by a closed club face swung from in to out. (For all three colors, the hooks are on the left and the slices are on the right.)


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