While Mini-Golfing with some friends on a trip to Cape Cod over summer vacation, I decided to take a video of a, surprisingly, challenging part of the course. It involved a loop that you could either hit your ball into or try to go around it. For most of us, we ended up hitting into the front part of the steel loop and getting our ball no where. None of us were really playing by the rules so we let each other have multiple shots until our ball finally went through/passed the loop. In preparation for this class, I took video in the hopes someday it would show up here (will see if the attachment works). So, how does the golf ball not fall when it reaches the top of the loop? Physics, of course!!
To keep the ball from falling the centripetal force must equal the weight (mg) of the golf ball. Centripetal force is found by multiplying the mass of the golf ball by centripetal acceleration (this equals (v^2)/r). You end with an equation like this:
Since the only value that can be controlled by you-unless you want to break your golf ball or smash the loop, both of which would take you out of this situation- is velocity. Changing your velocity is the only way to get your ball to go through the loop without dropping from the top!