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Physics of Golf

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One of my favorite sports to play is golf. I have played the game since I was about 8 years old, and have played on the golf team at school since 7th grade. I also play with friends over the summer pretty frequently. However, the game can be really frustrating due to the complexity of hitting a perfect golf shot. Hitting a golf ball well is much more complicated than simply keeping your eye on the ball and hitting it as hard as you can. Some people view a golf swing much like a baseball swing. However, they are very different. In a golf swing, there are two main components that result in the best possible shot. The first is having a good swing speed of the arms and shoulders. The second is letting the wrists rotate freely while still holding onto the club. On the downswing, when a golfer's hands are parallel to the ground, he/she must drop their wrists and allow them to move centripetally until after the ball has been hit. This maximizes the speed at which the club head strikes the ball because of the centripetal acceleration of the club. This is unlike a baseball swing, where the baseball player relies on strong forearms and wrists to exert a great force. The golfer's wrists, however, are passive in swinging through a golf ball. Also, by contacting the ball when the player's club is perpendicular to the ground provides the greatest acceleration of the ball because the applied force of the club of the ball is in the direction of the fairway, causing the ball to accelerate in that direction.

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