Club-ball physics
Ball in flight
Product Spotlight
[Innovative Product Spotlight]
     While researching this project I came across a couple of innovative golf products which claimed to improve performance through interesting and unique physical changes in their design. Of course there are many many products which claim to do this, but I found these products to be truly one-of-a-kind designs that implement interesting physics concepts, some of which we’ve just recently studied in class.
     The first product is a golf club called the “Bubble shaft,” and was released by Taylor Made Golf. In an interview, Dick Rugge, a product developer for Taylor Made Golf, explains the concept of the unique design of the club and how it is theoretically supposed to improve your golf game. The Bubble shaft features a bulge in the shaft just below the grip. The purpose of this is to move some of the weight from the end of the club to the center, effectively moving the center of mass further up the shaft from the club head. Since the club’s axis of rotation is the golfer who is swinging it, this is moving more mass towards that axis. The intent here is to reduce the moment of inertia to allow for an easier swing. Since the torque exerted on an object is equal to the moment of inertia multiplied by the angular acceleration, with a smaller moment of inertia, a smaller torque force will be required to achieve the same angular acceleration, therefore making the club easier to swing. This works much the same way as the ice skater example we discussed in class.
     The other product I’d like to talk about was known as the “happy non-hooker” golf ball. It was a golf ball designed with one simple ring of dimples around it, the rest of the ball being smooth. This ball was teed up with the band of dimples in line with the hole. The thought behind this innovative design was that “even if it (the ball) was hit badly, the lack of dimples on its sides meant it was less likely to hook left or slice right. (http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/ny-dsspdn2742220jun11,0,6216653.story)” The reasoning behind this is that even though dimples can help the ball gain extra loft, they can also emphasize a slice or hook, working very much the same way as they do when emphasizing the backspin to stay in the air longer. So if there were no dimples on the sides of the ball, in theory, the ball would not slice or hook as badly as it would with dimples.