Woods are the clubs with the big heads and
long shafts. They are designed to hit the ball a really long distance.
The long shaft increases the torque at the head of the club. This in turn
increases the velocity with which the ball can leave the tee.
Irons vary in their design. Some are designed
to hit the ball far while others are designed more to hit the ball higher
in the air and shorter in distance.
Physics of the Clubs
Physics is very prevalent in the
design of the golf clubs. Like the ball, clubs have evolved a great deal
over the years. They were originally made of wood. Now they are made from
a wide range of materials, such as steel, titanium, and carbon fiber.
There are several different
types of clubs used in golf. Specifically there are three different categories
of clubs. They are woods, irons, and putters. Each club is designed specifically
to do a certain job.
The sole purpose of the putter is
to allow the golfer to tap the ball into the cup from a short distance.
In addition to the different types
of clubs, there are also different parts of an individual club. Each part
is designed, taking physics into account, to optimize the performance
of the golfer. The three parts of a club are the grip, shaft, and head.
The grip is the part of the club
that the golfer holds onto. The grip is usually made out of rubber or leather
that has grooves or ridges in it. The reason the grips are made like this
is to increase the friction between the club and the golfer's hands. Without
this extra friction golfers would have trouble just trying to hang on to
the club while swinging.
The shaft is generally made out of
steel or carbon fiber. The shafts are made with varying degrees of stiffness,
or flexibility. Some prefer a stiffer shaft, while others prefer a shaft
that has some flexibility. Choosing which is best for you involves using
physics principles. Stronger players who have good form tend to be better
off using clubs with stiffer shafts. This allows all of the energy that
they transfer to the club to be transferred into the ball. With a more flexible
shaft some of their energy goes into making the shaft bend, thus decreasing
the amount of energy transferred to the ball. For the majority of us, who
either don't have enough strength or the good form, a more flexible shaft
is probably more beneficial. At the top of the swing some energy goes into
bending the shaft, but when the club is about to strike the ball it can
act like a whip, if swung properly. This action releases the energy stored
in the shaft and transfers it to the ball.
We discussed the head of
the club some when we were talking about the different types of clubs.
Simply put the heads of the different clubs have faces with different angles.
The different angles change the trajectory of the ball. The steeper the
face is angled away from the ball, the higher the ball will go. Some irons
have very steep angles. These clubs are designed to make the ball go higher
over a shorter distance. To the other extreme, the putter face is perpendicular
to the ball helping to ensure that the ball does not leave the ground at