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 They were originally made of wood.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.
            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.
            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 all.

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