The 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference

The Physics of a Perfect Golf Swing

The Perfect Golf swing requires a level of fluidity that is uncompromising. A slight change in something as simple as grip, or the transfer of weight can turn an average golfer’s swing into a PGA regular,  not of course without many hours of practice.  To Learn more, the 18th AFMC website team took a trip to the golf club testing facility at GFO. One of the best golf shops Brisbane has to offer. Their test range is of the highest quality and allows for accurate measurement of loft, ball speed, club head speed, spin, and a variety of other factors which influence the physics behind a golfer’s swing.

The Golf swing is a perfect example of angular motion. As the golfer twists, they create torque at the head of the club, causing rotation. Drivers tend to weigh about the same no matter the brand so the key to hitting a tiger like drive is about generating the highest possible velocity at the clubhead. The faster the clubhead is moving, the stronger the collision between the ball and the club becomes, which in turn means a larger transfer of kinetic energy. The second part of the swing that needs to be assessed from a physics standpoint is the mechanics of the double pendulum. A double pendulum is effectively one pendulum connected at the end of another. By uncocking your wrists when swinging you are creating extra force that can thus be transferred to the ball if timed correctly. As the club head swings out, the golfer’s hands slow down, and the club head accelerates. When the double pendulum is fully extended (hopefully near when the club would hit the golf ball), The golfer’s hands come to a dead stop. What this signifies for the fluid mechanics of the golfer’s swing is that the efficiency of the swing is 100% as all of the energy that was generated was successfully transferred. This highlights the value of the double pendulum style system as no external force was required to make this happen. The double pendulum simply made this happen by rearranging itself under its own inertia.

At the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference there was a great keynote lecture that went into the collision model of the perfect golf swing at great lengths. This lecture is available at the Tasmanian University library. The lecture furthers our explanation by breaking the swing down into three parts: the unfolding of the swing, the club head collision, and the transfer properties of momentum while also considering energy loses. So if you want to reach the PGA, look up the lecture and work your way through the mechanics until you achieve the perfect swing.