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Ole_Tom_Morris

Ballistics of Ball-Striking, or, How Come Drivers have arounf 12* Loft

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This came out today in that mine of golfing lore, Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2013/04/29/the-physics-of-golf-whats-the-ideal-loft-to-hit-the-ball-farthest/ Very short explanation of how it is that drivers are not lofted at 45 degrees. Link to a scientific article with the formulas. [Excuse me, "the formulae." :)]
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That article is very ... odd. I already knew if was spin, but I guess I never really thought about the first guy to come up with that. Still, it's a strange read. I do like the equations and graphs in the linked PDF. That was neat.
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It was satisfying to read.
However, how good an explanation is it today? I mean, both balls and drivers are way different from those available in 1983. Dimple design differs. Different drivers of the same loft will produce different spin rates. The COR of a modern club is different from a wood or steel driver of 1983. Heck, even tees are available in more variety today, and the height of a tee has a big effect on distance.
And spin is not necessarily your friend if you're out for distance. The forward force on the ball is dissipated to the extent that loft creates spin -- and part of that pertains to materials and driver head design as well as golf ball design.. The right rate of spin will maximize distance but if the spin rate is too high or low the ball travels a shorter distance. Sure, the physics is the same as in 1983, but the equipment may give different optimums today when spin rates and lofts and distance are graphed.. Is this correct?
A fact that fascinates me is how pro gambler / golfers will grease the faces of their clubs with vaseline to increase distance. They want to reduce spin to get a more boring flight, with less diversion of force into spin.
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