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So what is golf ball distance?
Golf ball distance is the distance a golf ball will travel within a single shot.
But how do we achieve distance? There are three main factors which determine the distance a golf ball will travel. This does not take into consideration the effects of wind and air resistance.
Key Factors of Golf Ball Distance
The distance a golf ball will travel is determined by:
initial velocity which is the initial speed of the ball
initial angle of flight, which is the angle at which it is hit into the air
Spin that has been imparted on the ball by the club
These three factors are significantly affected by a number of other external factors, such as the percentage of full contact hits, golf clubhead speed, and swing path. The interrelationship of these external factors greatly influence the distance that a golf ball will carry upon impact.
Golf Club and Ball Interaction in Determining Distance
It is the interaction between the golf clubhead and golf ball that determines how far a golf ball will travel, as well as its direction of travel. Without the right combination of initial velocity, initial angle of flight, and golf ball spin, the maximum golf ball distance cannot be achieved.
Scientific analysis of a ball’s flight shows that, at the moment of impact, certain characteristics of the club and ball interact with head speed, swing path and other factors to determine the three key elements of distance. The pertinent ball-related characteristics are the materials that go into its manufacture and structure. The pertinent golf club-related characteristics are the materials that go into its manufacture, head, loft and shape.
Once the ball is in flight, the shape and arrangement of its dimples will also affect distance traveled.
Three main keys to maximize golf ball distance:
Initial Velocity – This refers to the velocity of the ball leaving the clubhead at the moment of impact. Although initial velocity depends mostly on head speed, it is also affected by the materials used to manufacture the club head, loft, point of contact, swing path, the ball’s restitution, among other factors.
Initial Angle of Flight – This refers to the angle at which the ball leaves the club head upon impact. Initial angle is determined by the loft of the club, the angle of incidence, the degree of ball deformation, and the friction generated between the club and the ball. A club with minimal loft will produce smaller initial angles of flight when the ball being used is a spin-type ball.
Golf Ball Spin – This refers to the ball’s revolutions. Spin is determined by head speed, materials used in the manufacture of the club, club loft, and swing path, as well as materials that go into the manufacture of the ball. The lift created by back spin causes balls to travel along high trajectories, while poorly hit balls tend to spin sideways, which cause hooks and slices.
Golf Ball Back Spin
Backspin causes a golf ball to lift and as a result will yield a longer shot, while poor back spin may cause the ball to slice to the right or hook to the left.
It is pretty obvious that a greater initial velocity and larger initial angle of trajectory will produce a longer shot. Once your angle gets too large, you enter the zone of diminishing returns. This means your distance will start to decrease again. Simple physics dictates that the optimum angle to achieve maximum distance is 45 degrees. However, with golf, due to the spin on the ball, air and wind resistance, and other factors, the optimum angle of trajectory is generally less than 45 degrees for maximum distance, and will vary from one golf scenario to another.
Remember ball flight laws only apply when proper Alignment is observed.
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