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Saturday, March 31, 2007

How Resistance To

Deceleration Can Make

A Big Difference

First a small personal note. I have received emails from readers posing questions that I would like to briefly answer:

a. These reports are my own opinion, not Leslie King's. And I am not sure if Mr. King would have approved. So only I am responsible.

My defence is that if you simply look at pros which such different swings as Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, John Daly, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer, you can SEE that there are many different ways to successfully hit a golf ball and to win tournaments.

b. Also, I know that some of these power sources are not compatible with each other. My objective in these reports is simply to list and explain each power source. The golfer is free to use or reject whatever he or she wishes. AND I am not explaining in the reports the correct sequencing of the swings. I am only describing power sources.

Now, on to the meat of the report. Golf Pros will often tell a students - Swing all the way through the ball! Well, I want to be more specific WHY in this report.

This is going to be somewhat technical, so please have some patience.

When a golf ball is being hit by a club face, there are three separate and distinct phases of the collision.

Here is an overview:

First, the clubhead makes contact with the ball and COMPRESSES and DEFORMS the ball. This compression is stored energy in the ball.

Second, when the ball cannot be compressed anymore, the clubhead starts pushing the compressed ball along the path of the swing.

Third, when the clubhead is slowing down from the impact with the ball, the compression on the ball is released and the ball literally JUMPS (like a rubber ball) off the clubface. The energy of the JUMP comes from the materials of the golf ball returning to their original shape. How much the initial energy input into the ball on first impact is returned when it jumps off the clubface is called the coefficient of restitution (CR). If the CR is 100%, then 100% of the energy input into the ball is returned when it jumps off the clubface. In the real world, this is not possible due to friction and heat. High quality golf balls hit with a very clean impact can reach a CR of approcimately 80%.

So, lets now walk through the clubface hitting the ball with some speed. And I will simplify the numbers to make the mathematics easy.

Just assume for a moment that the clubface is traveling at 100 km/hour and hits a golf ball that is standing still. The clubface then comes into contact with the ball and starts to deform it. The energy from this deformation is stored in the golf ball.

The clubface starts to slow down from the impact with the golf ball and is now only moving at 50 km/hour. At a speed of 50 km/hour, the ball jumps off the clubface with an energy equivalent to 80% of 100 km/hour (the initial impact speed) = 80 km/hour. So the cumulative speed of the golf ball is 50 km/hour (clubface separation speed) + 80 km/hour jump = 130 km/hour.

Therefore, with a clubface swinging at 100 km/hour, we have been able to hit a golf ball with a speed of 130 km/hour by combining the energy stored in the ball with the energy of the swinging clubface. This is why a golf ball has more speed than the moving clubhead!

Now, how can a golfer get more clubhead speed without swinging faster? Answer: by resisting the deceleration to the clubhead (as the golf Pros say - swing all the way through the ball.) Let me illustrate.

All of the values in this second case are exactly the same as above EXCEPT the speed at which the clubhead is moving when the ball jumps off the clubface is not 50 km/hour, but 80 km/hour. The golfer has achieved this NOT by swinging faster, but rather by resisting the tendency of the clubface to slowdown during impact with the ball. The golfer has continued to either hit or swing all the way through and past impact.

Now the resulting speed of the ball is 80 km (clubface speed at separation) + 80 km/hour jump (80% of 100 km/hour the initial impact speed) = 160 km/hour.

WITHOUT SPEEDING UP THE SWING, the ball speed has been increased from 130 km/hour to 160 km/hour - a 23 % increase!

There are two lessons to be learned here.

1. Setting up your stand and body position to resist the deceleration of the clubhead can bring signficant increases in ball speed without swinging faster.

2. In the above example, I have always assumed a CR of 80%. In real life, only a few golf pros come close to this value. Many amateurs, because they are not cleanly impacting the ball on the sweet spot of the clubface, have values of between 30 to 70 percent. And this also results in lost golf ball speed.

Simply improving on getting a very clean sweet spot hit on the clubface with help you to get closer to the 80% value, and get more distance without swinging faster.




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