Implications of Rigid Gripping Constraints on Clubhead Dynamics in Steel Golf Shafts
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, Ulster University, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, UK
R&A Rules Ltd., St. Andrews KY16 9JD, UK
Qualisys AB, Kvarnbergsgatan 2, 411 05 Gothenburg, Sweden
School of Metallurgy & Materials, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8030422
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Materials)
Research and equipment testing with golf robots offers much greater control and manipulation of experimental variables compared to tests using human golfers. However, whilst it is acknowledged that the club gripping mechanism of a robot is dissimilar to that of a human, there appears to be no scientific findings on the effects of these gripping differences on the clubhead at ball impact. Theoretical and experimental strain propagation rates from the clubhead to the grip and back to the clubhead were determined during robot testing with a 9-iron to determine if this time interval was sufficiently short to permit the gripping mechanism to have an effect on the clubhead during impact. Longitudinal strain appears to propagate the most quickly, but such deflections are likely to be small and therefore of little meaningful consequence. Shaft bending was not a primary concern as modes of large enough amplitude appear to propagate too slowly to be relevant. Torsional strain propagates at a rate which suggests that constraints at the grip end of a golf club could potentially influence impact dynamics for steel shafted irons; however, this effect seems unlikely to be significant, a likelihood that decreases further for longer irons. As such, it is considered reasonable to treat the influence of a robot’s gripping mechanism on clubhead dynamics at impact as negligible, and therefore comparisons between robot and human data in this regard are valid.