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Proceedings 2018, 2(6), 245;

The Golf Shaft’s Influence on Clubhead-Ball Impact Dynamics

Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
Ping Inc., 2200 W. Peoria Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85029, USA
Presented at the 12th conference of the International Sports Engineering Association, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 26–29 March 2018.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Published: 13 February 2018
PDF [919 KB, uploaded 23 March 2018]


A long-held assumption in golf research is that the driver-ball impact is accurately modelled as a collision between two free bodies, i.e., the clubhead is not attached to the shaft. The purpose of this work was to examine the validity of this assumption using multibody simulation and motion capture technology. Ten elite golfers were recruited to participate in a motion capture experiment to validate a Rayleigh beam model of a flexible club. Using the six degree-of-freedom motion of the grip as an input to the model, the simulated shaft deflections showed good agreement with the experiment. An impact model based on volumetric contact was integrated with the flexible club model and was used to compare the launch conditions of free-body and full-club impacts. Analysis of the launch conditions revealed that the shaft creates a stiffening effect that resists clubhead rotation during contact, corresponding to an increase in ball speed and suppression of the gear-effect relative to free-body impacts. The results demonstrate that shaft dynamics cannot be treated as negligible when evaluating driver impact mechanics.
Keywords: golf; multibody simulation; impact modelling; shaft; motion capture golf; multibody simulation; impact modelling; shaft; motion capture
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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McNally, W.; McPhee, J.; Henrikson, E. The Golf Shaft’s Influence on Clubhead-Ball Impact Dynamics. Proceedings 2018, 2, 245.

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