Golf Basics

Physics of a golf shot

A golf ball acquires spin when it is hit. Backspin is imparted in almost every shot due to the golf club's loft (i.e., angle between the clubface and a vertical plane). A spinning ball deforms the flow of air around it [3] and thereby acts similar to an airplane wing; a back-spinning ball therefore experiences an upward force which makes it fly higher and longer than a ball without spin would. The amount of backspin also influences the behavior of a ball when it hits the ground. A ball with little backspin will usually roll out for a considerable distance while a ball with much backspin may not roll at all or in some cases even roll backwards. Sidespin occurs when the clubface is not aligned perpendicularly to the plane of swing. Sidespin makes the ball curve to the left or right, a hook or slice respectively for a right-handed player; this effect can be made use of to steer it around obstacles or towards the safe side of a difficult fairway. However, it is difficult to control the amount of sidespin, and many poor shots result from uncontrolled or excessive spin that makes the ball curve sharply.

A Golf Driver(Wood) imparts side spin on a ball at inpact(and hence this is why you get so much curve with the woods) whereas a iron imparts backspin onto a ball, advanced players actually "hit down" on the ball (approx half-way down the ball in effect squeezing the ball between the club and turf) which causes increased spin and the "spin back" shot-where the ball lands on the green and spins back.

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