Optimization of clubhead loft and swing elevation angles for maximum distance of a golf drive


This paper presents a study on the optimization of loft and swing elevation angles on the impact between the clubhead of a driver and a golfball in order to maximize the distance of a drive. Computer programs were written to simulate the collision between the golfball and clubhead as well as the golfball in flight. A general, three-dimensional impact model using principles of momentum conservation on rigid bodies was used to simulate the impact between the golfball and clubhead to extract the spin and velocity vectors of the ball after impact. An aerodynamic model was then used to simulate ball flight in order to obtain the landing position of the ball. The results of the golfball landing positions generated by the computer simulations were compared to experimental data of golfball landing positions of shots hit by the golfing robot 'Iron Byron'. The computer models were then used to calculate the optimal loft and swing elevation angles for a particular swing speed, clubhead mass, and golfball aerodynamic properties by making use of a nonlinear optimization routine. Also, the relationship between the maximizing distance for various driver loft angles and swing elevation angles is discussed. © 1994.

Publication Title

Computers and Structures