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Does a Golf Ball's Bounciness Influence the Distance it Will Travel?

based on 8 ratings
Author: Julianne Blair Bochinski

Purpose

To determine whether the ability of a golf ball to bounce has any relationship to the distance it travels when hit by a golf club.

Materials Needed

  • 24 golf balls (3 each of 8 different brands)
  • marking pen
  • tape measure
  • screwdriver
  • screws
  • 32-by-4-inch (5-by-IO-cm) wood sections
  • saw (use with an adult's help)
  • 36-by-36-inch (90-by-90-cm) plywood section that is ¾ inch thick
  • 2 eye-lag bolts
  • sheet rock screws
  • 2 ¾-inch (1.9-cm) plywood sections for corner hinge support and club support
  • metal door hinge
  • 4-iron gold club head with shortened shaft
  • metal door spring ¾ inch (1.9 em) in diameter and 6 inches (15 em) in length
  • golf tees
  • an adult
  • a helper

Experiment

A number of golf balls will be tested to determine the height of their bounce when dropped on a hard surface from a set height. Then, the same balls will be hit with the striking mechanism, and the distance to the first bounce of each ball will be measured to determine if the ball that bounces the highest is the one that travels the farthest.

Procedure

Part I—Conduct the bounce test.

  1. Group all golf balls by brand name and number each with a marking pen.
  2. Select a reference height over a hard surface. A good location would be a brick or cement wall that runs along a cemented or paved surface. Secure the tape measure at the base of the wall and tape it vertically.
  3. Have your helper sit on top of the wall, place a golf ball on the edge, and roll it until it drops onto the hard surface. Measure the height of the first bounce against your measuring tape and record your reading. Repeat this step five times with the same ball as well as with different balls of the same brand. Average the bounce heights to obtain a single value for the brand name. Repeat until all of the golf balls have been tested.

Part II—Build the golf ball striking mechanism.

  1. Screw one of the 2-by-4-inch wood sections perpendicular to the tops of the other two to form the mechanism's frame. With the adult's help, saw the large plywood section into three parts to form the base and side panels for the mechanism (see diagram).
  2. From one of the ¾-inch plywood sections, cut a corner hinge support and attach it to the upper left corner of the mechanism, as shown in the diagram. From the other ¾-inch plywood section, cut a section for mounting the golf club, as shown in the diagram. Attach the door hinge to the club mount section, and secure the 4-iron club head with the shortened shaft. Attach this unit to the corner hinge support, and connect the door spring (see diagram).
  3. Position the springed club in its resting position, and align it with a golf tee set on the base.
  4. Striking Mechanism Machine 

Part III—Conduct the distance test.

  1. Transport the golf ball striking mechanism to an open outdoor area such as a playing field or park. Firmly anchor the mechanism to the ground if possible.
  2. Place one of the golf balls on the golf tee inside the mechanism, and pull the club unit back to its maximum position and release. Note the exact location where the ball first lands, and measure the distance it traveled. Repeat this step five times with the same ball as well as with different balls of the same brand. Average the distances to obtain a single value for the brand name. Repeat until all of the golf balls have been tested.

Results

  1. Did all of the golf balls of the same brand have the same bounce heights? If not, what variables may have accounted for different results?
  2. Did all of the golf balls of the same brand travel the same distance? If not, what variables may have accounted for different results?
  3. How did all of the brands compare in the bounce test? In the distance test? Does there appear to be a difference in the construction of each golf ball?
  4. Which ball bounced the highest? Traveled the farthest? Did the ball that bounced the highest travel the farthest?
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