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Are Pricier Golf Balls Better?

based on 16 ratings
Author: Kimberly Hutmacher

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Physics

Objective:

This project determines if more expensive golf balls translate to better results on the golf course.

Research Questions:

  • How does the initial launch angle affect the distance of a drive?
  • How does the initial launch speed affect the distance of a drive?
  • How does the initial spin affect the distance of a drive?

Materials:

  • Golf club (driver)
  • Three golf balls at different price points
  • Golf tees
  • A large open area for hitting the balls
  • Yard stick or long measuring tape for measuring the distance of each drive
  • Pen and/or pencil
  • Lab notebook

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Research different types of golf balls and the claims that each manufacturer makes for each kind of ball. Choose three balls to test at three different price points. Use a dozen of each type of ball for your experiment.
  2. Set up in the center at one end of your large open area.
  3. Use the same club for every shot. Alternate between the three balls for every shot. Your shot is bound to vary a bit, so it's important that you attempt several shots in order to get the most accurate results. Shoot at least ten shots per ball.
  4. Measure the distance and accuracy (deviation in degrees from a straight away shot) of each shot. Record your results. Note: Wind speed can affect accuracy, so be sure to record wind speed as well.
  5. Analyze your results. Calculate the average flight distance for each kind of ball tested. Calculate the average amount of deviation from a straight line shot (hook, slice, etc.) for each kind of ball tested. Calculate the standard deviation for the flight distance and the amount of hook or slice for each kind of ball tested. Record all of your results. You can graph your results to illustrate the differences between each ball's performance.
  6. Which ball performed best? Worst? Were there any surprises?

Terms/Concepts: types of golf balls: two-piece, three-piece, etc.; momentum, deviation, slice, hook, distance, accuracy, projectile motions

References:

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