An overview of the application of physics to the game of golf is given. The golf swing is modelled as a double pendulum. This model and its variations have been used extensively by researchers in determining the effect that various swing parameters have on clubhead speed. These results as well as examples of three-link models are discussed. Kinematic and kinetic measurements taken on the recorded downswings of golfers as well as force measurements are reviewed. These measurements highlight differences between the swings of skilled and unskilled golfers.
Several aspects of the behaviour of a golf ball are examined. Measurements and models of the impact of golf balls with barriers are reviewed. Such measurements have allowed researchers to determine the effect that different golf ball constructions have on their launch parameters. The launch parameters determine not only the length of the golf shot but also the behaviour of the golf ball on impact with the turf. The effect of dimples on the aerodynamics of a golf ball and the length of the golf shot is discussed. Models of the bounce and roll of a golf ball after impact with the turf as well as models of the motion of a putted ball are presented.
Researchers have measured and modelled the behaviour of both the shaft and the clubhead during the downswing and at impact. The effect that clubhead mass and loft as well as the shaft length and mass have on the length of a golf shot are considered. Models and measurements of the flexing of the shaft as well as research into the flexing of the clubface and the effects of its surface roughness are presented. An important consideration in clubhead design is its behaviour during off-centre impacts. In line with this, the effects that the curvature of a clubface and the moments of inertia of the clubhead have on the launch parameters and trajectory of an off-centred impacted golf ball are examined.