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# What is friction in golf?

Updated: 12/24/2022

Wiki User

9y ago

What is friction in Golf? This seems like a simple question on the surface (pun intended). Deep down, it is a very, very complex question which could have numerous answers and explanations.
To understand how friction factors into golf, an understanding of friction is necessary. Friction generally refers to the physical resistance between objects in motion which come in contact with each other. Each object will have a direct effect on the motion, or ability to move, of the other object.

Friction plays a big part on how golf is played, and on how the equipment performs. Here are a few of the major elements of the game in which friction plays a large role.

Ball Flight

There is friction when a golf ball travels though the air. This friction occurs between the surface of the golf ball, and the particles which make up the air it is traveling through. Air which is thicker or more dense provides more resistance to the golf ball through friction. This resistance causes the ball to travel shorter distances. More moisture in the air means more resistance and an even shorter ball flight. Air density is affected by gravity. Farther from the earthÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s surface gravity is lessened, resulting in thinner air. Thinner air provides less friction and resistance, resulting in the ball traveling farther. Because of the differences in air density due to altitude, the golf ball generally flies shorter closer to sea level.

Ball Roll

Once a ball hits the ground there is considerably more resistance and friction. This friction occurs between the surface of the golf ball and the ground. Because the ground causes far more friction and resistance than the air, a golf ball will travel a considerably longer distance airborne than it would rolling on the ground.

The makeup of the ground where the ball is rolling can have varying levels of friction. For instance a sand trap would have more friction than a tightly mowed grassy area. That friction prevents the ball from travelling very far, which is why most shots which land in sand traps tend to stay in them and not bounce out.

Similarly, longer grass produces far more friction than shorter grass. The ball will travel shorter distances in longer grass because of the increased resistance and friction.

Club-Ball Friction

For the split second that the golf club comes in contact with the golf ball at impact, there is a tremendous amount of friction. Impact friction is an interaction between the golf ballÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s surface and the face of the golf club.

When a golf club strikes a golf ball, this friction and resistance can greatly affect the flight of the ball due to the amount of spin imparted on the ball. For instance, a club glancing across the ball will create a side-spin, due to the friction and interaction between the club and the ball. That side-spin can cause the ball to curve in a particular direction, depending on the angle that the club cut across the ball. This is how draws (slight curves from right-to-left for right-handed players), fades (slight curves from left-to-right for right handed players), hooks (large curves from right-to-left for right-handed players), and slices (large curves from left-to-right for right-handed players) are produced.

Wiki User

9y ago

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Q: What is friction in golf?