Computational modelling of the golf stroke
The golf stroke was computationally modelled using finite element analysis. Results for the impact between the club head and the ball compared well with previous research, both practical and theoretical. The results imply that for thick face club heads, such as irons, club head performance is independent of material stiffness but highly dependent on the friction of the interface and the clubhead geometry. The three ball flight predictors (speed, trajectory and spin rate) as a function of clubhead parameters are shown to be non-trivial. Acceptable models of impact could be achieved using rigid faces for thick face clubheads with the centre of mass and clubhead inertia accurately described. Results on ball construction effects imply that both the stiffness and mass distribution throughout the ball affect performance. The large deformations of the ball mean that classic rigid body mechanics cannot suffice in golf impact predictions. A model of the golf swing based on a double pendulum was constructed and shaft performance examined for various styles of golf swing. Shaft parameters thought to affect performance were quantitatively evaluated and results compared well with previous research. Increased club head speeds at impact were achieved with shafts of lighter weight or reduced bending stiffness for all styles of golf swing examined. The cause of bending forward of the shaft at impact was identified to occur from the large centrifugal forces acting on the head and the increased bending stiffness of the shaft also due to centrifugal force. On a detailed level shaft behaviour was affected by vibrations which appeared chaotic due to the changing stiffness of the system. This is expected to be less of an effect in an actual golf shot due to the damping provided by the human participant.