Apparatus and test methods for measuring the impact of golf balls on turf and their application in the field
An apparatus was developed to project spinning golf balls directly onto golf greens. This employed a modified baseball/practice machine with two counter-rotating pneumatic wheels. The speed of the wheels could be varied independently allowing backspin to be given to the ball. The ball was projected into a darkened enclosure where the motion of the ball before and after impacting with the turf was recorded using a still camera and a stroboscope. The resulting photographs contained successive images of the ball on a single frame of film. The apparatus was tested on eighteen golf courses resulting in 721 photographs of impacts. Statistical analysis was carried out on the results of the photographs and from this, two types of green emerged. On the first, the ball tended to rebound with topspin, while on the second, the ball retained backspin after impact if the initial backspin was greater than about 350 rads-1. Eleven tests were devised to determine the characteristics of greens and statistical techniques were used to analyse the relationships between these tests. These showed the effects of the green characteristics on ball/turf impacts. It was found that the ball retained backspin on greens that were freely drained and had less than 60% of Poa annua (annual meadow grass) in their swards. Visco-elastic models were used to simulate the impact of the ball with the turf. Impacts were simulated by considering the ball to be rigid and the turf to be a two layered system consisting of springs and dampers. The model showed good agreement with experiment and was used to simulate impacts from two different shots onto two contrasting types of green.