How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 10

If a projectile released or hit at a 45° angle above horizontal should go the farthest, then why, in the game of golf, does the three iron (20° loft) hit a golf ball so much farther in the air than, say, a seven iron (approximately 45° loft) if the same technique and force are produced by the golfer? Is it backspin, shaft length, etc.?
It's backspin! Air pushes the spinning ball upward and it flies downfield in much the same way as a glider. When you throw a glider for distance, you concentrate your efforts on making it move horizontally because the air will help to keep the glider from hitting the ground too soon. Similarly, the air holds the spinning golf ball up for a remarkably long time so that giving the ball lots of downfield speed is most important for its distance. That's why a low-loft club like a three iron sends the ball so far.

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