Sport Science

Sorry, we are not accepting anymore questions.    Ask Us Sport Science



Return to Ask Us Sport! Science.

Check out
January 1998's winning question.

Check out
December's winning question.

Check out
November's winning question.

Check out October's
winning question
.

Check out August's
winning question
.

Check out July's winning question.

Don't forget to check our
Sports Science FAQ

Return to Sport! Science

 

What makes a golf ball slice?

Every golfer has experienced the problem of a golf ball slicing or hooking. The physical actions that create the "slice" or the "hook" occur in an instant. The club and ball are in contact for only about a half a thousandth of a second, or half a millisecond. That's not very long-it takes you 100 milliseconds to blink, 2000 times longer than the time the club and ball actually touch each other.

During the half a millisecond of contact, tiny differences in the direction the club face points can have an enormous impact on the ball's flight. At the moment of impact, suppose the club face is not exactly perpendicular to the direction in which the club head is moving. The resulting tilt will move the ball slightly across the club face during the collision, giving the ball sidespin and causing it to curve in flight. If, at the moment of impact,

the club face points to the left of the direction the club head itself is moving, the ball will hook to the left. If the club face points to the right of the club head's direction of motion, the ball will slice right.

It doesn't take much tilt to have noticeable effects. A misalignment of just one degree is enough to cause the ball to curve about seven or eight yards from a straight line by the end of a 200-yard drive. A tilt in club face direction of a mere three degrees will send the ball careening off into the rough at the side of the fairway. No one ever said golf was easy.


The hook/slice explanation from The Sporting Life book.



   ©1997 The Exploratorium