Golf Ball Physics Simulation

Technologies used:

Project completed: ✓

My dissertation was written between October 2011 and May 2012, it achieved a mark of 81%.  The goal of the project was to construct a physical based model of a golf ball in motion, which involved accurately simulating all the important forces acting upon a moving ball. These forces included drag, lift, gravity and wind. The project was very time consuming as it required a substantial amount of research and testing.

Forces acting upon a golf ball in flight.

To achieve any degree of accuracy, the simulator would need to apply each of the above forces during the ball’s flight. Over the course of the year I implemented each of these forces and found the simulated shots becoming closer and closer to the real life data I had gathered. Eventually it reached the point where the majority of the shots I tested were just a few metres out, as you can see from the video above.

There are exceptions to the accuracy of my simulation. Balls that have an exceptionally high spin rate or an extreme spin axis (such as in the case of a hook or a slice) fall short of the expected target. This is a result of the way the lift and drag forces are calculated, which pull from empirical data sets to determine the appropriate lift and drag coefficients needed for the calculation. These data sets are limited to the range of typical golf drives, and are unsuitable for more extreme shots.


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