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The use of force to move an object; Work = Force × Distance.

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Putting Power

Putting Power

Credit: Laura Guerin
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Whether the golfer is a professional athlete or a mini putter, the same principles of physics explain the game. It may not look like work, but the golfer does work with each putt.

The Back Story

  • Why is playing golf work? It’s because work is the application of force over a distance. A golfer uses a club to apply force to a golf ball over a distance. The greater the force or the longer the distance over which it is applied, the more work that is done.
  • The rate at which the work is done is measured by power. The less time the head of the golf club is in contact with the ball, the more power must be applied to the ball to do the same amount of work.
  • Credit: Fort Carson
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortcarson/5190801348/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    If you want to increase the work done on the ball, is it better to hit with more power or to increase the time the club is in contact with the ball? [Figure2]


  • You can see how work and power are measured in golf by watching this video: http://www.nbclearn.com/science-of-golf/cuecard/64725

Can You Apply It?

Learn more about work and power at the link below. Then answer the following questions.

  1. How is work defined in physics? How is it calculated?
  2. Assume that a golfer applies 100 Newtons of force to a ball with her putter and the head of the putter is in contact with the ball over a distance of 0.001 meters. How much work is done on the ball?
  3. How is power defined in physics? How is it calculated?
  4. Assume that the amount of work done on the golf ball in question 2 occurs over a period of 0.001 seconds. How much power is applied to the ball?
  5. Another golfer applies a force of 90 N to a golf ball over a distance of 0.002 m. The head of the club is in contact with the ball for 0.002 s. How much work is done on the ball? What is the power of this work?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Laura Guerin; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Fort Carson; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortcarson/5190801348/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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