Science of Golf Lecture

Steve OttoThe Science of Golf was explored in a public lecture given by Dr Steve Otto of The R&A at the Edinburgh Science Festival at the weekend.

More than 150 people attended the event at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The lecture, entitled ‘The Science of Golf from Tee to Green’, looked at the golf swing and what happens at impact when the golf ball accelerates from zero to 180 miles per hour in less than 1,000th of a second. In that time, where the ball will land has already been determined by the parameters of spin, velocity and the dimple pattern on the ball itself.

The 90 minute presentation, including a questions and answers session, exploded many of the myths that have entered the golf commentators' lexicon and festival goers were educated and entertained in equal measure.

Dr Otto a mathematician and former staff scientist at NASA, included video content in his presentation specially recorded at Muirfield ahead of the 2013 Open Championship. He said, “Even the best golfers in the world may not fully understand the details of striking a golf ball and there are many common myths and misconceptions surrounding the process. Golf is a fascinating game and people are always curious about the golf swing. It is interesting to explore some of the myths surrounding it and show what actually happens when a golfer hits a golf ball.”

Simon Gage, the Edinburgh Science Festival Director, welcomed Dr Otto to the anniversary edition of the world's longest running science festival. At the end of the lecture the audience had the opportunity to have their picture taken with the famous Claret Jug, The Open Championship trophy.
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