Golf Club Dynamics Studied with the MPV-800 Multipoint Vibrometer

Golf clubs come in a variety of different types. Drivers are designed to generate distance, wedges to lift the ball out of difficult situations, and putters to gently place the ball in the hole. Golf club manufacturers are constantly pushing the technology in all of their clubs to achieve an edge over their competition with new designs that need to be experimentally analyzed and verified. One critical feature of a golf club is how it responds when the club impacts the ball. This response will affect the movement of the ball and the feel in the hands of the golfer. 

Polytec’s Multipoint Vibrometer (MPV-800) is an instrument that captures dynamic response data simultaneously at up to 48 points using lasers. Vibration can be captured at 48 discrete locations in 1D mode, or up to 16 points for resolving the complete 3D motion.  

The MPV-800 will measure the response to a single transient event, such as a golf ball impacting the head of a golf club.  Some clubs are more forgiving than others, so that exact point of impact can affect its response and a small deviation may change how that club responds; therefore, it is important to strike the club only once and to capture data simultaneously.  In our example we measured on the shaft, but this measurement can also be performed easily on the club head. We tested a 9-iron and a putter with the MPV-800 system. The results can be seen in our PowerPoint presentation.

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