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Complexity level:
5
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 hour for preparation , 1 day for science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found at a sports store/golf pro-shop
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements
 

Abstract

This science fair project aims e to find out if a balanced golf ball is easier to putt.

Hypothesis

The balanced golf ball does not produce better putt results compared to unbalanced golf balls.
 

Background

Golf ball and balance

Many golf balls which you can buy off a shelf at a pro-shop or sports store, are in fact, out of balance. On smooth greens, a balanced golf ball theoretically should be easier to putt, producing consistent results. Golf balls produced today are of a much higher quality than those produced a decade ago. They are mostly well balanced, but we wont know precisely which of the balls in a brand new box are balanced and which aren't.

Due to manufacturing variances, it is inevitable that some golf balls will not be not properly balanced.  Although the consistent production of perfectly balanced golf balls is almost impossible to achieve, there  are devices such as the Check-Go that helps to locate the  optimum balance point of each golf ball. This device will spin the ball at 10,000 revolutions per minute for about 20 seconds until the ball settles down at a balanced position. A line is then drawn along the equator of the ball when it is in its  balanced position. Every ball has a  different balancingposition.
 

Scientific Terms

Variances, tolerances, balance point, equator, golf, putt

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project are:

-    5 amateur golf players
-    1 practice putting green
-    20 golf balls of the same brand and model
-    5 golf putters
-    1 beaker filled with water
-    1 pack of salt
-    1 marker pen
-    1 measuring tape

Procedure

1.    The independent variable of this science fair project is the condition of the golf ball – golf balls  with a known balance point and those without. The dependent variable is the number of successful putts  taken. This is determined by counting the number of times the golf ball enters the hole. The constants (control variables) are the skill of each golfer, the distance of the putt from the hole and the condition of the green.

2.    Randomly separate the golf balls  into 2 groups of ten balls each. The first group of balls will be used as they are. Test the 2nd group of balls  to find out their balance points.
Fill the beaker  with water. Place one golf ball from the second group into the beaker. Add salt into the water in the beaker till the golf ball floats. Spin the golf ball in the water.

3.     Mark the exposed surface of the golf ball with a black dot when the golf ball has stopped spinning. The heavier half of the golf ball will be submerged in water whereas the lighter half of the golf ball will be exposed. Test the remaining 9 golf balls using the same described method.   Putt the golf balls into a hole 2 meters away.

4.     Each of the 5 golfers will execute 20 putts. Ten putts will be done using the unmarked golf balls in the first group while another 10 putts will be made using the marked golf balls from the second group. The putts using marked golf balls from the 2nd group are taken with  the marked dot facing upwards.

5.     Record the number of successful putts by each golfer in the table provided below.
 

Observation

The total successful putts using the  golf balls whose balance points are unknown were comparable to the golf balls whose balance points are known.
 

Golf ball used Number of successful putts out of 10 Total successful putts
1 1 2 3 4 5
Unknown 7 8 7 9 8 39
Balanced 8 9 7 8 8 40

 

Conclusion

The hypothesis that a balanced golf ball does not produce better putt results compared to an unbalanced golf ball is proven to be true.

Experts argue that one of the reasons why most putts are missed is because  more emphasis has always been given to improving the aerodynamics of the ball in order to increase its  flight distance and consistency compared to achieving better balance of the ball. However, this argument may not be valid, given the results of our experiment.
 

Also consider

The science fair project can be repeated by varying the brands or types of golf balls

Also, try varying the distance from which the golf balls are being shot. You might also consider repeating the experiment, this time using the Check-Go to find the balance point for each golf ball.

Ascertain if the manufacturers claims are indeed valid.
 

References

Golf ball seams and balance - http://www.drputt.com/deardrputt/BalanceSeams.htm

Golf ball balancing: soaking method - http://www.thegolfchannel.com/golf-lessons/golf-ball-balancing-soaking-method/4/

The perfectly balanced ball - http://clubmaker-online.com/article_1.htm
 

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