To Accelerate or Not To Accelerate? That is the question.

Accelerate, push the ball to the hole, or not?  That has been a question in golf for quite some time.  There are even steel training golf balls which requite a lot of force to move the ball.  Let’s take a look at this concept closer.

Acceleration example: Now let’s say your goal was to hit 7.5mph (Green Circle) but your concept is to accelerate through the ball. Your putter would be speeding up to and through impact to an unknown speed.  You could catch the ball anywhere around that speed that the blue arrows point to.  This makes it more difficult to have the same speed at impact.

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Using Capto to measure a stroke that is speeding up through impact looks like the below graph.  The right side of the graph where the orange line is impact.  In this example the putter was accelerating 8.3 ft/s^2 on the way to the top of the curve where it is accelerating 0.  The orange line to the right side of the Capto graph is impact.


As the putter collides with the ball it takes energy and speed away form the putter.  I went ahead and drew the top of the curve in the below graph.  You can see the putter ran into the ball on the way up the curve as it was still gathering speed like the illustration 2 images above.  On the bottom of the image it also shows you the length of the backstroke vs follow through.  This one was short to long due to needing more speed to get the ball to the hole.


Now a 0 Acceleration Example:  Let’s say your goal was to create 10 mph of speed with the putter at impact (Green Circle).  If your stroke is setup to catch the ball around the 0 acceleration point your chances will be closer to that mark.  You can catch it at any of the blue arrows and it will be between 9 and 10 mph.

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In this example below using Capto the acceleration was near 0 (actually slowing down slightly).  That means the speed was just after max speed for the given stroke.  You would have 1 time the putter hit 10mph, 2 chances to hit 9.9mph, 2 chances to hit 9.8, etc..


In the below speed graph from Capto you can see the putter was not accelerating but starting to slow down slightly at -0.1mph.  The result the putter collided with the ball at the top of the curve when the putter was traveling 3.7mph.


I will leave you with this last through.  If you were asked to run your car into a wall at exactly 10 miles per hour would you get close to the wall and smash the gas or would you start further back, speed up to 5mph just before the wall, then coast into the wall?  Your call.