Global Edition

Science Festival Gets to Grips with Physics of the Game

12.30am 14th March 2013 - Management Topics

Dr Steve Otto
Dr Steve Otto

The science of golf will be explored at a special lecture at the Edinburgh Science Festival later this month. Former NASA scientist Dr Steve Otto, who is now the Director of Research and Testing at golf’s world governing body The R&A, will give a fascinating public lecture about the fundamental physics of golf and discuss current research insights into shaft dynamics, metallurgy and ball construction. Video evidence to support Dr Otto’s lecture has been specially commissioned for the Edinburgh International Science Festival with on-course elements recorded at Muirfield, this year’s Open Championship venue.

Dr Otto’s lecture, entitled ‘The Science of Golf from Tee to Green’, describes the players’ swing and how at impact 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.

“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,” said Dr Otto.

“Golf is a fascinating game and people are always curious about the golf swing. In this lecture I will explore some of these myths surrounding it and show what actually happens when a golfer hits a golf ball.”

The lecture takes place in the National Museum of Scotland at 17.30 on Saturday 30 March 2013 and includes a question and answer session at the end. Tickets are available online at

The Open Championship will take place at Muirfield from 14-21 July 2013. For more information visit

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