Global Edition

The physics of golf

9.00am 7th February 2003 - People

HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has been learning how to improve his golfing skills following a visit to Bristol based Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP)

During his visit, the Prince was shown articles from the Institute’s on-line archive, his favourite being “The physics of golf” by A Raymond Penner, published in Reports on Progress in Physics in December 2002.

This article highlights many ways in which physics is applied to golf – for instance how you can tell the difference between skilled and unskilled golfers by taking measurements of their downswings. The Prince was so interested in this paper that he took a copy away with him!

On hearing about Prince Andrew’s interest in the article, Professor Penner said, “I am thrilled to see that my insights into the physics of golf are being taken on board by Prince Andrew. I hope he finds it useful the next time he plays!”

Michael Bray, financial director of IOPP, who accompanied the Prince on his tour of the company is also a golf enthusiast and is extremely proud that the Institute has been able to help the Prince, who will become Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in September this year.

“The physics of golf” reviews the work that has been carried out on the physics of the swing, the golf ball, and the golf club. It includes diagrams of the ‘double pendulum‘ model of the golf swing. For an electronic copy of diagrams and the full article “The physics of golf” by A Raymond Penner, Reports on Progress In Physics, Vol. 66, February 2003, 131-171, please contact Michelle Cain, Corporate Communications Officer, tel. +44 (0) 20 7470 4869, e-mail

Institute of Physics

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