I get confused thinking about the physics of what golfers call a “bladed” shot, and I want you to too. In a classic bladed shot the leading (bottom) EDGE of the iron, usually a more lofted one, strikes the horizontal equator of the ball, which is way too high. In a normal shot the center of the FACE of the club strikes the ball.

Just before the ball is struck it is spherical, of course, and shortly after it is struck it loses contact with the club and decompresses, i.e., it returns to being spherical. But in between, for those few milliseconds, I’m quite sure the ball is deformed by the surface hitting it.

If I may idealize here, imagine a golf ball being struck, at a controlled speed and at and continuously parallel to its horizontal equator, by either a flat surface or a short rectangle. Assume the width and height of the flat striker are significantly larger than the ball’s. And assume that the width of the rectangular striker is significantly larger than the ball’s diameter but that the height is, let’s say, 10% of the height of the ball.

Assume that the strikers are of equal mass. And assume the strikers are incompressible but that the ball is not.

When I think about the physics during the moments of impact it seems to me that in the case of the planar striker the total force is spread out over a certain circular area at a certain number of pounds per square inch, whereas in the case of the more nearly linear striker that same force is spread out over a smaller, rectangular area but at a higher psi, with the result being the same total impelling power (area times psi) being applied with either shot. Experience, however, tells me the bladed shot goes farther.

Also, could it be that that the planar striker is in contact with the ball for a longer or shorter period than the rectangular one, in which case maybe you’d multiply area by psi by time?

I myself have never bladed a golf shot (and I’ve never told a lie), but I’ve seen it done many times by the guys I play with.

Under idealized circumstances, which striking surface will propel the ball farther, a 100% endless plane or a 10% edge?

Is this similar to whether you can kick a soccer ball farher with the toe of your foot or the top of it? If so, what’s the answer to that?

Thanks.

–JohnEGee, guest