Golf ball/Baseball questions

WTF?!? :confused:

KarmaComa, what the hell are you talking about?

What are baseball bats designed to do?

Oh, I know. They were designed to fill those funny holes in the batracks - the whole hitting the ball thing was just a lucky coincidence!

Sheesh. :rolleyes:

The question is: What hits a golf ball farther, a golf club or a baseball bat?

Of course, kinetic energy and momentum have something to do with it:

In addition, though, when a golf ball is hit, potential energy is stored in the bending of the shaft of the club and the deformation of the ball. Then, as the swing is carried through, the ball and club spring apart, (hopefully) imparting extra velocity to the ball. There’s an optimum “springiness” for the club, not so stiff that it doesn’t deform, and not so springy that it takes too long to bounce back (“impedance matching”, it’s called). Since a baseball bat is not impedance matched to a golf ball, I’d be enormously surprised if a bat would propel a golf ball farther than a golf club could.

Well obviously baseball bats are designed to give the ball a nice whack. They design the bats to hit the ball as far as possible, keeping within league limitations. Baseball games would be ridiculous if major leaguers used aluminum bats. I should have said, “there are things that can hit a baseball further than a major league baseball bat”. You don’t see anyone using wooden golf clubs, do you? A pine shaft (or whatever wood they’re made of) is not the crowning achievement of human ballistics technology.

Sounds like Karmacoma is refering to the properties of a wooden bat compared to a metal bat. Wood compresses reducing the energy transferred to the ball.

Titanium drivers and metal bats don’t compress.

I wonder if a bat would transfer so much energy to a normal (dimpled) golf ball, its aerodynamics would become unstable making its flight inaccurate and unpredictable similar to a wiffle (sp?) ball.

sigh Pulled it again!

By the way, Zut is right about what he says.

The people you need to ask this question to are the people behind Balf.

“Balf” is a combination of BAseball and goLF. It is played on a golf course using a golf ball and a “Clat” (CLub/bAT). The ball is tossed into the air and hit with the club like a baseball. (BTW, Clats are actually manufactured by Louisville Slugger!)

I checked through their site and couldn’t find anything about distances, but I’m sure its there somewhere. You can find out all about Balf at .

“Sometimes I think the web is just a big plot to keep people like me away from normal society.” — Dilbert

Ugh, this has gotten convoluted, and alot of generally correct physics applications have been thrown out there some of which aren’t correct for the situation presented.

I’ll try and clarify as succinctly as possible.

First, about the flex of the shaft. This action has no effect on the actual impact of the golf ball. To explain, a golf club flexes an exceptional amount, and each club flexes differently depending on the swing of the golfer, material of the shaft and the length of the shaft. Now, it does contribute to the driving distance. More flex is not always better. The ideal flex condition is one where the club releases all its potential flexed energy at the precise moment before impact with the ball. A club with alot of flex will release that energy at the right time for a golfer with a slower swing. A stiff club will have less flex, but release at the correct time during a fast swing. So, two different clubs in the hands of two different golfers can result in having the same head speed at impact. A long driving golfer is one who has the swing acceleration to force a stiff shaft to flex alot, but still release at the correct point, coupled with a high overall swing speed. The idea of using a club with alot of flex could be bad if the golfer out swings the release of the club flex, causing it to release its potential enegry after the ball is impacted. In short, zut is incorrect. The stored potential energy is not transfered into the ball at impact. It releases its potential energy into swing speed. Ergo, if one is able to accurately deduce the swing speed at impact (as we must assume the mentioned technologies do) the club flex and potential energy has already been transfered into work and is included in the speed reading for a physics analysis.

Second, it is important to mention that neglecting air resistance a club w/ 45° loft and the same club head mass and shaft length will provide the longest drive. But since we aren’t dealing with a air-free environment, and the properly lofted clubs are shorter and weighted differently we can’t say what club would work ideally for a non-dimpled ball. It really is off topic anyways.

Third, wood is not an ideal material for impacting a ball. Golf clubs have stopped being made using it, and baseball bats would as well if you were to ignore MLB regs.

Fourth, a straight drive isn’t neccesarily going to be the longest. The reason being wind and roll. If we assume a still day, which we’ll need to do since the variety of effects on both baseballs and golf balls are too many to discuss, you can assume that a straight drive will be the best for air travel. A draw (slight hook) is ideal for the longest drive condition. The reason being the a draw imparts a slight top hand english onto the ball giving it a tendancy to roll after landing farther than a perfectly straight ball. This is however a razor edge depending on conditions because the amount of backspin effects flight distance. More is not always better. So we’ll neglect this effect for discussion.

Fifth, I have seen baseballs hit 800-900 feet quite often. Where? Well, Wrigley field of course. Often balls that leave the park (eg. beyond the bleachers) hit Sheffield Rd. and roll down Kenmore Avenue. I say this to make a point. We usually consider baseball distances based on strictly flight distance to a point higher than the altitude of impact. So, we rob the homerun hitters of a little distance that we grant golfers.

So from the OP: [list]
[li]We know the longest officially driven golf ball 412 yards[/li][li]To be discussed further[/li][li]Well, it depends on the athlete, but we’ll say some impressive batters manage 100mph, and some impressive golfers likely reach club head speeds (at the precise point of impact) of 125 mph. Neither of these speeds are average of course.[/li]
For point two, lets set some ground rules. We’re going to only consider flight distance, and ignore ground roll. So we’ll subtract 30-50 yds from your general drive. Two, we need to figure out if we want to discuss if the golf ball is pitched, or if its hit of a stationary tee. Or do we hit a pitch golf ball w/ the bat, and off a tee for the golf club?

Some things to consider. A bat is round, and a pefectly hit ball will recieve a higher impulse than a ball hit off a flat surface. A bat typically weighs 30-40 ozs, a golf club 10-15 ozs. The entire weight of the bat is not applied to the ball, only a percentage one can figure using the center of mass, the center of rotation and the parallel axis theorum. More TAM than I plan on doing.

Have at it.

tanstaafl said

I checked through their site and couldn’t find anything about distances, but I’m sure its there somewhere. {/quote]

I used their search engine and came up with a long drive of 225 yards.

“Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of predjudices.” Laurence J. Peter

Anyone else read this and think of people flying through the air? “Human ballistics?” Wheee! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the link to Balf - good legwork!

Omniscient (as far as the physics of golf and baseball are conserned):
Thanks for setting the record straight - that is the kind of analysis I was hoping for. Let’s invite in some more geeks to help you! Let’s hear it for the geeks!


KarmaComa mistakenly gives me a vote of confidence:

just before Omniscient correctly points out:

All of which is, of course, correct. Thanks for learnin’ me one, Omniscient.

Howcum everyone (other than one poster) ignored the biggest difference between hitting a golf ball and hitting a baseball–a baseball is moving! When you hit a baseball, you’ve got to expend some energy just cancelling its momentum towards you. This is bound to reduce the potential distance that a baseball can be hit.

A golf ball, on the other hand, is stationary. Apart from overcoming some small intertia, almost all the energy of the club swing is transmitted to the ball. Result–longer distance, EVEN IF THE CLUB IS MOVING AS SLOW AS A BASEBALL BAT.

Guy Propski,

There are three questions at the start of this thread.

  1. What is the record for greatest distance hit with a golf club?

Answer: 412 yds

Which will hit a golf ball further, a golf club or a baseball bat?

Answer: A golf club will hit a golf ball farther or golfers would use baseball bats.

Which is moving faster at point of impact, Sammy Sosa’s bat, or a Tiger Woods’ clubhead?

Answer: Tiger Woods clubhead

All the questions have been answered, and the fact that a baseball is moving when a baseball player hits it does not figure into the answer of any of them. Baseballs could be made of pudding and it would not change the answers to these questions as there are questions about baseball bats but not baseballs.

Am I supposed to believe that all this rain was suspended in mid-air until moments ago?

You’re right about me being wrong about you being right, zut. I skimmed this and mistook it for a reference to shaft flexing, not the impedence of the club head.

Lance–True, those are the questions, but as you’ll notice in the original poster’s preamble, he is pretty amazed that golf balls go farther than baseballs. Later posters came up with weak explanations, but only one poster (the currently smoke-free Satan) nailed it with the moving vs stationary arguement.

The stationary vs moving arguement also covers relative speed, rather than absolute (the real answer to question #3). A golf club head is moving much faster than baseball bat, especially relative to the object it’s hitting.

Guy, that reason is 100% wrong.

I garauntee very few MLB players could consistently hit baseballs out of the ballpark off a batting tee. The same is illustrated in Home Run Derbys where the balls are pitched at very slow speeds, the hitters are able to take full out swings and still cannot match the distance of the typical game condition homerun. Those game situation hits are frequently w/ controlled swings on breaking pitches and mediocre contact, yet they still clear the fence.

The point I’m belaboring is that an object moving towards the batter will ~double its energy output when struck. The physics are as follows, that speed of the ball is kinetic energy. The kinetic energy of the bat works in the opposite direction. When they meet, the ball deforms around the bat (and the bat around the ball to a lesser extent) in a amount reflecting the sum of those two energies. While deformed the two velocities energy combine into potetial energy. That potential energy is transfered into the ball. You see the ball speed doesn’t cancel the energy of the bat, it adds to it.

Omniscient is right!

I had a gut feel that the pitch speed adds to the distance, but then I came up with a thought experiment that clinched it.

Imagine throwing a baseball at a wall, wanting it to bounce off of the wall the greatest distance. You’d throw it as hard as you could. Now imagine that the wall is coming at you at 50 mph. You’d still want to throw it as hard as you could. Now imagine that the wall is shaped like a bat, and is moving at 80 mph. Same thing. The speed of the pitch increases the distance.

Now if I can just convince my golf buddies to stand near the ladies’ tee and pitch golf balls to me.

I’ve always been told that in baseball “the faster it comes in, the faster it goes out”. In particular, that most home runs are hit off of fastballs.

Omniscient, et al–I stand corrected. Thanks for the well explained information. I was guilty of trying to intuit the answer, rather that research it.