Newton on the Tee: A Good Walk Through the Science of Golf

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9780743212144: Newton on the Tee: A Good Walk Through the Science of Golf
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Like no other sport, golf obsesses those poor souls who hope to master its subtleties and abundant complexities. One shot is hit like a dream, the next a nightmare. As a result, the game's disciples have embraced any and all techniques endorsed by pros and hackers, poets and philosophers (these days a good walk is often spoiled by tripping over a sandtrap's worth of Zen meditations and mystical tomes). But while so many have journeyed through golf's metaphysics, no one has presented a readable, compelling look at the science of the game -- until now.

In Newton on the Tee, accomplished science writer John Zumerchik examines, explores, and explains to us the endless details that make golf such a tantalizing pursuit. Written in language accessible to even the most scientifically disinclined, Zumerchik's book delves into areas of supreme importance to every golfer, including:

The Physics of the Sweet Swing: The universal principles shared by all those rhythmic and well-timed swings you see on TV but not in the mirror

Mind Over Muscle: How the brain affects and controls the movements of the body (and why confidence is the golfer's most indispensable tool)

Getting the Ball from Here to There: Decoding the vagaries of launch angles, spin, lift, and gravity that make the difference between walking happily down the fairway and tramping into the bunkers

Probability and Statistics: Understanding the mathematics of golf, and a by-the-numbers appraisal of golf's greatest legends

With a firm grasp of both his subject and his 7-iron, Zumerchik takes the reader through all these topics and more, in an entertaining and enlightening work that will give every golfer something to chew on besides his or her nails, and make clear and comprehensible the hundred-and-thirty-five things you shouldn't think about during your backswing.

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Review:

A lively, accessible discussion of the physics of golf, John Zumerchik's Newton on the Tee is, to players at all levels of ability, at once a beacon of hope and a shoal of despair. It assumes what golfers already know--that it is a damnably difficult game--and proceeds to tell them why. For instance, the allowable angle of lateral error (pushing the ball left or right) of a 160-yard shot "can be measured in the one one-thousandth of a degree range," compared with that of a basketball free throw, which is 1.5 degrees. Zumerchik also explains why dimpled balls (hit equally) will travel two times farther than smooth, nondimpled ones, and casts a cocked eye at the advantage "reading the grain" of greens has long been supposed to bring. He discusses the two schools of thought regarding clubhead acceleration and succinctly explains how and to what degree altitude, latitude, moisture, and air temperature affect ball flight. He includes a chapter on physical conditioning--what might help, what might not, and why--and, dishearteningly, one on the aging process and its attendant decline in playing ability. Newton on the Tee is free of the cant found in most golf books--either instructional or meditative--and dispels many (but not all) claims of equipment makers. This is a delightful and trustworthy book which, if nothing else, will ground golfers' time-honored tradition of excuse making in solid, irreproachable science. --H. O'Billovich

About the Author:

John Zumerchik was an editor for the Encyclopedia of Sports Science, a two-volume reference work covering the physiology and physics of sports as well as the physics of sports injuries, and is serving the dual role of author/ editor for the three-volume Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy. He previously served as a senior editor of the American Institute of Physics, and as a physics, forestry, and geology editor for the college division of McGraw-Hill. He lives in New York.

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9781416541295: Newton on the Tee: A Good Walk Through the Science of Golf

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ISBN 10:  1416541292 ISBN 13:  9781416541295
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2008
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