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

A scientific breakdown of the mysteries of golf. John Zumerchik has taken the time to ponder, explore and explain to us the endless details that make golf such a maddening, fascinating, tantalizing pursuit. He breaks down the subject as follows: 1. How Tough is This Game? 2. The Physics of the Sweet Swing; 3. The influence of Mind Over Muscle; 4. Getting the Ball from Here to There using spin, lift, gravity and launch angles; 5. Deciding which Equipment; 6. How to keep playing well as your body Ages and understand Injuries; 7. The role of Probability and Statistics With a firm grasp of both his subject and his seven-iron, Zumerchik takes the reader through all these topics and more, in an entertaining and enlightening work that crosses the questing appeal of Golf in the Kingdom with the coherence and clarity of popular science works from Cosmos to Chaos.

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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 Macmillan Encyclopedia of Sports Science (1997), a two-volume reference work covering the physiology and physics of sports as well as the physics of sports injuries. (Though listed as editor, he authored or rewrote over half the entries.) He is also 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.

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