Maximising Club Performance & Aesthetics

To ensure consistency throughout the world, golf’s ruling bodies have determined rules which set a uniform standard for the “spring-like” effect in driving clubs. What this means for equipment manufacturers is that they must develop their products to meet the appropriate standards while maximizing performance and be pleasing in the eyes of the consumers. The United States Golf Association (USGA) Rules of Golf state that clubs must conform to guidelines including the “coefficient of restitution” (COR). This limits golf clubs to have a COR less than 0.830. Increasing COR will increase the ball’s initial rebound velocity. Thus, the golf shot should travel farther.

The objective was to obtain the maximum possible Cofficient of Restitution (COR) for a new club head while maintaining a mass of 200g and keeping club head stress levels at or below pre-defined limits. To achieve this, a program of analytical optimization techniques more commonly found in the aerospace or automotive markets were employed by Altair ProductDesign.

During the study, three different shape variables for the optimization process were defined for the club head: longer in the toe-to-heel sense, wider in the face-to-back sense and taller. In addition, 10 size variables were defined in the optimization problem. The club face was divided up into five regions in a bulls-eye pattern while the remainder of the club head was divided into five other regions. All regions were defined as optimization variables and run through Altair's own optimization software, HyperStudy, with the results interpreted by Altair ProductDesign's engineering team.

The combination of shape and size optimization by Altair ProductDesign greatly enhanced the COR of the new club resulting in a golf ball that travels farther while maintaining a good golf head shape that remains consistent with club standards. By implementing virtual design concepts and optimization techniques in the concept design stage enabled the client to save development time and money in the downstream prototype build and test phases.

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