Sports Engineering

, 22:12 | Cite as

Experimental study of drag reduction on a golf driver club using discrete surface elements

  • Lance W. TraubEmail author
  • Anthony Munson
  • Justin McBurney
Original Article


A low-speed wind tunnel investigation is presented documenting drag reduction to a golf driver club. Geometrical modifications (or elements) were attached to the golf driver. The size, spacing, and location of the elements were varied. Wind tunnel velocities spanned a range from the amateur to professional golfer. Measurements included both force balance and surface pressure accompanied by flow visualization to aid in flow diagnostics. The results indicated that a 40% reduction in drag can be achieved, primarily due to reduced pressure over the forward face of the crown and increased pressure over the crown’s aft extents. This reduction in drag was estimated to yield a 0.54 m/s (1.2 mph) club head speed gain, causing a 3.65 m (4 yds) increase in carry distance.

List of symbols


Drag coefficient, \({C_{\text{D}}}=D/(0.5\rho {V^2}{S_{{\text{ref}}}})\)


Down force coefficient, \({C_{{\text{DF}}}}={\text{DF}}/(0.5\rho {V^2}{S_{{\text{ref}}}})\)


Pressure coefficient, \({C_{\text{P}}}=(P - {P_\infty })/(0.5\rho {V^2})\)


Diameter of disturbance element


Drag force


Down force


Height of disturbance element


Static pressure


Freestream static pressure


Spacing between disturbance elements


Coefficient reference area




Co-ordinate in the free stream direction


Air density



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Copyright information

© International Sports Engineering Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aerospace Engineering DepartmentEmbry Riddle Aeronautical UniversityPrescottUSA
  2. 2.Aerospace Engineering DepartmentEmbry Riddle Aeronautical UniversityPrescottUSA
  3. 3.Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIOHuntington BeachUSA

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