In the world of golf, players are always looking for ways to improve their game, and equipment manufacturers are always looking for ways to give their customers an edge. Cleveland Golf / Srixon, an internationally recognized maker of golf clubs with a strong tradition of innovation, wanted to explore ways to increase the performance of their drivers. Their engineers turned to MapleSim, a physical modeling and simulation tool from Maplesoft, to help them in this project.
In particular, Cleveland Golf / Srixon wanted to investigate and understand the effect of different club weights and club lengths on the performance of the driver. A key focus for them was to understand how the flexibility of the shaft in both bending and torsion needed to be optimized for different club weights and lengths. The engineers were looking for a good, efficient model which would allow them to explore the effects of different shaft designs on club performance.
With the help of Dr. John McPhee, NSERC Industrial Research Chair and professor of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and his colleagues Dr. Matt Millard and Mr. Sukhpreet Sandhu, they used MapleSim to create a model of a driver. The shaft itself was modeled using MapleSim’s built-in flexible beam component. The driver head model was carefully designed to include the exact characteristics of the Cleveland Golf / Srixon driver head, including factors such as its mass and moments of inertia. To simulate a variety of swings from different players, experimental measurements were taken from varsity players on the university golf team. This information was input into the model as the 6 degree-of-freedom motion of the grip, which in turn determined the movement of the shaft. Different versions of this base model were created by modifying model parameters to match the properties of the different club designs.
When the models were validated against the experimental data, good to very good agreement was found between the simulation and the experimental data for club head speed and the dynamic loft and droop at the instant of contact with the ball. In addition, the MapleSim models were found to run significantly faster than similar models based on finite-element techniques.
Cleveland Golf / Srixon was impressed with both the accuracy of the model and the flexibility and performance MapleSim gave them. “The MapleSim models we're running allow us to predict head delivery conditions with more variables, higher precision, and faster run times”, said John Rae, Vice President, R&D, of Cleveland Golf / Srixon. “Using MapleSim's simulation tools we can generate custom swing calculations based on every equipment variable, leaving nothing to speculation.”
With efficient, validated dynamic models of a golf driver, Cleveland Golf / Srixon was able to quickly explore different designs and "what if" scenarios allowing them to identify the ideal combinations for their newest product offering the Launcher Ultralight Series which consists of 3 distinct drivers with unique weight, length, and shaft combinations. Maplesoft allowed Cleveland Golf to minimize the need for expensive prototypes and shortened the necessary time to identify the ideal combinations, helping get the product to market at the right time with the best possible performance.