Evaluation of impact sound on the 'feel' of a golf shot

The ‘feel’ of a golf club is an important characteristic that has a significant influence on a golfer's choice of equipment. The sound from impact varies between different clubs and balls and this has been found to contribute to the feel of a shot. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the impact sound and elite golfers’ subjective perceptions of the shot. Suitable test procedures were developed to quantify the golfers’ perceptions using a questionnaire and to measure the impact sound from the same shots. Statistical techniques were then employed to identify correlations between parameters of the impact sound and the golfers’ subjective ratings. The characteristics sharpness and loudness of sound and pleasantness and liveliness of feel were found to be strongly correlated; a shot was rated as having a pleasant feel if it had a loud, sharp sound and a lively feel. Strong positive correlations were also obtained between the subjective ratings and parameters of the impact sound such as sound pressure level, loudness level (according to ISO 532) and sharpness.