Ben Hogan Company's Golf Ball Division, which is based in Elyria, Ohio, had developed concepts and prototypes for new golf balls but was unable to determine exact performance characteristics. Specifically, the company's R&D department wanted to measure the spin rates of experimental golf balls. After the Golf Ball Division requested assistance, researchers and technicians from the NASA Lewis Research Center went to Elyria and conducted several days worth of tests. Ben Hogan is using the test results to improve the spin characteristics of a new ball it plans to introduce to the market. This company has requested additional NASA testing of its golf balls, so another project is being planned.
The Lewis Imaging Technology Center's (ITC) Scientific Imaging Group's state-of-the-art, high-speed digital imaging equipment gathers high-quality digital imagery to measure, analyze, and obtain accurate data for numerous applications. The technology had been used to improve and/or develop the next generation of aircraft engine inlet ducts. For its work with Ben Hogan, ITC measured the spin rates of seven types of balls-four of which were experimental--by marking the golf balls with data analysis control points, hitting three balls of each type with four different golf clubs, capturing images of the balls in flight with high-speed digital imaging equipment, archiving the imaging data, and analyzing the data via computer to determine spin rates and velocities. The spin rate calculations helped Ben Hogan engineers to evaluate the ball designs and further the development of a new golf ball.
The company estimates that Lewis' assistance could increase sales by 30 percent and employment by 20 percent when introduction and production begins, which is planned for the coming year.
Glenn's Technology Transfer and Partnership Office,
(216) 433-5568, and Jay C. Owens, (216) 433-5976,
Author: Commercial Technology Office
Programs/Projects: Technology Transfer, Golf Ball
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Last updated April 16, 1998, by Nancy.L.Obryan@nasa.gov
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