Aerodynamic optimization of a golf driver using computational fluid dynamics

Kevin J. Neitzel, Kyle M. Hanquist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Driving distance and accuracy are the two key characteristics to an ideal golf drive. Besides having correct swing mechanics, there are numerous approaches that have been advanced to improve driver distance and accuracy, including driver shape, size, and material throughout the history of golf. Currently, with strict equipment conformity regulations from the United States Golf Association (USGA), the shape of the golf driver is greatly bounded, resulting in designs with marked improvements in design performance becoming less common. The required blunt body shape of the golf driver leads itself to be highly affected by aerodynamic forces, specifically pressure and viscous drag. Although the general shape of the golf driver head is greatly defined, small changes in shape can affect the aerodynamics significantly. This paper focusing on using Navier-Stokes computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations to reduce the aerodynamic drag while also increasing the yaw stability of the golf driver. Results include a characterization of the flow field experienced during a golf swing as well as the drag analysis of a generic driver. The adjoint method is used to identify surfaces on the driver that are most sensitive to drag. Finally, an optimization approach is discussed to create a low-drag, stable driver with design constraints such as USGA conformity and other parameters important to driver design such as a low center-of-mass and high moment-of-inertia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA SciTech Forum - 55th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781624104473
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event55th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting - Grapevine, United States
Duration: Jan 9 2017Jan 13 2017

Publication series

NameAIAA SciTech Forum - 55th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting


Other55th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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