Science of Golf: physics of the golf swing

What do the trebuchet, said to have been invented in China in about 300 BC and Paula Creamer, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion, have in common? They both owe their success to the double pendulum effect. Find out why in Science of Golf: Physics of the Golf Swing.

If you live in a northern clime, you might be thinking about putting your own golf clubs away for the winter. So satisfy your links craving by working through the Science of Golf series with your students. The series, from the partnership of NBC Learn, the United States Golf Association (USGA), and Chevron will get your STEM efforts on par. The videos are available cost-free on

Look through the lesson plans and adapt any part that is most useful to you. We all know that everyone’s situation is just a bit different, so download the Word doc and modify at will to make it your own. After you give them a try with your students, let us know what you think! Suggestions for improvements are always welcome. Just leave a comment and we’ll get in touch with you.

–Judy Elgin Jensen

Image of Paula Creamer finishing her swing courtesy of Keith Allison.


SOG: Physics of the Golf Swing discusses how torque, centripetal force, and the double-pendulum effect combine to produce high club head speed during a golf swing.

STEM Lesson Plan—Adaptable for Grades 7–12

The lesson plan provides ideas for STEM exploration plus strategies to support students in their own quest for answers and as well as a more focused approach that helps all students participate in hands-on inquiry.

The SOG Lesson Plan: Physics of the Golf Swing describes how students might investigate a question about energy transfer from potential to kinetic in the cases of single and double pendulums.


You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans: [contact-form 2 “ChemNow]


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