Trajectory Calculator

This page describes a "trajectory calculator", a tool for calculating your own trajectories for golf balls.

Golf Ball Trajectory Calculator (updated, December 2, 2023) Click on the link to download an Excel spreadsheet that can be used to calculate golf ball trajectories. It is a fully 3-dimensional calculation and uses the best information available for the drag and lift coefficients from Washington State University. See The Aerodynamics of Golf Balls in Still Air, by Bin Lyu, et al., for experimental details and results. See also the very fine book The Science of the Perfect Swing, by Peter Dewhurst, which is the best book out there on the science of all aspects of golf, including trajectories.

The spreadsheet is organized much like my baseball/softball spreadsheet, with the ability to enter ball parameters (weight, circumference), launch parameters (velocity, spin, etc.), and atmospheric conditions (temperature, elevation, wind, etc.). You can also change the parameters used to calculate the lift and drag coefficients, but I suggest not doing that unless you have a good understanding of the subject.

Regarding the latter, different ball types--i.e., those with different dimple configurations, such as density, shape, and depth--will have different drag and lift coefficients. The spreadsheet represents a kind of overall average over several types measured.