Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Simplified Method to Measure Golf Ball Lie Using Digital Image Analysis.

Michael Richardson1, Doug Karcher2, Aaron Patton3, and John McCalla2. (1) 316 Plant Sci Bldg, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas, Department of Horticulture, Fayetteville, AR 72701, (2) Horticulture, University of Arkansas, 316 Plant Science Bldg., Fayetteville, AR 72701, (3) Horticulture, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, 1 University of Arkansas, PTSC 316, Fayetteville, AR 72701

When investigating turfgrass systems that are used for an athletic event such as golf, playability of the surface is always an important parameter. The ability of a turf to support a golf ball for play is typically referred to as ball lie. Golf ball lie is know to be affected by turfgrass species and cultural practices such as mowing height, fertility, and the use of products such as growth regulators. Unfortunately, the measurement of golf ball lie is often laborious and time-consuming and is subsequently, poorly studied, in most systems. We have developed a system that uses digital photographs and image analysis techniques to measure the ability of a turf to support a golf ball. A digital photograph of a fluorescent golf ball is taken from a fixed focal length and parallel to the turfgrass canopy. The image is analyzed for pixels that fall within the color range that corresponds to the fluorescent golf ball. A series of images with golf balls set to defined heights within the turfgrass canopy were used to develop a calibration curve. The technique can quickly and accurately measure the amount of a golf ball exposed above the turfgrass canopy.