May 7, 2019 8:42 pm

Wednesday, Explore Golf Technology and Astrophotography with Jimmy Walker, Neil Tyson, Matt Plumb

Golf technology and astrophotography. Two words that you usually don’t see paired together. Well, there’s always a first for everything. On this episode of Playing with Science, we have a stellar line-up to help us explore the future of golf technology.Our intrepid hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly sit down with 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker, who also happens to be an unbelievable astrophotographer, your personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Matt Plumb, former Global Product Line Manager for Nike Golf Clubs.

Rory McIlroy’s club bag and caddie. Credit: TourProGolfClubs [CC BY 2.0 (].

Rory McIlroy’s club bag and caddie. Credit: TourProGolfClubs [CC BY 2.0 (].

We start with Jimmy Walker. Now, you may be wondering, “How does a professional golfer moonlight as an astrophotographer?” Don’t worry, we were wondering the same thing. You’ll find out how Jimmy got into astrophotography and we discuss his website “Dark Skywalker” which houses his stunning, and I mean stunning, image library. You’ll hear about golf’s involvement in the exploration of the universe. And you’ll learn if Jimmy translates the cosmic perspective into his time on the course.

Then, we bring it down to Earth. Discover why there are limits to how fast a golf ball can travel. We break down golf ball aerodynamics and Jimmy tells us why he believes the real future of golf tech lies in that field. However, he explains why it’s unlikely that pros would switch between balls depending on which course they’re playing.

After that, we welcome Matt Plumb, former Global Product Line Manager for Nike Golf Clubs who now serves as Global Product Manager for Nike Golf Shoes. Matt takes us through the big, evolutionary changes in golf club technology – from wood, to steel, to graphite – and how manufacturers continue to innovate in the modern day.

Investigate why matching or “fitting” clubs to players is key to a player’s success, whether pro or amateur. We explore how divots can tell us a lot about a person’s swing, and you’ll learn how data analytics has re-shaped the way players study and develop their game.

Finally, we slip into the world of golf footwear: how Matt and his team find shoes that work for everyone, why it’s important to find the balance between a perfect swing shoe and a perfect walking shoe, and how Nike cross-pollinates innovation between sports. All that, plus Matt tells us why the placebo effect has a real place in the professional game.

Please join us tomorrow night for Golf Tech and Astrophotography, with Jimmy Walker and Neil Tyson right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen

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