Left-click to hit with putter. (Ball automatically repositions.)
What's Going On?
The curved area behind the hole is a parabolic reflector. Every point of its reflecting surface is so angled that when a ball strikes the curve, the ball is reflected to the FOCUS. In this case, the hole is where the focus is. It does not matter where the ball comes from - as long as the path is parallel to the sides it will go to the FOCUS every time!
Parabolic reflectors have many different applications. Satellite dishes are parabolic reflectors. They gather the weak radio energy from satellites in space and concentrate the energy at the FOCUS where a receiver interprets the signals. Parabolic reflectors are used in movie projectors to concentrate light energy through the film so it is bright on the screen (see the inverse square law exhibit). The Hubble Space Telescope uses a mirror that is almost 8 feet wide to collect light from the distant universe. The mirror is a parabolic mirror.