Golf is one of the most popular sports worldwide. Scientific research into golf has grown substantially over the past four decades. This article reviews the biomechanical models of the golf swing, focusing on how these models can aid understanding of golf biomechanics and the fitting of golf clubs to individual players. It is shown that models range in complexity from the conventional double pendulum model to full-body simulations that include sub-models. The usefulness of any model or simulation is ultimately determined by the assumptions included and the model’s complexity. The article summarizes the established areas of golf swing modeling and simulation, discusses the assumptions made by those models, and identifies areas where more research and further development are needed.
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 11 Dec 2008|
Bibliographical noteReference text: 1. Farrally MR, Cochran AJ, Crews DJ et al. Golf science research at the beginning of the
twenty-first century. Journal of Sports Sciences2003; 21(9): 753–765.
2. Nigg BM, Herzog W. Biomechanics of the Musculo– Skeletal System. John Wiley & Sons:
3. Penner AR. The physics of golf. Reports on Progress in Physics 2003; 66(2):131–171.
4. McHardy A, Pollard H. Muscle activity during the golf swing. British Journal of Sports
Medicine 2005; 39(11): 799–804.
5. Hume PA, Keogh J, Reid D. The role of biomechanics in maximising distance and
accuracy of golf shots. Sports Medicine 2005; 35(5): 429–449.
6. McHardy A, Pollard H, Luo K. Golf injuries: a review of the literature. Sports Medicine
2006; 36(2): 171–187.
7. Cochran A, Stobbs J. The Search for the Perfect Swing. Heinemann: London, 1968.
8. Jørgensen T. On the dynamics of the swing of a golf club. American Journal of Physics
1970; 38(5): 644–651.
9. Jørgensen TP. The Physics of Golf. Springer: New York, 1999.
10.Budney DR, Bellow DG. On the swing mechanics of a matched set of golf clubs.
Research Quartely for Exercise and Sport 1982; 53: 185–192.
11. Milne RD, Davis JP. The role of the shaft in the golf swing. Journal of Biomechanics
1992; 25(9): 975–983.
12. Reyes MG, Mittendorf A. A mathematical swing model for a long-driving champion. In:
Farrally MR, Cochran AJ, eds. Science and Golf III. Human Kinetics: Leeds, 1998;
13. Pickering WM. A computational study of the double pendulum model of the golf swing.
In: Haake S, ed. The Engineering of Sport. Blackwell Science: London, 1998; 353–360.
14. Pickering WM, Vickers GT. On the double pendulum model of the golf swing. Sports
Engineering 1999; 2(3): 161–172.
15. Miura K. Parametric acceleration - the effect of inward pull of the golf club at impact
stage. Sports Engineering 2001; 4(2): 75–86.
16. White R. On the efficiency of the golf swing. American Journal of Physics 2006; 74(12):
17. Suzuki S, Haake S, Heller B. Multiple modulation torque planning for a new golf-swing
robot with a skilful wrist turn. Sports Engineering 2006; 9(4): 201–208.
18. Chen C, Inoue Y, Shibara K. Numerical study on the wrist action during the golf swing.
Sports Engineering 2007; 10: 23–31.
19. Campbell KR, Reid RE. The application of optimal control theory to simplified models of
complex human motions: the golf swing. In: Winter DA, Norman RW, Wells RP, Hayes
KC, Patla AE, eds. Biomechanics IX-B. Human Kinetics: Baltimore, MD, 1985; 527–538.
20. Turner AB, Hills NJ. A three-link mathematical model of the golf swing. In: Farrally MR,
Cochran AJ, eds. Science and Golf III. Human Kinetics: Leeds, 1998; 3–12.
21. Kaneko Y, Sato F. The adaptation of golf swing to inertia property of golf club. In: Subic
A, Haake S, eds. The Engineering of Sport. Blackwell Science: London, 2000; 469–476.
22. Sprigings EJ, Neal RJ. An insight into the importance of wrist torque in driving the
golfball: a simulation study. Journal of Applied Biomechanics2000; 16(4): 356–366.
23. Sprigings EJ, Mackenzie SJ. Examining the delayed release in the golf swing using
computer simulation. Sports Engineering 2002; 5(1): 23–32.
24. Sprigings EJ, Neal RJ. Shifting a portion of the clubshaft’s mass distally: does it
improve performance? Sports Engineering 2001; 4(1): 15–21.
25. Sprigings EJ, Neal RJ. An insight into the importance of wrist torque in
driving the golfball: a simulation study. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 2000; 16(4):
356–366. Sports Technol. 2008, 1, No. 4–5, 175–188 & 2008 John Wiley and Sons Pte
Ltd www.sportstechjournal.com 187 Evolution of golf swing modeling
26. Tsujiuchi N, Koizumi T, Tomii Y. Analysis of the influence of golf club design on the golf
swing. In: Ujihashi S, Haake S, eds. The Engineering of Sport 4. Blackwell: Oxford,
27. Aicardi M. A triple pendulum robotic model and a set of simple parametric functions for
the analysis of the golf swing. International Journal of Sports Science and Engineering
2007; 1(2): 75–86.
28. Iwatsubo T, Adachi K, Kitagawa T, Onuki M. A study of link models for dynamic analysis
of golf swing motion. In: Ujihashi S, Haake S, eds. The Engineering of Sport 4.
Blackwell: Oxford, 2002; 701–707.
29. MacKenzie SJ. Understanding the role of shaft stiffness in the golf swing (Dissertation).
University of Saskatchewan: Saskatoon, Canada, 2005.
30. Vaughan CL. A three-dimensional analysis of the forces and torques applied by a golfer
during the downswing. In: Morecki A, Fidelus K, Kedzior K, Witt A, eds. Biomechanics VII-
B. University Park Press: Baltimore, MD, 1981; 325–331.
31. Neal RJ, Wilson BD. 3D kinematics and kinetics of the golf swing. International Journal
of Sport Biomechanics 1985; 1: 221–232.
32. Jones JR. A spatial model of the rigid-body club swing. In: Thain E, ed. Science and
Golf IV. Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf.
Routledge: London, 2002; 3–17.
33. Tsunoda M, Bours R, Hasegawa H. Three-dimensional motion analysis and inverse
dynamic modeling of the human golf swing. In: Hubbard M, Mehta RD, Pallis JM, eds.
The Engineering of Sport 5. International Sports Engineering Association: Sheffield,
34. Suzuki S, Haake S, Heller B. Skill analysis of the wrist release in golf swing to utilize
shaft elasticity. In: Subic A, Ujihashi S, eds. The Impact of Technology on Sport.
Australasian Technology Alliance: Melbourne, 2005; 188–193.
35. Nesbit SM, Cole JS, Hartzell TA, Oglesby KA, Radich AF. Dynamic model
and computer simulation of a golf swing. In: Cochran AJ, Farrally MR, eds.
Science and Golf II. E & FN Spon: London, 1994; 71–76.
36. McGuan S. Exploring human adaptation using optimized, dynamic human models.
Proceedings of the 20th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics; 17–
19 October 1996, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
37. Nesbit SM. A three dimensional kinematic and kinetic study of the golf swing. Journal of
Sports Science and Medicine 2005; 4: 499–519.
38. Nesbit SM, Serrano M. Work and power analysis of the golf swing. Journal of Sports
Science and Medicine 2005; 4(4): 520–533.
39. Nesbit SM. Development of a full-body biomechanical model of the golf swing.
International Journal of Modelling and Simulation 2007; 27(4): 392–404.
40. Kenny I, Wallace ES, Brown D, Otto SR. Validation of a full-body computer simulation of
the golf drive for clubs of differing length. In: Moritz EF, Haake S, eds. The Engineering of
Sport 6. Springer: New York, 2006; 11–16.
41. Betzler N, Shan G, Witte K. The influence of different golf club designs on swing
performance in skilled golfers. In: Fuss FK, Subic A, Ujihashi S, eds.T he Impact of
Technology on Sport II. Taylor & Francis Group: London,2007; 253–258.
42. Horwood GP. Golf shafts–a technical perspective. In: Cochran AJ, Farrally MR, eds.
Science and Golf II. E & FN Spon: London, 1994; 247–258.
43. McGuan S. Achieving commercial success with biomechanics simulation. Proceedings
of the 20th International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports;1–5 July 2002,
44. Lowe B, Fairweather IH. Centrifugal force and the planar golf swing. In: Cochran AJ,
Farrally MR, eds. Science and Golf II. E & FN Spon: London, 1994; 59–64.
45. McLaughlin PA, Best RJ. Three-dimensional kinematic analysis of the golf swing. In:
Cochran AJ, Farrally MR, eds. Science and Golf II. E & FN Spon: London, 1994; 91–96.
46. Coleman SGS, Rankin AJ. A three-dimensional examination of the planar nature of the
golf swing. Journal of Sports Sciences 2005; 23(3): 227–234.
47. Coleman S, Anderson D. An examination of the planar nature of golf club motion in the
swings of experienced players. Journal of Sports Sciences 2007; 25(7): 739–748.
48. Teu KK, Kim W, Fuss FK, Tan J. Motion synthesis based on anatomical movement of
joints during golf swing. In: Hubbard M, Mehta RD, Pallis JM, eds. The Engineering of
Sport 5. International Sports Engineering Association: Sheffield, 2004; 608–641.
49. Harper TE. Robotic simulation of golfers’ swings (Dissertation). Loughborough
University: Loughborough, UK, 2006.
50. Milburn PD. Summation of segmental velocities in the golf swing. Medicine & Science in
Sports & Exercise 1982; 14: 60–64.
51. Huntley MP, Davis CL, Strangwood M, Otto SR. Comparison of the static and dynamic
behaviour of carbon fibre composite golf club shafts. Proceedings of the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications 2006; 220
52. Betzler N, Hofmann M, Shan G, Witte K. Biomechanical modelling of a golf swing by
means of the multibody–kinetics software ADAMS. International Journal of Computer
Science in Sport 2006; 5(2): 52–55.
53. Betzler N, Li X, Shan G, Witte K. Validation and application of a full-body model of a
golfer swinging two different drivers and irons. Proceedings of the 6th Symposium on
Computer Science in Sport; 3–6 June 2007, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
54. Morlock M, Nigg BM. Theoretical considerations and practical results on the influence of
the representation of the foot for the estimation of internal forces with models. Clinical
Biomechanics 1991; 6(1): 3–13.