Golf Sports Science Services - Biomechanical Concepts and Challenges

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The purpose of the golf drive is to propel the ball a large distance with a degree of accuracy to optimise the playability of the next shot. The pioneering work of Cochran and Stobbs (1968) proposed a double pendulum model of the downswing to explain the basic mechanics and showed that the combined effect of inertia and centripetal force acting on the lower lever can create a well-controlled swing. Since then there have been a plethora of studies on the biomechanics of the golf swing (eg kinematics, kinetics, EMG) yet less than a decade ago it was claimed that our understanding of golfer’s interaction with the club is still too crude to fit clubs to people properly. Betzler et al., (2008) provided a comprehensive review of existing biomechanical models and simulations of the golf swing in order to progress the design of future modelling and simulation studies. Over the last couple of decades we aimed to gain a better understanding of not only the biomechanics of the golf swing but also the effect of golf equipment on the swing and ultimatelyhow we can translate this knowledge to the coaching process. The method by which the coach achieves technical improvements has been illustrated for gymnastics as a conceptual model of technique and performance by Irwin and Kerwin (2007). The most widely measured kinematic parameters related to golf performance outcomes are hip and shoulder rotations and in particular, the resulting X-factor (Horan et al., 2010). Wallace et al. (2007) studied the effects of shaft length on driving performance and showed a significant difference in initial ball launch speed due to a main effect of club length, a significant difference between participants, but no difference between the intra-subject trials. Betzler et al. (2012) showed greater variability in a range of clubhead presentation variables for lesser skilled golfers compared to highly skilled players, while in a study focussing on elite female golfers, Brown et al. (2011) showed there was no common technique for optimal performance and the need remains to focus on individual aspects. Ball and Best (2006), using a cluster analysis method, identified 2 centre of pressure patterns which were associated with both highly skilled players and lesser skilled players and highlighted the importance of identifying different movement strategies before evaluating performance measures (Ball and Best, 2007).References . Ball and Best, 2007a J Sports Sci, 2007,757-70. Ball and Best, 2007b,25,771-79. Betzler et al. 2008, Sports Technol,1,175-88.Betzler et al. 2012, J Sports Sci,30,439-48. Brown et al. 2011, J Sports Sci,29,1483-91. Cochran and Stobbs,1968,The search for the perfect swing. Horan et al, 2010. J Biomech,43,1456-462. Irwin and Kerwin, 2007. Introduction to sports coaching. Wallace et al. 2007, J SportsSci25,731–737.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherEuropean College of Sport Science
Number of pages674
ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-90902686-8-2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012
Event17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science - Bruges, Belgium
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


Conference17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science
Period1/01/12 → …


  • Biomechanics


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