Biomechanics of the Golf Swing and Putting Stroke
Richardson, Ashley Kendall
Context: This thesis focused on two main areas of golf performance. Firstly, centre of pressure excursions influence on full golf swing performance, as despite golf coaching literature placing importance on weight transfer, literature into this mechanism is limited. Secondly, the area of the golf putt was examined; few studies have investigated the biomechanics into the putting stroke despite it being identified as the most important performance factor within golf. Areas of investigation were, centre of pressure excursions during the putting stroke, the impact point on golf ball and movement variability on performance outcomes being the ball roll kinematics. Aims: To examine biomechanical factors that influence golf performance. Centre of pressure excursion during the full golf swing and putting stroke were examined. Additionally, body segment kinematics and variability of rotations were correlated with putting performance outcomes. The impact point on the golf ball was considered as a mechanism that can cause variability of the kinematic ball roll. Subjects: All subjects used in this thesis were actively playing golf. Subjects were categorised using the golf handicap system. For studies assessing reliability, validity or isolating putter stroke kinematics a mechanical putting robot was used. Methods: Correlational research whereby no variables were manipulated was predominantly adopted throughout this thesis to establish relationships between biomechanical parameters and golf performance. Biomechanical parameters were assessed using the appropriate data collection and analysis techniques; this included the variability associated with segment rotations. Results: Significant differences were observed for the centre of pressure excursions along the mediolateral axis between three different golf clubs (full swing). For the putting stroke low handicap golfers demonstrated lower centre of pressure excursions along the anteroposterior axis in comparison to high handicap golfers, additionally, a large amount of inter-subject variability was observed for centre of pressure excursions. In regards to the impact point on the golf ball, significant associations were identified between impact variables and the performance measures horizontal launch angle and whether the ball was pushed or pulled, these results were not replicated with human participants. It was identified that the relationship between the centre of mass displacement and centre of pressure excursions is a complex one and that movement variability had a detrimental effect on the horizontal launch angle and therefore performance. Conclusions: The results from the full swing analysis of this thesis suggest that stance width may influence the amount of centre of pressure excursions that occur. For the golf putting stroke, golfers and coaches should reduce the amount of variability associated with the technique to improve performance. Regarding future scientific research, a combination of individual analysis accompanying group-based analysis should be utilised due to the large inter-subject differences observed.