Sport & Exercise Science, Sports Medicine & Healthcare

It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing

When it comes to hitting a golf ball hard, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, have identified several biomechanical factors that appear to separate the duffers from the pros.

For the first time, several key rotational-biomechanic elements of the golf stroke in its entirety, from backswing to follow-through, were analyzed.

The research showed that swing biomechanics were highly consistent among a group of professional players to a point where, at certain phases of their swings, their movements were almost indistinguishable from one another.

The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics, could be used to help improve golfers’ ability to hit the ball farther and do so without increasing their risks of injury.

The report points to previous studies that showed improper swing biomechanics is the leading cause of golf-related injuries, with over-rotation being one of the major causes of back injury and a precise understanding of the movements involved may help prevent injury or aid treatment when injury occurs.

Researchers collected data for the study using an array of eight special digital cameras to record three-dimensional motion images of the golf swings of 10 professional and five amateur male players.

They analyzed several biomechanical elements of subjects’ golf swings, including tilt of the shoulders, tilt of the hips and the relative rotation of the hips to the shoulders, which is considered key to power generation.

The findings give scientific backing to the elements of the golf-swing that professionals have long understood are vital for generating power.

The study also helps to clarify some unresolved questions about golf-swing biomechanics, such as what actually starts the downswing?

Some would say the hands, others the shoulders or the lower body, but the study confirms that it is rotation of the hips initiates the downswing.

Conrad Ray, a co-author of the study, said, “All golfers want to know how to hit the ball longer and this study supports the view that speed really is a factor.”

Source: Journal of Applied Biomechanics

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