Improve Your Golf with the Latest Science

Trying to perfect your swinging, putting, and chipping? Research comes to the rescue

Explore this collection, click a card

Research Paper

The relationship and effects of golf on physical and mental health: a scoping review protocol.

Abstract: Golf is a sport played in 206 countries worldwide by over 50 million people. It is possible that participation in golf, which is a form of physical activity, may be associated with effects on longevity, the cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal systems, as well as on mental health and well-being. We outline our scoping review protocol to examine the relationships and effects of golf on physical and mental health.Best practice methodological frameworks suggested by Arksey and O'Malley, Levac et al and the Joanna Briggs Institute will serve as our guide, providing clarity and rigour. A scoping review provides a framework to (1) map the key concepts and evidence, (2) summarise and disseminate existing research findings to practitioners and policymakers and (3) identify gaps in the existing research. A three-step search strategy will identify reviews as well as original research, published and grey literature. An initial search will identify suitable search terms, followed by a search using keyword and index terms. Two reviewers will independently screen identified studies for final inclusion.We will map key concepts and evidence, and disseminate existing research findings to practitioners and policymakers through peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications, conferences and in-person communications. We will identify priorities for further study. This method may prove useful to examine the relationships and effects of other sports on health.

Pub.: 01 May '16, Pinned: 14 Jul '16

Research Paper

Electromyographic Patterns during Golf Swing: Activation Sequence Profiling and Prediction of Shot Effectiveness.

Abstract: This study analyzes muscle activity, recorded in an eight-channel electromyographic (EMG) signal stream, during the golf swing using a 7-iron club and exploits information extracted from EMG dynamics to predict the success of the resulting shot. Muscles of the arm and shoulder on both the left and right sides, namely flexor carpi radialis, extensor digitorum communis, rhomboideus and trapezius, are considered for 15 golf players (∼5 shots each). The method using Gaussian filtering is outlined for EMG onset time estimation in each channel and activation sequence profiling. Shots of each player revealed a persistent pattern of muscle activation. Profiles were plotted and insights with respect to player effectiveness were provided. Inspection of EMG dynamics revealed a pair of highest peaks in each channel as the hallmark of golf swing, and a custom application of peak detection for automatic extraction of swing segment was introduced. Various EMG features, encompassing 22 feature sets, were constructed. Feature sets were used individually and also in decision-level fusion for the prediction of shot effectiveness. The prediction of the target attribute, such as club head speed or ball carry distance, was investigated using random forest as the learner in detection and regression tasks. Detection evaluates the personal effectiveness of a shot with respect to the player-specific average, whereas regression estimates the value of target attribute, using EMG features as predictors. Fusion after decision optimization provided the best results: the equal error rate in detection was 24.3% for the speed and 31.7% for the distance; the mean absolute percentage error in regression was 3.2% for the speed and 6.4% for the distance. Proposed EMG feature sets were found to be useful, especially when used in combination. Rankings of feature sets indicated statistics for muscle activity in both the left and right body sides, correlation-based analysis of EMG dynamics and features derived from the properties of two highest peaks as important predictors of personal shot effectiveness. Activation sequence profiles helped in analyzing muscle orchestration during golf shot, exposing a specific avalanche pattern, but data from more players are needed for stronger conclusions. Results demonstrate that information arising from an EMG signal stream is useful for predicting golf shot success, in terms of club head speed and ball carry distance, with acceptable accuracy. Surface EMG data, collected with a goal to automatically evaluate golf player's performance, enables wearable computing in the field of ambient intelligence and has potential to enhance exercising of a long carry distance drive.

Pub.: 28 Apr '16, Pinned: 14 Jul '16

Research Paper

In vivo kinematics of healthy male knees during squat and golf swing using image-matching techniques.

Abstract: Participation in specific activities requires complex ranges of knee movements and activity-dependent kinematics. The purpose of this study was to investigate dynamic knee kinematics during squat and golf swing using image-matching techniques.Five healthy males performed squats and golf swings under periodic X-ray images at 10 frames per second. We analyzed the in vivo three-dimensional kinematic parameters of subjects' knees, namely the tibiofemoral flexion angle, anteroposterior (AP) translation, and internal-external rotation, using serial X-ray images and computed tomography-derived, digitally reconstructed radiographs.During squat from 0° to 140° of flexion, the femur moved about 25mm posteriorly and rotated 19° externally relative to the tibia. Screw-home movement near extension, bicondylar rollback between 20° and 120° of flexion, and medial pivot motion at further flexion were observed. During golf swing, the leading and trailing knees (the left and right knees respectively in the right-handed golfer) showed approximately five millimeters and four millimeters of AP translation with 18° and 26° of axial rotation, respectively. A central pivot motion from set-up to top of the backswing, lateral pivot motion from top to ball impact, and medial pivot motion from impact to the end of follow-through were observed.The medial pivot motion was not always recognized during both activities, but a large range of axial rotation with bilateral condylar AP translations occurs during golf swing. This finding has important implications regarding the amount of acceptable AP translation and axial rotation at low flexion in replaced knees.IV.

Pub.: 20 Jan '16, Pinned: 14 Jul '16

Research Paper

The Biomechanics of the Modern Golf Swing: Implications for Lower Back Injuries.

Abstract: The modern golf swing is a complex and asymmetrical movement that places an emphasis on restricting pelvic turn while increasing thorax rotation during the backswing to generate higher clubhead speeds at impact. Increasing thorax rotation relative to pelvic rotation preloads the trunk muscles by accentuating their length and allowing them to use the energy stored in their elastic elements to produce more power. As the thorax and pelvis turn back towards the ball during the downswing, more skilled golfers are known to laterally slide their pelvis toward the target, which further contributes to final clubhead speed. However, despite the apparent performance benefits associated with these sequences, it has been argued that the lumbar spine is incapable of safely accommodating the forces they produce. This notion supports a link between the repeated performance of the golf swing and the development of golf-related low back injuries. Of the complaints reported by golfers, low back injuries continue to be the most prevalent, but the mechanism of these injuries is still poorly understood. This review highlights that there is a paucity of research directly evaluating the apparent link between the modern golf swing and golf-related low back pain. Furthermore, there has been a general lack of consensus within the literature with respect to the methods used to objectively assess the golf swing and the methods used to derived common outcome measures. Future research would benefit from a clear set of guidelines to help reduce the variability between studies.

Pub.: 26 Nov '15, Pinned: 14 Jul '16