Kinematic contributions and synergies in optimal swing performance in golf

Matthew Sweeney

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    284 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] The golf swing is a highly complex motor task that involves the coordination of a large number of joint motions to achieve the ultimate goal of hitting a ball with optimal distance and direction. It has been recently suggested that an understanding of swing mechanics should include the potentially functional role of intra-individual variability. Specifically, inter-swing variability throughout the kinematic chain may act in a compensatory manner, assisting skilled golfers to achieve an accurate and consistent swing outcome.

    The purpose of coordinating each individual joint motion optimally in the swing is to influence the kinematics of the club-head at ball impact. While many anecdotal assertions exist with respect to the influence of specific impact club-head kinematics on subsequent ball flight parameters, such assertions need to be quantitatively validated before they can be accepted and implemented by coaches and/or sport scientists.

    Prior to any analysis involving the determination of club-ball impact kinematics it is important to validate the methods used to collect data around the time of the ball/club collision (lasting around 0.5ms). A range of methods (such as interpolations, extrapolations and filtering) have been previously employed to determine data ‘at impact’ despite a lack of evidence validating the accuracy of any specific methods.

    The aims of this thesis were to (i) validate methods for determining golfer and club kinematics ‘at impact’, (ii) identify the relationships between specific impact club-head kinematics and subsequent ball flight parameters, (iii) identify the presence of compensatory relationships between the individual joint kinematics involved in the swing and, (iv) assess the role of individual joint motions and their compensatory behaviour during the swing.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    • Alderson, Jacqueline, Supervisor
    • Elliott, Bruce, Supervisor
    • Mills, Peter, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2013

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