Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

5

Ground reaction forces and torques of professional and amateur golfers

S.W. Barrentine, G.S. Fleisig and H. Johnson

American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, USA


and T.W. Woolley

Samford University, Birmingham, USA

Abstract

An understanding of forces and torques applied by the feet to the ground during the golf swing is vital for achieving proper mechanics and optimal performance. In this study, ground reaction forces and torques for sixty male golfers of various abilities were recorded. A general description was presented and was consistent with previously published studies. Downswing time was similar for swings with a driver as with a 5-iron, however greater downswing forces and torques at the feet were generated with the driver. Different deceleration mechanics were used for the two clubs. With the driver, the golfer's front foot applied greater lateral force; with the 5-iron the golfer's front foot generated greater outward torque. Differences were also seen between skill levels. The low-handicap golfers achieved maximum torque with the rear foot earlier in the downswing, which can be related to the greater club velocity that was observed for the low-handicap golfer.

Keywords: Biomechanics, Golf, Feet, Force, Torque


1 Introduction

The golf swing is a complex movement which, to a large extent, is influenced by the action of the feet. To better understand proper swing mechanics, a number of researchers have studied the reaction between the golfer and the ground. Studies by Carlsoo (1967) and Cooper et al. (1974) provided an initial scientific description of ground reaction forces and torques during the golf swing. More recent studies by Williams and Cavanagh (1983), Richards et al. (1985), and Wallace et al. (1990) have provided more information, including comparisons between different skill levels. One potential limitation to all of these studies was the number of subjects, which ranged from 1 to 20. In this study, ground reaction forces and torques for 60 golfers of various ability were quantified.


2 Methods

Sixty male golfers were used as subjects and divided into three skill levels with twenty subjects in each group. The three skill levels were PGA Tour Professionals and PGA Teaching Professionals; low-handicap (0-15); and high-handicap (16+). The subjects had an average age of 39 yrs±13 yrs, an average mass of 86.65 kg±13.3 kg and an average height of 1.82 m±0.05.

Each subject performed swings with a driver and a 5-iron while wearing flatlasted and goodyear-welted golf shoes. Twelve swings-three trials for each condition (shoe, club)-were used in data analysis. The order of shoe and club were randomized during testing. Two force platforms covered with artificial grass were used to collect ground reaction forces and torques (Figure 1). Data collected from the force platforms were sampled at a frequency of 1000 hz with a 10.5 hz low-pass filter. Force components and moments about three orthogonal axes were collected from each force plate.

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-33-

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