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

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

6

The biomechanics of the shoe-ground interaction in golf

G. Koenig, M. Tamres and R.W. Mann

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Abstract

The intent of this study was to analyze the kinematics and kinetics of the shoe-ground interaction in golf. The shoe-ground interaction was quantified as ground reaction forces and centers of pressure using the MIT TRACK system, an active marker system used in conjunction with a Kistler force plate. The system applies a stereophotogrammetric technique to measure the kinematics of human movement causing the kinetics generated at the force plate. The kinematic data was used to monitor shoe movement in order to quantify shoe kinematics in relation to ground reaction forces and the center of pressure migration. The experiment involved fourteen subjects, divided into three handicap groups (low: 0-7, mid: 8-14, high: 15+). Subjects wore conventional spiked shoes on an artificial turf platform, and struck golf balls into a golf cage using three different clubs (driver, 3-iron, 7-iron). A normalization routine was developed to characterize the data set of an individual, as well as to compare individuals and handicap groups. An algorithm was also developed to study data in the moving local reference frame of the shoe, in contrast to studying data in the conventional reference frame of the shoe at initiation of the swing. Results include differences between the left and right feet, as well as clear differences between handicap groups and individuals. The forces and centers of pressure for different clubs were shown to vary at specific phases of the swing, due primarily to inertial effects, but generally followed similar patterns. Also, the moving reference frame of the shoe demonstrated that the migrations of center of pressure on the shoes were more centralized to the shoe than with respect to the reference frame of the shoe at initiation. Furthermore, in contrast to common wisdom, statistical analysis revealed that the swings of low handicap players are not any more consistent than those of high handicap players.

Keywords: Golf, Center of pressure, Biomechanics, Vectograms.


1 Introduction

In recent years, sports biomechanics has expanded to include a multitude of fields, always with the goal of providing better understanding of the athlete's movements. Among such sports is golf, with the emphasis on enhanced performance. Cochran and Stobbs (1968) were among the first to apply scientific principles to the issues of golf. Subsequent research concentrated on developing models of the golfer's swing in providing key insight into the swing mechanics (Jorgensen 1970, and Neal and Wilson 1985). To a lesser degree, research has also been conducted to a limited degree on the foot-ground interactions of the golfer (Cooper et al. 1973, and Williams and Cavanagh 1983). Most recently extensive work has incorporated shoe movement, shoe-ground interaction, and the mechanics of the upper swing motion (Koenig 1993, and Tamres 1993). This paper presents a summary of this

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

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