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

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

21

Contributions of psychological, psychomotor, and shot-making skills to prowess at golf

P.R. Thomas

Faculty of Education, Griffith University, Queensland 4111,
Australia


and R. Over

Department of Psychology, La Trobe University, Victoria 3083,
Australia

Abstract

Relationships between levels of molar performance (golf handicap) and components such as shot-making, psychological, and psychomotor skills are examined for a sample of male amateur golfers. Although molar performance was most closely associated with shot-making skills (length of drive from the tee, putts per round, and likelihood of reaching the green in regulation strokes), further contributions came from psychological skills and tactics (such as mental preparation and striving for maximum distance) and psychomotor skills (such as automaticity). The implications of these results for understanding previous research findings and effecting improvement in golf performance are considered.

Keywords: Psychological Skills, Psychomotor Skills, Shot-making Skills, Golf.


1 Introduction

Schulz and Curnow (1988) argued that sports can be distinguished in relation to the extent each relies on skills such as reaction time, speed of limb movement, flexibility, explosive strength, gross body coordination, control precision, rate control, arm-hand steadiness, aiming, and stamina. Golf is a sport that places low demands on reaction time, speed of limb movement, extent flexibility, dynamic flexibility, dynamic strength, and stamina, but requires a high level of control precision, multilimb coordination, rate control (timing), arm-hand steadiness, aiming, explosive strength, fine body coordination, and gross body coordination. The 2 hands control a long lever (the golf club) through a side-arm pattern of movement in order to strike the stationary golf ball. Broer and Zernicke (1979) differentiated the “driving” stroke and the putting stroke, but noted that the same mechanical factors are involved in both. In execution of the “driving” stroke, a golfer can control the vertical angle of projection without much change in swinging action by choosing the appropriate golf club. Whether the golf ball comes to rest where the golfer intended will depend, among other factors, on whether the player applied appropriate force through the center of gravity of the ball in the desired direction.

Specific shot-making skills such as driving from the tee, hitting from the fairway to the green, exploding from sand bunkers, and putting on the green are needed in order to complete a round of golf in the fewest strokes possible. Davidson and Templin (1986) used statistics from the 1983 Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) tour to establish the extent to which these shot-making skills predicted a player's average score per round over the season. They demonstrated through regression analysis that the golfers with lowest average scores were those who reached the green most often in regulation shots (beta of -.95), took fewest putts per round (beta of .78), and had greatest length from the tee (beta of -.11). Prowess on these three aspects of shot-making predicted 86% of variance in shots per round; a player's ability to finish a hole in 2 shots or less out of a

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

-138-

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