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Study of golf swings pinpoints biomechanical differences between pros and amateurs
Date:7/29/2011

STANFORD, Calif. When it comes to hitting a golf ball hard, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified several biomechanical factors that appear to separate the duffers from the pros.

For the first time, several key rotational-biomechanic elements of the golf stroke in its entirety, from backswing to follow-through, were analyzed, and then the data were used to generate benchmark curves, said Jessica Rose, PhD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and senior author of the study. She and her fellow researchers found that swing biomechanics were highly consistent among a group of professional players. At certain phases of their swings, their movements were almost indistinguishable from one another.

"The set of biomechanical factors we examined were selected to capture the essential elements of power generation," Rose said. The lead author of the study is former Stanford medical student David Meister, MD.

The findings, scheduled to be published online July 29 in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics, could be used to help improve golfers' ability to hit the ball farther and do so without increasing their risks of injury. The authors point to studies showing that improper swing biomechanics is the leading cause of golf-related injuries. They also cite studies showing that 26-52 percent of golf-related complaints involve lower-back injuries, 6-10 percent involve shoulder injuries and 13-36 percent involve wrist injuries.

"Over-rotation is one of the leading causes of back injury," Rose added.

Researchers collected data for the study using an array of eight special digital cameras in the Motion & Gait Analysis Laboratory at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Using the same precise technology they typically use to analyze gait and upper limb movement disorders, they recorded three-dimensional motion images of the golf swings of 10 professional and five amateur male pla
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Contact: John Sanford
jsanford@stanfordmed.org
650-723-8309
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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