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

S-factors of the handicap-4 player and handicap-30 players both fell within the professional range.

The study also found that peak free moment the golfers' turning force, or torque, measured using a special scale was highly consistent among the pros, varying only 6.8 percent from a mean.

The authors conclude that peak free moment, X-factor and S-factor "are highly consistent, highly correlated to [club head speed at impact], and appear essential to golf swing power generation among professional golfers."

In addition, the researchers found overall biomechanical differences between the professionals and amateurs. "For example, the peak free moment of Novice #1 was reduced and delayed compared with the professionals," the authors note. "His X-factor was excessive in early backswing, but insufficient in downswing compared with professionals. Novice #2 had a reduced X-factor throughout backswing and downswing." Both of these players had lower club speeds at impact than the pros did.

"A precise understanding of optimal rotational biomechanics during the golf swing may guide swing modifications to help prevent or aid in the treatment of injury," they wrote.

Conrad Ray, the Knowles Family Director of Men's Golf at Stanford University and a co-author of the study, said the findings give scientific backing to the elements of golf-swing form that professionals have long understood are vital for generating power. The study also helps to clarify some unresolved questions about golf-swing biomechanics, Ray said. "One question that always comes from students is, 'What starts the downswing?'" he said. "People have had different answers. Some would say the hands, or others would say the shoulders or the lower body. But the study confirms that rotation of the hips initiates the downswing. So that, to me, is an interesting finding."

Ray, who as the men's head golf coach led the Cardinal to five appearances in the NCAA championshi
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Contact: John Sanford
jsanford@stanfordmed.org
650-723-8309
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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