Brain networks governing the golf swing in professional golfers

J Sports Sci. 2015;33(19):1980-7. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1022570. Epub 2015 Mar 12.


Golf, as with most complex motor skills, requires multiple different brain functions, including attention, motor planning, coordination, calculation of timing, and emotional control. In this study we assessed the correlation between swing components and brain connectivity from the cerebellum to the cerebrum. Ten female golf players and 10 age-matched female controls were recruited. In order to determine swing consistency among participants, the standard deviation (SD) of the mean swing speed time and the SD of the mean swing angle were assessed over 30 swings. Functional brain connectivity was assessed by resting state functional MRI. Pro-golfers showed greater positive left cerebellum connectivity to the occipital lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe and both frontal lobes compared to controls. The SD of play scores was positively correlated with the SD of the impact angle. Constant swing speed and back swing angle in professional golfers were associated with functional connectivity (FC) between the cerebellum and parietal and frontal lobes. In addition, the constant impact angle in professional golfers was associated with improved golf scores and additional FC of the thalamus.

Keywords: fMRI; functional connectivity; golf; swing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Cerebrum / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Golf / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Thalamus / physiology