Motor abundance and control structure in the golf swing

Hum Mov Sci. 2016 Apr;46:129-47. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2016.01.009. Epub 2016 Jan 16.


Variability and control structure are under-represented areas of golf swing research. This study investigated the use of the abundant degrees of freedom in the golf swing of high and intermediate skilled golfers using uncontrolled manifold (UCM) analysis. The variance parallel to (VUCM) and orthogonal to (VOrth) the UCM with respect to the orientation and location of the clubhead were calculated. The higher skilled golfers had proportionally higher values of VUCM than lower skilled players for all measured outcome variables. Motor synergy was found in the control of the orientation of the clubhead and the combined outcome variables but not for clubhead location. Clubhead location variance zeroed-in on impact as has been previously shown, whereas clubhead orientation variance increased near impact. Both skill levels increased their control over the clubhead location leading up to impact, with more control exerted over the clubhead orientation in the early downswing. The results suggest that to achieve higher skill levels in golf may not lie simply in optimal technique, but may lie more in developing control over the abundant degrees of freedom in the body.

Keywords: Coordination; Golf; Kinematics; Redundancy; Synergy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aptitude
  • Biomechanical Phenomena*
  • Golf / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Kinesthesis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Orientation*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Research
  • Space Perception
  • Young Adult