The Effect of Uphill and Downhill Slopes on Weight Transfer, Alignment, and Shot Outcome in Golf

J Appl Biomech. 2018 Oct 1;34(5):361-368. doi: 10.1123/jab.2017-0310. Epub 2018 Oct 18.


The aim of the study was to examine changes in weight transfer, alignment, and shot outcome during golf shots from flat, uphill, and downhill slopes. Twelve elite male golfers hit 30 shots with a 6-iron from a computer-assisted rehabilitation environment used to create 5° slopes while collecting 3-dimensional kinematics and kinetics of the swing. A launch monitor measured performance outcomes. A shift in the center of pressure was found throughout the swing when performed on a slope, with the mean position moving approximately 9% closer to the lower foot. The golfers attempted to remain perpendicular to the slope, resulting in weight transfer toward the lower foot. The golfers adopted a wider stance in the sloped conditions and moved the ball toward the higher foot at address. Ball speed was not significantly affected by the slope, but launch angle and ball spin were. As the coaching literature predicted, golfers were more likely to hit shots to the left from an uphill slope and to the right from a downhill slope. No consistent compensatory adjustments in alignment at address or azimuth were found, with the change in final shot dispersion resulting from the lateral spin of the ball.

Keywords: biomechanics; center of pressure; golf swing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Golf / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Sports Equipment
  • Task Performance and Analysis