Effect of shoulder model complexity in upper-body kinematics analysis of the golf swing

J Biomech. 2018 Jun 25;75:154-158. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2018.04.025. Epub 2018 Apr 25.


The golf swing is a complex full body movement during which the spine and shoulders are highly involved. In order to determine shoulder kinematics during this movement, multibody kinematics optimization (MKO) can be recommended to limit the effect of the soft tissue artifact and to avoid joint dislocations or bone penetration in reconstructed kinematics. Classically, in golf biomechanics research, the shoulder is represented by a 3 degrees-of-freedom model representing the glenohumeral joint. More complex and physiological models are already provided in the scientific literature. Particularly, the model used in this study was a full body model and also described motions of clavicles and scapulae. This study aimed at quantifying the effect of utilizing a more complex and physiological shoulder model when studying the golf swing. Results obtained on 20 golfers showed that a more complex and physiologically-accurate model can more efficiently track experimental markers, which resulted in differences in joint kinematics. Hence, the model with 3 degrees-of-freedom between the humerus and the thorax may be inadequate when combined with MKO and a more physiological model would be beneficial. Finally, results would also be improved through a subject-specific approach for the determination of the segment lengths.

Keywords: Golf; Kinematics; Modelling; Multibody kinematics optimization; Shoulder; Sport biomechanics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bones of Upper Extremity / physiology*
  • Female
  • Golf / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Thorax / physiology
  • Young Adult