During practice and competition, golfers are required to use submaximal effort to hit the ball a given distance, i.e., perform a partial shot. While the full golf swing has undergone extensive research, little has addressed partial shots and the biomechanical modifications golfers employ. This study investigates the biomechanical changes between full and partial swings, and determines if the partial swing is a scaled version of the full swing. Using a repeated measures design, 13 male golfers completed a minimum of 10 swings in the full and partial swing conditions, whilst club, ball, kinematic, and kinetic parameters were recorded. Large and statistically significant reductions in body motion (centre of pressure ellipse: 33.0%, p = 0.004, d = 2.26), combined with moderate reductions in lateral shift (25.5%, p = 0.004, d = 0.33) and smaller reductions in trunk rotation (arm to vertical at top of backswing: 14.1%, p = 0.002, d = 2.58) indicate golfers favour larger reductions in proximal measures, combined with diminished reductions as variables moved distally. Furthermore, the partial swing was not found to be a scaled version of the full swing implying a new approach to coaching practices might be considered.
Keywords: Coordination; hitting/batting; motion analysis.