Inter-and intra-individual movement variability in the golf swing

Authored by: Paul S. Glazier , Peter F. Lamb

Routledge International Handbook of Golf Science

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138189126
eBook ISBN: 9781315641782
Adobe ISBN:


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The golf swing has come under more scrutiny than perhaps any other sports technique, if not in the scientific literature, certainly in the sports coaching literature, popular press, and television coverage. The exact reason for this attention is unclear but it is likely to be related to the unique task constraints of golf (i.e., the spatial and temporal certainty of hitting a stationary ball to a stationary target often several hundred metres away) and the general perception that technique and performance in golf, perhaps more so than in any other sport, are inimitably linked (i.e., a better technique leads to better performance). Most coaching manuals, magazine articles, and instructional videos on golf advocate that the key to improving a golfer’s game and lowering his or her score is the development of a simple, consistent, and repeatable golf swing (e.g., Leadbetter & Huggan, 1990). A set grip, stance, backswing, downswing, and follow-through have typically been promoted, which are presumed to represent a ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ golf swing that every aspiring golfer wishing to improve his or her game should aim to achieve and golf-coaching practitioners can use as a template to compare their students’ techniques against to identify faults, prescribe fixes, and evaluate injury risk (e.g., Sherman & Finch, 1999; Sherman et al., 2001; Smith et al., 2015). The general consensus of opinion, therefore, appears to be that inter- and intra-individual movement variability 1 in the golf swing is detrimental to performance and should be eliminated or coached out.

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