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Expert performance in golf
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The competition in elite golf is fierce. Players therefore often have psychological, physical, and technical experts supporting them. The associations between these experts focus areas and how they relate to the playing results are valuable to understand, in order to create more effective training programs. The aim of this thesis is therefore to investigate the relationships between physique, technique, and playing results in golf, and to integrate these findings with psychological research on elite golfers.

Two review studies (A and B) and three empirical studies (I, II, and III) are included. Study A and B provide a theoretical foundation where the relationship of psychological, physiological, and technical variables to playing results is reviewed. The empirical studies (Study I, II, and III) were selected based on the findings in the reviews and the applied needs.

Study I shows that some stability test results are strongly correlated to swing technique. Study II found that strength tests as measured in absolute strength or power are strongly correlated to clubhead speed for elite players, but relative strength (percentage of body mass) is not. Study III used PGA Tour ShotLink statistics collected over a year to investigate tee shot accuracy, striking distance, and hole scores. It was found that the ability to hit the ball with high accuracy and a long distance is strongly correlated with low hole scores. Furthermore, the type of fairway miss is relevant to consider as well as striking distance in relation to the distance of the hole.

These results may be used to make gap and needs profiles. Task, personal, and environmental variables should also be considered before giving training advice based on test results. Future studies should further investigate the causality between key areas and playing results, and test the validity of models that may be used to analyze and set goals for elite golfers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2012. , p. 92
Series
Örebro Studies in Sport Sciences, ISSN 1654-7535 ; 16
Keywords [en]
Golf, professional, world-class, expert, psychology, physique, technique, game statistics, tournament
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-21337ISBN: 978-91-7668-851-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-21337DiVA, id: diva2:483903
Public defence
2012-02-22, Hörsal G, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

The Swedish National Center for Research in Sports (CIF) and The Swedish Golf Federation financially supported this doctoral dissertation. US PGA Tour and ShotLink supported Study III by collecting and sorting a large amount of game statistical data.

Available from: 2012-01-26 Created: 2012-01-26 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Competitive elite golf: a review of the relationships between playing results, technique and physique
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competitive elite golf: a review of the relationships between playing results, technique and physique
2009 (English)In: Sports Medicine, ISSN 0112-1642, E-ISSN 1179-2035, Vol. 39, no 9, p. 723-741Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Elite golfers commonly use fitness and technical training to become more competitive. The aim of this paper was to review the literature regarding the relationships between elite golfers' playing results, technique and physique. The competitive outcome is a direct function of the score. The three golf statistical measures that show the strongest correlations to scoring average are greens in regulation (GIR), scrambling, and putts per GIR. However, more detailed game statistics are needed where the distances to the targets are known before and after the strokes.

Players affect ball displacement by controlling clubhead velocity and clubface angle during club and ball impact. X-factor studies have produced ambiguous results, possibly caused by different definitions of upper torso, rotation and top of backswing. Higher clubhead speed is generally associated with larger spinal rotation and shoulder girdle protraction at the top of the backswing. It is also associated with higher ground reaction forces and torques, a bottom-up and sequential increase of body segment angular velocities, a rapid increase of spinal rotation and a late adduction of the wrists during the downswing. Players can increase the clubhead speed generated by a swinging motion by actively adding a force couple. Wrist, elbow and shoulder force couple strategies should be differentiated when investigating the technique.

Physical parameters such as anthropometrics, strength and flexibility are associated with skill level and clubhead speed. Current studies have investigated the linear correlation between arm and shaft lengths and clubhead speed, but a quadratic relationship may be stronger due to changes in moment of inertia. Fitness training can increase and perhaps decrease the clubhead speed and striking distance, depending on training methods and the player's fitness and level of skill. Future studies may focus on individual training needs and the relationship between physique, execution and its relation to accuracy of impact and ball displacement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Adis, 2009
Keywords
Competetive elite golf
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7780 (URN)10.2165/11315200-000000000-00000 (DOI)000269773900003 ()19691363 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-68949213734 (Scopus ID)
Note

Funding Agency:

The Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports 

Available from: 2009-08-31 Created: 2009-08-31 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Psychological hallmarks of skilled golfers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychological hallmarks of skilled golfers
2009 (English)In: Sports Medicine, ISSN 0112-1642, E-ISSN 1179-2035, Vol. 39, no 10, p. 845-855Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, the psychological hallmarks of skilled golfers (professionals and amateurs with handicaps of <= 4) are investigated. Professional golfers believe that attitude, desire and motivation are important psychological qualities necessary to succeed in tournaments. They are committed to golf, have goals they strive for, make plans, evaluate their performance and systematically train towards improving their game. The study of skilled golfers' traits, as measured by 16 personality factors, has provided ambiguous results and there may be more complex associations not yet investigated in golf. The effect of mood and emotions on golf scores seems to be individual. Differences in personality may explain why mood states, measured by mood state profiles, have not shown a strong correlation to golf scores. Task focus, confidence, imagery, patience, ability to focus on one shot at a time and performing automatically have been found to be important during competition. These variables need to be further researched before, during and after the swing. The psychological processes needed before, during and after the swing differ and should be further specified. A decrease in heart rate and a lower cortical activity moment before the swing may be signs of an optimal performance state. The effect of coping strategies may vary over time, and players should be able to switch and combine different strategies. Pre-shot routine is associated with performance. However, it is not clear if consistency of total duration and behavioural content in pre-shot routine cause improved performance. Pre-shot routine may also be an effect of psychological processes, such as a different task focus. It may facilitate an automatic execution of technique, which can lead to better performance. The psychological variables needed for competitive golf should be related to the physical, technical and game-statistical variables in coaching and future research.

National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-13203 (URN)10.2165/11317760-000000000-00000 (DOI)000270758400004 ()
Available from: 2011-01-17 Created: 2011-01-11 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. The association between stability and swing kinematics of skilled high school golfers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The association between stability and swing kinematics of skilled high school golfers
2008 (English)In: Science and Golf V: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf / [ed] Debbie Crews, Rafer Lutz, Mesa AZ: Energy in Motion, Inc , 2008, p. 37-43Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to investigate the possible relation between common stability tests and the linear and angular kinematics of the pelvis and upper torso. The stability and swing kinematics of 18 skilled high school golfers (mean hcp=-1.9) were measured. Scores obtained from the stability tests were related to both linear and angular kinematics. A decrease in stability in the prone bridge test and one-legged squat was associated with upper body sway away from target during the backswing. Furthermore, a decrease in stability in one-legged squat and supine hip extension was correlated to greater backswing rotation of the pelvis and upper torso. These three tests may provide useful information when deciding whether stability training should be considered to overcome specific technical shortcomings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mesa AZ: Energy in Motion, Inc, 2008
Keywords
Golf, swing kinematics, stability
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-21329 (URN)0978873416 (ISBN)9780978873417 (ISBN)
Conference
World scientific congress of golf V, Phoenix 2008
Available from: 2012-01-26 Created: 2012-01-26 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
4. The relation between physical tests, measures, and clubhead speed in elite golfers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relation between physical tests, measures, and clubhead speed in elite golfers
2008 (English)In: International journal of sports science & coaching, ISSN 1747-9541, E-ISSN 2048-397X, Vol. 3, no Supplement 1, p. 85-92Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between selected physical tests and clubhead speed, and whether body mass should be considered when presenting the test results. Thirty-three male elite golfers (estimated skill range: hcp +5 to 0, age 18-30 years) participated in the study. The following test categories were measured and compared to clubhead speed with Pearson r correlation: vertical jumps (squat jump, counter movement jump, and counter movement jumps with arm swing); body mass strength (bar dips, pull-ups and vertical sit-ups); one repetition maximal strength (1-RM) (left grip, right grip and squat); and sprint (10 and 20 m). The tests and measures significantly (p < 0.05) related to clubhead speed were body mass, all vertical jumps (peak power and jump height), sprint (mean power), right grip (mass), squat (mass), bar dips (repetitions × body mass), and vertical sit-ups (repetitions × body mass). These tests may be selected when players and coaches wish to analyse physical test results associated to clubhead speed. Peak power in vertical jumps is more strongly related to clubhead speed than jump height, but jump height may be used too. In sprint, mean power should be used for feedback instead of sprint time. Strength test results should be presented in absolute values (kg), not as relative strength. Body mass should be considered in vertical jumps, sprints, and body mass strength tests, but not in 1RM strength tests with external resistance.

Keywords
Body Mass, Clubhead Speed, Golf Fitness
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-21330 (URN)10.1260/174795408785024207 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-01-26 Created: 2012-01-26 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. Drive for dough: PGA Tour golfers tee shot accuracy, distance and hole score
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Drive for dough: PGA Tour golfers tee shot accuracy, distance and hole score
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A player's ability to score low is critical to the tournament outcome in golf. The relations of round scores to fairways hit in regulation or striking distance on two holes per round have been investigated before with some disagreements. The purpose is therefore to examine the relations of hole scores to tee shot accuracy employing several categories and striking distance on par-4 and par-5 holes. The best US PGA tour players' statistics during a season are used, provided by the PGA Tour and ShotLink. Accuracy is categorized as hits of fairway, semi-rough, rough, fairway bunker, water hazard or unplayable, and out of bounds or lost. Distance was measured with laser cameras. It is concluded that the ability to hit the ball with high accuracy and a long distance is strongly correlated with low hole scores. Furthermore, the type of fairway miss is relevant to consider as well as striking distance in relation to the distance of the hole.

Keywords
Golf, PGA tour, striking distance, functional accuracy, score
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-21335 (URN)
Available from: 2012-01-26 Created: 2012-01-26 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Hellström, John

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