Q4E Case Study 35 – The Change in Golf Club Kinematics when using Pitching, Sand and Lob Wedges
Proposed subject useage
Sports Science (A/AS level / Degree Yr 1/2)
The golf swing produced by a golfer is heavily influenced by the ability to control the club consistently from swing to swing (Lee et al, 2002).
Ideally, golfers should have a simple, consistent and repeatable golf swing with any variation seen as being detrimental to performance (Glazier & Lamb, 2017).
Golfers are able produce the same final task outcome (i.e the ball landing in the same position) with a variety of different ball flights, clubs and swing mechanics (Langdown et al, 2012).
Aim – The aim of this study was to measure golf club kinematics, to see whether this changes for different wedges and different hitting distances.
One participant was used within this study (n=1, Gender = F, Height = 1.72 m, Mass = 70 kg, Golf Handicap = 14).
The participant was required to perform at least 3 golf shots per club, per yardage.
The clubs were the pitching (PW), sand (SW) and lob wedge (LW).
The target areas were 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards, shown in figure 1.
A USB3 1.3 MP camera (350 fps, 896 x 900), 4.4-11 mm Zoom Lens and LED Light was used to record the video footage of the golf swing.
Reflective tape was placed on three different locations on the golf club (bottom of grip, mid shaft and hosel).
The recording equipment was placed 5 m back from the golfer.
Figure 1. The experimental design.
Figure 2. Shows the different phases of the golf swing that were measured, as well as the complete digitised swing
Automatic Digitisation was used within Quintic Biomechanics software (Coleshill, UK) to measure linear distances, velocities and accelerations of the grip, shaft and hosel, at varying phases of the golf swing, highlighted in figure 2.
Ball speed and launch angle were also recorded.
Table 1: Shows the average length of backswing (LB) in metres, Impact Club Speed (IS) in m/s, Impact Acceleration (IA) in m/s2, Ball Speed (BS) in m/s and Launch Angle (LA) in degrees of the three different clubs at 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards.
Impact Acceleration highlighted that all clubs were decelerating just before the moment of impact, shown in table 1.
For every club, there was an increase in Ball Speed as the yardage increased.
For the pitching wedge, this coincided with an increase in the Length of Backswing for the increasing yardage.
From 30-50 yards there was also an increase in the Length of Backswing for the lob and sand wedge, with both decreasing at 60 yards.
Launch Angle decreased at 60 yards for both the lob and sand wedge, indicating the ball had a lower trajectory to gain the extra yardage required.
Conclusion – The golfer in this study highlighted that there are multiple different ways to swing a golf club to ensure the correct yardage is achieved. For example, playing a shot with a lower trajectory/reducing the launch angle of the shot.
Glazier, Paul & Lamb, Peter. (2017). In Toms, M. (n.d.). Routledge international handbook of golf science.
Langdown, B. L., Bridge, M., & Li, F.-X. (2012). Sports Biomechanics, 11(2), 273–287. https://doi.org/10.1080/14763141.2011.650187
Lee, N.; Erickson, M. & Cherveny, P. (2002). In: E. Thain (Ed.) Science and Golf IV: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf, London: Routledge, pp. 374–386.
Written Case Study