The Golf Science Geek

Are you that golfer who loves to understand the science behind every movement of the golf swing? You try to determine the optimal aspect of every movement to ensure that you are hitting the ball the best you can. There is something to be said about this approach to golf swing mechanics, but I think that it is far too complicated for the average player and more basic scientific approach to golf is required. Let me explain:

I started researching the science behind a golf swing and I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of data that was available. So, I decided to keep it simple and checked for a video and not surprisingly, I found one from the USGA that was perfect for may approach a golf swing. Take a look:

I think that these three concepts: double pendulum affect, centrifugal force, and torque are the main concepts that I focus on when practicing. It really does not get more complicated those topics. However, and this is a big however, how I apply these scientific concepts to my swing is where the rubber meets the road.

The double pendulum affect is not too bad for me. I have developed a fairly consistent golf swing using my shoulders and wrists. Unfortunately, when I try to swing to hard, my wrists unhinge quicker and I have a tendency to cast my club. This definitely takes away from my distance and accuracy. I work on holding the 90° angle between my forearms and wrists longer, but it is a constant challenge. Ernie Els describes it very well.

Centrifugal force is the next aspect of the swing that I work on by trying to have as large shoulder rotation as possible. This can be a physical limitation for some players and as I get older, working on my flexibility is definitely a must. I learned a long time ago that a large arc is important to generate the club head speed I need to hit the ball long and consistent. This part of the science makes the most sense to me. However, if you cannot rotate you shoulders well, then try to improve the next scientific concept of torque.

Torque is a challenge for me. I generate some separation between my upper and lower body during a swing, but not as much as I could. Whenever I try to great more torque I seem to throw off my balance and tempo. I will continue to work on this scientific concept over the winter to see if I can improve my ball striking.

As you can see, there is a fair bit of science involved in a golf swing. There is a great deal more, but if we focus on the double pendulum affect, centrifugal force, and torque, our golf swings will hit the 80% solution. There are so many sub-areas for the ‘big three’ to keep my science geek thinking satisfied for a very long time.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


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