HOW good is your golf swing? Whether you’re a bunker tourist or a pro with a nine iron, it’s a skill that every player strives to improve.
Research on how elite and recreational golfers can refine their technique is currently underway at Edinburgh Napier University - and the hope is that their findings may help Scotland’s top golfers triumph in this year’s Ryder Cup.
Dr Susan Brown, a lecturer and sports scientist at the university, is leading research into how players can make the best out of one of the sport’s most fundamental skill.
Using 3D motion capture techniques and the principles of biomechanics, Dr Brown records and collects data from a player’s body movements, which are then analysed to determine where improvements can be made.
Explaining the principle of biomechanics, Dr Brown said: “Biomechanics is enginerering for the body. It’s effectively using the principles of engineering - physics, movement patterns - to take a profile of the body which you can use to identify effective and efficient movement patterns. In sports technique, that generally involves trying to improve a technique, trying to make it more effective, or in some cases trying to make it more efficient.”
Biomechanics research is already aiding elite athletes to make performance gains, according to Dr Brown, and it is hoped that her own studies can help players such as Stephen Gallacher achieve success in Gleneagles.
Dr Brown added that her research is also aimed at helping players and coaches better understand the results of academic research so that they can more readily apply it to everyday coaching practice.
She said: “Historically, research quite often can be driven by academics, and the problem with that can be that when it comes to the end result, and you publish a journal paper, it isn’t actually of much use to the coaches, or the coaches can’t intepret it, or they don’t understand what the impact is on the coaching performance.
“I want to change that and I want to make golf biomechanics research in Scotland much more useful to the coaches and the players.
“So, for example, if we want a Scottish player at the Ryder Cup - and at the moment Stephen Gallacher looks like our best option - then potentially we could help him achieve some marginal gains in performance.”