The influence of club-head kinematics on early ball flight characteristics in the golf drive
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Despite many coaching and biomechanical texts describing how the kinematics of the club-head at impact lead to distance and accuracy of the ball flight, there is limited quantitative evidence supporting these assertions. The purpose of this study was to quantify the relationships between club-head kinematics and subsequent early ball flight characteristics during the golf drive. An opto-reflective system operating at 400 Hz was used to capture the swings of 21 male golfers using their own drivers. The 3D displacement data permitted the calculation of club-head kinematics at impact, as well as subsequent early ball flight characteristics. Using regression analyses, club-head kinematics at impact (velocity, orientation, path, and centeredness) were used to explain the variability in five dependent variables of early ball flight characteristics (resultant velocity, launch angle, side angle, back spin, and side spin). The results of the study indicated that club-head kinematics at impact explained a significant proportion of early ball flight characteristics (adjusted r 2 = 0.71-0.82), even when generalized across individual clubs.