Hello everyone. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve had a new post. My schedule has been hectic lately with the onset of a new golf season and all the frantic work on the re-design of the website with Matt Berry, needless to say my schedule has been full. In this post I will go over some anatomical facts and how golf can been related to a few different sciences.
Any in-depth study into the mechanics of golf performance could lead one into several branches of science. Kinesiology (also referred to as Bio-mechanics), is the study of human motion. The foundation discipline necessary for studying kinesiology is Human Anatomy, or how the body is constructed. Physics, or a division of physics know as mechanics, has application to Kinesiology by investigating, among other things, the mechanical transfer of energy, such as when the clubhead meets the ball. Geometry is a science defining, comparing and measuring lines, angles, surfaces, ect., can be related to the study of the golf swing as well. Through this post my goal is to have the reader’s interested piqued sufficiently to pursue the matter in more depth.
The human body consists of some 210 bones of a variety of sizes and shapes. Short bones, as in the ankle and wrist: long bones as found in the leg and arm; and flat bones of the skull and breast. These bones are connected to each other by ligaments. Some bones are arranged in link fashion allowing versatility in human movement. Surprising velocity when applied in sequential fashion such as occurs in a good golf swing.
The body is equipped with over 600 skeletal or striated muscles which are attached to the bones and serve to produce the power for the movement of the skeletal structure. These act like a cable pulling up a drawbridge or pulling up a door closed. Muscles represent approximately 43% of one’s body weight and have the capacity only to pull not push. The term muscle comes from the Latin word for mouse. Like a mouse, a muscle has a “body” which is the muscle itself, and a “tail,” which is the tendon. The tendon acts as an extension of the muscle, and attaches the muscle to a bone. To limit the range of motion that a muscle can move bone, and also to tie the bones together, a series of ligaments are attached to the bones at many joints in the body.
Bones and muscles need a blood supply to maintain and repair themselves. The physically well-trained person will heal more rapidly than the untrained because of the greater number of capillaries developed through increased blood flow from exercise.
This is one of the advantages of walking the golf course. The muscles of the legs massage the blood vessels, aiding in circulation that also helps strengthen bone structure. In addition, such exercise promote a strong and supple musculature for protection against joint injuries.
Besides helping blood circulation, leg muscles help maintain body balance during the swing. Muscles are also important in creating a good swing posture. But, more frequently we think of muscles as the motors that move every part of the body. You can’t talk, breathe, eat or blink without using your muscles. all muscles produce movement in the same manner. By contracting they shorten, pulling on tendons or attachments which in turn move bones.
Muscles also have a variety of shapes. These shapes influence their potential force. A muscle’s force depends on its physiological cross-section or size and where it is attached to the bone in relation to the joint. The golfer has no control over the attachment location or the length of the bone but, through training, can influence the cross-section. Biomechanical scientists are aware of the origin and insertions of the various muscles and can prescribe exercises to strengthen those muscles. They also can analyze the movements to see if they are technically efficient for the activity being performed.
Understanding the human body, how it works and how it transfers energy to produce the flight of a ball will not in itself make a person a great golfer. In fact, it would be difficult to find, among teachers or players, anything but a handful of individuals conversant in-depth on these subjects. But in this new age of scientific applications to sport, with the use of computerized biomechanical digitizing and three-dimensional simulations complete with analyses, is a great advantage to have some basic understanding of science, particularly of anatomy and kinesiology, when teaching the golf swing.
Now that you now know more about the sciences and human anatomy involved in golf, you can train your body and muscles to improve your game. Until next time,