Conditioning Performance Analysis and Development of the Golf Swing

Introduction
Golf is one of the most popular sports played throughout the world and is played at all levels, form beginner to advanced pro levels. One of the great things about golf is that you can compete against anybody of any levels as long as you have a handicap. Over recent years, since Tiger Woods came on to the scene, golf has seen more of a scientific approach with most pros and even elite amateurs implementing fitness programmes into their daily routine in order to improve their performance on the course.
Burden et al. (1998) states that in order to optimise powerful rotational force that translates into the back of the ball via the club head, the athlete requires to produce a series of muscular contractions and joint movements that have to be precise in order to develop an efficient swing. The advantages of having an efficient and powerful golf swing will result in high ball velocity, which in turn will have a positive impact on performance. In addition, an efficient golf swing will require less effort to hit the ball the same distance when compared with someone that has less efficiency (Burden et al, 1998).

It is evident from biomechanical literature that using the longest lever available will result in the greatest force being produced (Cooper et al, 1974). This can be highlighted in the game of golf, where an individual seeks to hit their longest club in the bag when they want to achieve optimal distance. At the elite level in golf, the difference between hitting the ball that extra 5 or 10 yards in the air can be huge. This could be the difference between carrying bunkers off the tee, to going for the green in 2 at a par 5. These finite differences can separate a golfer from his competitors and can be the difference between success and failure.
As previously mentioned, golfers use the driver off the tee when they want to maximise distance. In contrast to this, Iron shots, chipping and putting are more about the feel that the golfer possesses, as the goal is to send the ball to a certain location with a required distance. In order to seek perfection in these categories, hand eye co-ordination is the skill required as opposed to strength and power.
The purpose of this study was to identify the components of fitness that an elite amateur golfer possesses, which would provide the fundamentals for an efficient swing. A battery of tests was constructed that replicated movements in the golf drive. These tests were performed by an elite amateur and recreational club golfer, which would highlight differences between results. A training programme was then constructed for the recreational subject, which would focus on the weaknesses and try to bridge the gap between the novice and elite athlete.
Athlete
Name: Keith Young
Gender: Male
Age: 36
Height: 5’10
Weight: 85kg
Handicap: +2
Club: Gullane
Keith Young is regarded as one of the best amateurs in Scotland and has been for many years. Keith has played at all levels of the game, representing his county and country along the way, together with turning pro for a spell earlier in his career. Keith was chosen for this project due to his past experience of competing at the top level, which will enable a true comparison to be drawn between an elite and novice golfer.
Novice/Control
Name: Stuart Brown
Gender: Male
Age: 39
Height: 5’9
Weight: 80kg
Handicap: 15
Club: Glencorse
Stuart has been playing golf for less than a year and in comparison to Keith he has a high handicap, which will enable the differences in physiological components of fitness to be highlighted in the golf swing.
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