• A. Finch
  • G. Ariel
  • A. Penny


INTRODUCTION This study examined the effectiveness of a golf putter prototype and a traditional blade putter on the joint action necessary to complete a medium distance putt. A kinematic analysis of the upper body joints and torso actions was performed to determine if the putting technique utilized with the experimental style putter could reduce the joint action variability needed for the execution of a putt. METHODS Video graphic records were taken from a frontal and a 45 degree side view of 6 experienced golfers performing putts with a conventional and an experimental putter. This blade redesign resulted in the golfers supporting the golf club shaft along the anterior surface of their arm while crouched and facing the cup. This repositioning permitted the sighting of the cup with a frontal view rather than the traditional tilted side view. The subjects were permitted practice trials until they felt comfortable using each putter. Three putts with each putter from the same distance and position from the cup were performed oudoors at a golf club in California and videotaped at the rate of 60 fields per second. A 3-D reference cube using 11 fiducial points was placed in the field of view of both cameras simultaneously in order to convert the video images to real life scale. The third trial using each putter was selected for kinematic analysis and the camera view from each videotape was digitized using an Ariel MAS performance analysis system. Twenty-three data points were digitized and the 2 camera views were synchronized by identifying the ball contact frame and transformed using DLT and coordinates were smoothed using quentic spline with an error value of 2. The 3-D ROMs of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and torso and putting stroke displacement were calculated for the 3rd trial using each putter. RESULTS Related t-tests were performed on the ROM data and putting stroke displacements for the two styles of putter. The traditional putting techniques exhibited 15.4 deg of flexion at the shoulder, 6.8 and 8.0 deg ROMs at the elbow and wrist joints. The new putter design afforded 9.9, 3.5, and 4.4 deg ROMs (flexionlextension) in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. The traditional putter utilized a total of 30.1 deg ROM in the upper body while the experimental putter exhibited a significant (p =. 10) different total ROM of 17.8 deg. The traditional putter needed. 4.4 deg. Of spinal rotation while a significantly smaller (p =. 033) amount of torso rotation 2.9 deg was needed when putting with the new putter. A putting stroke displacement of 14.7 cm and 11.0 cm was found for the traditional and expdmental putter (p =. 022). CONCLUSIONS The new putter design utilized 59% of the putting motion required by a traditional putting technique. This smaller ROM required to complete the forwardhackward movement would indicate that the new putter design produced a more efficient putting stroke to push the ball while reducing the joint ROM variability and likelihood for error