Sports Engineering

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 37–45 | Cite as

Segmental sequencing of kinetic energy in a computer-simulated golf swing

  • Ian C. Kenny
  • Alex J. McCloy
  • Eric S. Wallace
  • Steve R. Otto
Original Article


The concept of the transfer of kinetic energy (KE) sequentially through the human body from proximal to distal segments is an influential concept in biomechanics literature. The present study develops this area of research through investigation of segmental sequencing of the transfer of KE by means of computer simulation. Using a musculoskeletal computer model previously developed by the authors, driven using three-dimensional kinematic data from a single elite male golfer, combined inverse and forward dynamics analyses enabled derivation of KE. Rigid body segments of torso, hips, arms and clubhead were examined in line with previous literature. Using this method a driver swing was compared to a 7 iron swing. Findings showed a high level of correlation between driver and iron peak KE and timing of peak KE relative to impact. This seems to indicate equivalent trunk and arms linear velocity, thus force applied, for an iron shot and a driver shot. There were highly significant differences between KE output for body segments for both clubs. In addition, peak KE magnitudes increased sequentially from proximal to distal segments during swing simulations for both the driver and 7 iron. This supports the principle of the summation of speed. However, timing of peak KE was not sequential from proximal to distal segments, nor did segments peak simultaneously. Rather, arms peaked first, followed by hips, torso and club. This seems to indicate a subjective optimal coordination of sequencing.


Computer simulation Golf Kinetic energy Segmental sequencing 



We would like to express our thanks to the R&A Rules Limited for their valuable contributions to the study.


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Copyright information

© International Sports Engineering Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian C. Kenny
    • 1
  • Alex J. McCloy
    • 2
  • Eric S. Wallace
    • 2
  • Steve R. Otto
    • 3
  1. 1.Biomechanics Research Unit, Department of Physical Education and Sport SciencesUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.Sport and Exercise Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of UlsterJordanstown, Co. AntrimUK
  3. 3.R&A Rules LimitedFifeScotland, UK

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