Distance and Slope Constraints: Adaptation and Variability in Golf Putting

in Motor Control
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The main objective of this study is to understand the adaptation to external constraints and the effects of variability in a golf putting task. We describe the adaptation of relevant variables of golf putting to the distance to the hole and to the addition of a slope. The sample consisted of 10 adult male (33.80 ± 11.89 years), volunteers, right handed and highly skilled golfers with an average handicap of 10.82. Each player performed 30 putts at distances of 2, 3 and 4 meters (90 trials in Condition 1). The participants also performed 90 trials, at the same distances, with a constraint imposed by a slope (Condition 2). The results indicate that the players change some parameters to adjust to the task constraints, namely the duration of the backswing phase, the speed of the club head and the acceleration at the moment of impact with the ball. The effects of different golf putting distances in the no-slope condition on different kinematic variables suggest a linear adjustment to distance variation that was not observed when in the slope condition.

Dias and Clemente are with the Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. Couceiro and Martins are with the RoboCorp Group, Engineering Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. Barreiros is with the Dept. of Human Movement Science, University of Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal. Mendes is with the Coimbra College of Education Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.

Address author correspondence to Gonçalo Dias at goncalodias@fcdef.uc.pt.