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SWING EFFICIENCY

and the KINEMATIC SEQUENCE

Swing efficiency indicates how much of a golfer’s physical energy in the swing is converted into useful power through impact. In simple terms, efficiency is the ratio of energy input to energy output. There are no units of speed or power, just how much you get out from what you put in. It effectively means that a golfer with less power and a slower speed can learn to maximize energy transfer using the same biomechanics principles as a golfer with greater power and speed. There is hope for improvement for everyone who plays golf.

This view of the swing allows us to examine swing motion independently from the study of the forces used to generate the motion. Kinematics is the study of motion without consideration of the forces (kinetics) that caused the movement. In the kinematic approach, we can analyze the geometry of the motion of pelvis, thorax, and arms/hands by measuring how their velocities change during that movement. 

When body segments  are considered together we can think of them as a kinematic chain and analyze how each segment in the chain moves through the swing by 3D motion capture. The kinematic sequence by which these critical body segments accelerate and decelerate during the swing, and the timing of these movements provides a measure of swing efficiency. 

We have a good idea about what an efficient swing looks like from detailed analysis of the best professional golf swings in the world. A large TPI database of the kinematic sequence measurements from thousands of these swings reveals an optimum pattern and range of rotational movements for each body segment that works to swing a club. Althought there are many different ways to swing a golf club, each style has a most efficient pattern that is shared in common. In the most efficient swings, hips lead the upper body followed by the arms in the transition from backswing to downswing and in the downswing through impact.

Your swing kinematics can be compared with these patterns and ranges to let you know if you rotate enough, too much, or just right, and whether the sequence and timing of your swing movements are optimal for generating maximum power. You learn your swing biomechanics and what movements need to be optimized to achieve your full potential. Conventional video will help describe your swing characteristics, but kinematic sequence analysis is needed to measure swing efficiency. 

Kinematic sequence analysis combined with functional movement assessments can reveal the underlying physical restrictions that reduce swing efficiency. This approach forms the basis for an exercise plan and an instructional plan to focus on the essential areas that will most benefit your swing and help improve your game.