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Distance and slope constraints: adaptation and variability in golf putting

Dias , G. ; Couceiro, M. Couceiro ; Barreiros, J. M. P. ; Clemente, F.M.C. ; Mendes, R. ; Martins, F.

Motor Control Vol. 18, Nº 3, pp. 221 - 243, July, 2014.

ISSN (print): 1087-1640
ISSN (online): 1543-2696

Journal Impact Factor: 1,453 (in 2013)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1123/mc.2013-0055.

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 on ten male golfers, adults (33.80 ± 11.89 years), volunteers, right handed and experts (10.82 ± 5.4 handicap). Each player performed 30 putts at the distances of 2, 3 and 4 meters (90 trials in Condition One). The participants also performed 90 trials, at the same distances, with a constraint imposed by a slope (Condition Two). 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.

Keywords: task constraints, golf putting, variability, motor control.