Can practicing from mats be a cause for concern for elite golfers? : A study examining the wrist angles when striking from a mat compared to striking from grass
The aim of the study was to examine the wrist angles at impact when striking from two surfaces common in golf. The research question was: is there a difference in ulnar/radial deviation or flexion/extension at the wrists when striking from a mat placed on a steel platform compared to striking from grass.
Six male elite golf players (Handicap: +0.6±2.2) were recruited for the study. An optoelectronic system containing 12 infrared cameras captured reflective markers placed on the participants and on a golf club when they performed three shots from a mat and three shots from grass. The markers were identified in the Qualisys Track Manager software and the marker trajectories were imported into Visual 3D. Reflective markers were placed bilaterally on the medial and lateral epicondyle of the humerus, the radial and ulnar styloid processes, and the 2nd and 5th metacarpophalangeal joint. In addition, an elbow joint marker was calculated as the midpoint of the two elbow markers. The local frames were defined from these markers giving the proximal and distal ends of segments and the frontal plane.The wrist angles were defined as the orientation of the local frame of the hand segment relative to the orientation of the local frame of the forearm segment. Flexion/extension and ulnar/radial deviation of the wrists were calculated at impact.
There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in ulnar deviation or flexion/extension at impact for either wrist between the two conditions.
No significant differences in the wrist angles at impact between the two conditions indicate that the wrist position did not change significantly between the two conditions. This may be positive from a learning perspective since the technique does not change irrespective of the condition. Furthermore since there was no significant difference in ulnar deviation at impact between the two conditions, the ulnar deviation at impact is presumably not a reason for why players and researchers suggest that playing from mats is more injurious than playing from grass. The reason could be due to differences in the loads on the wrists when striking from the different surfaces. Future research should therefore be conducted to examine the differences in loading of the wrist joints between the two conditions.
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