There are many field base fitness assessments available in the golf industry today. Many of which cover many aspects of the golf game and all help test and assess athlete’s bodies in the best possible way, to show areas of weakness and areas to improve upon. Field-based assessments can be implicated with specialist equipment as well as little, to no equipment at all. In this assignment, I will discuss which field-based assessment best suit the golf industry and have the biggest impact and relevance to the golf game.
Flexibility refers to the range of movement available around different joints and muscles in the body to allow bending movement and motion. Flexibility is a key part of the golf swing with different parts of the body flexing and other parts contracting in order to allow fluent movement during the swing. There are many different field-based fitness tests available which test key aspects of the body which are very relevant to the golf swing.
Pelvic Tilt is the first flexibility field-based assessment, this test focuses on the pelvic movement and posture in the golf swing. The mobility of the hips in the lumbar spine is tested, as the pelvis is the power transfer in the golf swing. The pelvic tilt test is very simply conducted by getting your player into the address position with their arms across their chest. From here you can access the player’s posture ranging from a C – posture, S – posture and an N – posture. Anteriorly (forward) and posteriorly (backward) movement of the pelvis can be assessed from the address position.
Pelvic Rotation test simply requires the player to get in the address position with their arms across their chest and try to rotate their lower body without moving their upper body at the same time. A solid result of the Pelvic rotation test is no movement above the waistline. The Torso rotation test is the opposite of the Pelvic rotation test requiring the upper body to be rotated without the lower body moving.
(See Appendix A for Diagrams on three tests)
The three flexibility tests all have great relevance to golf, they all focus on stability and mobility in the golf swing. The golf swings the main movement created is rotation in the lower and upper body, the use of rotation allows power to be generated in the golf swing to increase the distance the golf ball travels. (TPI, 2013) The three tests which include Pelvic Tilt, Pelvic rotation and Torso rotation test all focus on allowing a better swing sequence to be made by testing the mobility of players.
The main issue that most amateur golfers have is that they have little to no mobility in their golf swing. This lack of mobility leads to poor stability causing off balances in the golf swing leading to a lack of rotation in the upper and lower sections of the body, causing players to use mainly their arms to generate power in their swing.
The main factors of mobility that are tested include Rotational mobility, Hip mobility, and Pelvis mobility. Pelvic rotation and Torso rotation checks for player’s ability to rotate the lower body and upper body, the golf swing is very clearly made up of rotation and this test allows us to see how much rotation a player can generate. The tests also allow for Mobility and stability to be tested which often leads to the findings of issues revolving with the swing and can lead to exercises being created to create better stability and mobility. Stability and mobility often lead to much more solid golf swing with zero to little off balance. Another key factor tested in these tests is the fluency of motion (Rose, 2013). If a player has a good stable fluency of motion, their golf swing will be smoother and more consistent than a player with a poor fluency of motion. In the Pelvic tilt, test fluency is very easily seen, through the pelvis movement, most players cannot fluently tilt their pelvis forward and backward without a mobility issue becoming evident.
These tests are all valid to golf as they test the mobility, stability, rotation, and fluency of movement in the golf swing. These tests all us to see weaknesses and mobility issues in players which could be affected their overall golf swing. By finding these mobility issues, exercises and drills can be created in order to slowly remove and improve the mobility issue allowing for a much fluent golf swing.
VARTEC for the three Flexibility tests.
Validity – All three fitness tests, test flexibility as a whole as well as mobility and stability within the player’s golf stance.
Accuracy – All three tests are very accurate as the mobility issues can be very easily seen from the movement of the players during the three fitness tests.
Reliability – The three tests generate results which are accurate and the results are very easily seen in the movements during the tests, making the tests reliable.
Time – The Three tests in total take ten to fifteen minutes to conduct properly and in-depth.
Equipment – Minimum equipment is needed for these flexibility tests. Equipment needed includes a golf club and alignment sticks.
Cost – All three tests are low cost.
Muscular strength is another key factor in golf, the golf swing is predominantly all upper body with the pelvis and hips creating a turning effect to generate power. Muscular strength can be tested through two field-based assessments which include the One Rep Max Bench Press and the Handgrip Dynamometer Test. This tests can both be very simply conducted requiring minimum equipment.
The One Rep bench press test (Baechle, 2004) required a bench, bar, and weights. The player has to simply bench as much weight as they can in one Rep. The player is allowed to build the weight up to a level they are comfortable with benching. The Hand Grip dynamometer test (Hamilton, 1992) focuses solely on the strength of the player grip. The Dynamometer is a piece of special equipment that measures the force exerted from the hand grip. The player has to simply have the arm down by their sides and exert a strong grip on the dynamometer. This is repeated with both hands and the force exerted is shown in kilograms.
(See Appendix B for test diagrams)
These tests are also two of the most relevant field-based tests to golf. They test muscular strength which is key in a golf swing. The golf swing uses upper and lower body strength with the One Rep bench press focusing more on the upper body, creating a weight against the player who then can exert and create power to push up. The golf swing is similar to this as the player starts in a neutral position at address and then winds backward and releases the tension to create power and momentum on the downswing.
The handgrip dynamometer test replicates the pressure exerted from a player’s grip on the golf club. The test is extremely relevant as it allows the players to calculate the force they are applying to the golf club and whether or not they need to improve their grip strength. Muscular strength can improve clubhead speed, driving and shot distance as well as ball speed (Torres-Ronda, 2011). The increase in muscular strength can result in these improvements, however becoming too muscular and gaining large amounts of muscular weight will have an adverse effect on the technique of the golf swing. Results have shown that the 1 Rep Max bench Press and Hand Grip test are relevant to golf and to the improvement of performance, when conducted correctly and carried out during a golf specialist training plan (Torres-Ronda, 2011).
The One Rep max test and the handgrip dynamometer test are both valid to golf. The two tests create movements that are replicated in the golf swing. The One Rep bench press replicates explosive movement in order to move the weight up and down, just like the golf swing requires explosiveness to move the golf club to create speed in the swing. The Handgrip dynamometer test is the most relevant test as it replicates the golf club grip. Players vary in how they hold their golf clubs, some may hold is loosely why others will grip it strongly and apply large amounts of pressure. This test allows players to gain an understanding of how strong their grip is and how it may be applied to a golf club. The way in which a golf club is held can have an impact on how they hit the ball. Strong grip often leads to a draw/pull and a softer grip can lead to a more straighter/faded golf shot (Adjusting your Grip Strength and its Effects in Golf, 2016).
VARTEC for Muscular Strength Assessments
Validity – Both fitness tests, test muscular strength as a whole. The golf swing involves the use of over 65% of the bodies muscles (Stern, 2017), (McHardy, 2005)
Accuracy –Both Muscular and handgrip tests are very accurate as the main aim of the test is to exert force. The tests are accurately measured in kilograms.
Reliability – Both tests generate results which are accurate and the results are very easily seen in the weights achieved during the tests, making the tests reliable.
Time – Both tests in total take fifteen to twenty minutes to conduct properly and in-depth.
Equipment – Equipment needed includes bench, weights, weight bar and a handgrip dynamometer.
Cost – Higher cost tests for equipment, however, can be conducted in a local gym.
Another relevant Field-based assessment to golf is Power-based assessments. There are two main assessments in the power category that best link to golf. These include the Seated Medicine ball throw and the Supine Medicine ball sit-up and throw tests. These tests are simply conducted and involve little to no equipment, with only a medicine ball being required.
The two tests can be simply carried out with the Seated Medicine ball throw test requiring the player to sit in a chair, hold the medicine ball up by the chest and throw it vertically out from their chest. The distance of the ball flight is measured in meters for both tests. The Supine Medicine ball sit-up throw requires the athlete to lay in the sit-up position with their arms holding the ball behind their head. A sit-up is performed with the ball being thrown on the sit-up.
(See Appendix C for test diagrams)
The main things that are tested in these field base assessments are Muscles including the biceps, triceps, deltoids, radius, brachioradialis and abdominal muscles (Stern, 2017). These muscles are all used in the golf swing, this test allows power or explosiveness to be generated by exerting quick movement on the muscles to throw the medicine ball. The main muscles used are the core muscles which are the main foundation of a stable and explosive golf swing. Strengthening the core muscles will allow for greater rotation as well as increased stability and mobility during the golf swing.
These Power tests are valid to golf mainly for the fact that golf is a game that involves explosive movement in order to hit the ball. The two medicine ball assessments both show explosive the athlete is. The two assessments focus on the use of many of the core muscles and the upper body muscles including the arms. These assessments can be used to build up core strength, which will have an adverse effect on how explosive a player’s golf swing can become. The use of training with a medicine ball can, in fact, improve a players downswing (Kaspriske, 2014).
VARTEC for both Power assessments.
Validity – The two Power fitness tests, test power as a whole. Creating results from how explosive the player can be, achieving a further throw distance.
Accuracy – Both tests are very accurate as the power of the player can be very easily seen from the medicine ball throw, which reflects from the end distance of the throw.
Reliability – The two tests generate results which are accurate and the results are very easily seen from the distance in which the medicine ball travels, making the tests reliable.
Time – The Two tests in total take ten to fifteen minutes to conduct properly and in-depth.
Equipment – Minimum equipment is needed for these Power assessments. Equipment needed includes a golf Medicine ball, chair, gym matt and a tape measure.
Cost – Medium cost.
In Conclusion, the field based assessments above all have great relevance to the golf industry. The tests provide precise and clear steps which give valid and reliable results. These results can be used to further develop players by creating exercise plan’s which will be based on improving either Power, Muscular strength or flexibility issues. These assessments are used largely in the professional golf game for elite player’s, however, these simple assessments are overlooked by the amateur golfing world. These tests can create excellent results for amateur golfers which will allow for further development and improvement in amateur golf levels.