The velocity at which a golf club impacts with a golf ball is known as club head speed. Although club head speed has been used to measure performance changes in a number of golf studies, it has not been validated as a golf performance measure. As handicap is the usual measure of performance, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between club head speed and handicap, and to determine whether club head speed at impact is a valid measure of golfing performance. Forty-five male golfers aged 18-80 years, all with registered golfing handicaps (2-27), participated in this study. Each golfer performed 10 golf swings captured by a high-speed camera. Golfers' club head speeds were determined using Video Expert 2, a biomechanical computer program. Golfers with a lower handicap (ie, a better skill level) had faster club head speeds than higher handicap golfers. Linear regression analysis found club head speed to be highly correlated with handicap (r= 0.950). This relationship was described by the equation: In (club head speed)= 4.065 - 0.0214 × handicap. In conclusion, this study has shown that club head speed is a valid indicator of performance in golfers and may therefore be a useful performance measure in future laboratory-based studies.
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