Glossary

Unfamiliar with some of the terms used by Golf Loopy?  Consult this glossary so you don’t miss a thing.

 

Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles are a group of muscles that extend from various places on the ribs to various places on the pelvis.  They provide movement and support to the trunk, often called the core.  They also assist in the breathing process.

See Abdominal muscles for more information.

 

Abduction

In anatomy, abduction is a movement which draws a limb away from the median sagittal plane of the body.  It is opposed to adduction.

Wrist Abduction (Radial Deviation) — moving the thumb side of the hand toward the lateral side of the forearm, more commonly known as “cocking” or “hinging” your wrist — see Wrist Articulations for more information.

Shoulder Abduction is the lateral movement of the arm away from the midline of the body;  moving the upper arm up to the side away from the body.

Shoulder Transverse Abduction is the lateral movement away from the midline of the body in a horizontal plane; moving the upper arm away from the chest with the elbows facing down.

 

Adduction

Wrist Adduction (Ulnar Deviation) — moving the little finger side of the hand toward the medial side of the forearm, sometimes referred to as “uncocking” or “unhinging” your wrist — see Wrist Articulations for more information.

In anatomy, adduction is a movement which brings a part of the anatomy closer to the middle sagittal plane of the body.  It is opposed to abduction.

 

Attack Angle

Attack angle is the vertical (up-down) angle at which the club head is moving at impact.  A positive attack angle means hitting up on the ball, while negative means hitting down on the ball.

A positive attack angle with the driver promotes a high launch angle with low spin.  Most highly skilled players have a slightly positive attack angle when using a driver.

All highly skilled players have a negative attack angle when using any club, other than the driver — they hit down on the ball.

 

Backspin

See Spin Rate and Spin Axis.

 

Ball Speed

Ball speed is the velocity of the golf ball immediately after impact, measured in miles per hour.  Higher ball speed usually results in greater distance.

Ball speed depends on variables including club head speed, impact location and face angle, and varies from player to player.

 

Carry

Carry is how far the ball travels in the air before hitting the ground.

 

Club Head Speed

Club head speed is the velocity of the centre of the clubface, measured just before impact.

 

Club Path

Club path is the horizontal (left-right) angle at which the club head is moving at impact, relative to the target line.  Positive means to the right (inside-out for a right hand golfer), negative means to the left (outside-in for a right hand golfer).

Highly skilled players tend hit the ball with a slightly positive (inside-out) path, most amateur golfers tend to have a negative (outside-in) path.

 

Core Muscles

The muscles of the core run the length of the trunk and torso.  A strong core reduces back pain, improves athletic performance, and helps correct postural imbalances that can lead to injuries.

See Core muscles for more information.

 

Deltoid Muscle

The deltoid muscle is the the triangular muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder.

See Deltoid muscle for more information.

 

Dorsiflexion

See Extension.

 

Dynamic Loft

Dynamic loft is the loft (angle) of the part of the club that makes impact with, and influences the initial direction of, the golf ball, relative to vertical (vertical = zero degrees).

It is the angle between the club face orientation and the club head direction at the point of impact.

 

Erector Spinae Muscles

The extensor muscles are attached to the posterior (back) of the spine and enable standing and lifting objects.  These muscles include the large paired erector spinae muscles, which help hold up the spine, and the gluteal musclesThe glutes (gluteal muscles) are the three muscles that make up the buttocks. The gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles and one of the strongest muscles in the human body. Its action is to extend and to laterally rotate the hip, and also to extend the trunk..

They are part of a large and complex group of muscles that work together to support the spine, help hold the body upright and allow the trunk of the body to move, twist and bend in many directions.

 

Extension

In kinesiologyKinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the scientific study of human movement, performance, and function., extension is a movement of a joint that results in increased angle between two bones or body surfaces at a joint. Extension usually results in straightening of the joints or body surfaces involved. For example, extension is produced by extending the flexed (bent) elbow. Straightening of the arm would require extension at the elbow joint. If the head is tilted all the way back, the neck is said to be extended.

The movement in the opposite directions is called flexion.

Wrist Extension (Dorsiflexion) — moving the back of the hand toward the back of the forearm, commonly called cupping.  See Wrist Articulations for more information.

Shoulder Transverse Extension is the lateral movement away from the midline of the body in a horizontal plane; moving the upper arm away from the chest with the elbows out to the sides.

 

External Rotation

See Internal and External Rotation for more information.

 

Face Angle

Face angle is the horizontal (left-right) angle, relative to the target line, of the part of the club face that makes impact with, and influences the initial direction of, the golf ball.  Positive means to the right (open relative to target for right hand player), negative means to the left (closed relative to target for right hand player).

Note that, for woods, the face angle depends on where on the club face the ball is impacted due to the bulge radius.

A square club face angle promotes a straight shot, an open club face angle promotes a shot to the right, a closed club face angle promotes a shot to the left.

Club face angle has a stronger influence on shot direction than club path.

Highly skilled players tend to deliver the club face to the ball in a square position at impact in relation to their swing path, while most amateur golfers have a tendency to leave the club face open.

 

Flexion

Wrist Flexion (Palmar Flexion) — bending the wrist joint such that the angle between the palm and the forearm is decreased; moving the palm of the hand toward the front of the forearm.  See Wrist Articulations for more information.

In kinesiologyKinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the scientific study of human movement, performance, and function., flexion is a movement of a joint that results in decreased angle between two bones or body surfaces at a joint.  The skeletal (bones, cartilage, and ligaments) and muscular (muscles and tendons) systems work together to move the joint into a “flexed” position.  For example the elbow is flexed when the hand is brought closer to the shoulder, the trunk may be flexed toward the legs, or the neck toward the chest.

The movement in the opposite directions is called extension.

 

Gluteal Muscles

The glutes (gluteal muscles) are the three muscles that make up the buttocks.  The gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles and one of the strongest muscles in the human body.  Its action is to extend and to laterally rotate the hip, and also to extend the trunk.

See Gluteal muscles for more information.

 

Ground Reaction Force (GRF)

See Ground reaction force (GRF) for more information.

 

Hang Time

Hang time is the time that the golf ball is in flight, the elapsed time from impact to the ball landing on the ground.

 

Horizontal Swing Plane

See Swing Direction.

 

Hypothenar Eminence

The hypothenar eminence is the prominent part of the palm of the hand above the base of the little finger.  The hypothenar muscles are a group of three muscles of the palm that control the motion of the little finger.

 

Impact

Impact is the moment that the club face first makes contact with the golf ball.

 

Impact Location

Impact location is the precise location on the club face where impact with the golf ball is made.

When the impact location is away from the centre of the club face (the sweet spot), initial ball speed will be slower and thus shot distance will be shorter.

When the impact location is toward the toe the shot will start slightly to the right (for right-handed players). When the impact location is toward the heel the shot will start slightly to the left.

With woods, when the impact location is higher on the face the ball will launch at a higher angle and at a lower spin-rate.  When the impact location is lower on the face the ball will launch lower and at a higher spin rate.  When the impact location is toward the toe the ball will start to the right but draw-spin will be imparted.  When the impact location is toward the heel the ball will start to the left but fade-spin will be imparted.

A highly skilled player’s impact location tends to be at the club face centre or very close to it, while the average amateur’s impact location varies significantly.

 

Infraspinatus Muscle

The infraspinatus muscle is a thick, triangular muscle.

As one of the four muscles of the rotator cuffThe rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that act to move and stabilise the shoulder joint., the main function of the infraspinatus is to externally rotateFor your right arm, external rotation means rotating your upper arm clockwise. the arm and stabilise the shoulder joint.

See Infraspinatus muscle for more information.

 

Internal Rotation

See Internal and External Rotation for more information.

 

Kinematic Sequence

The kinematic sequence is the precisely timed sequence of body movements that provide optimum performance of the golf swing.  This sequence is also referred to in biomechanics literature as “proximal to distal sequencing” or “kinetic linking”.

See Golf Swing Sequence and Timing for more information.

 

Kinesiology

Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the scientific study of human movement, performance, and function.

See Kinesiology for more information.

 

Kinesthesia

See Proprioception and Kinesthesia for more information.

 

Kinetic Chain

The kinetic chain is the different parts of your body acting as a system of chain links to transfer energy from the ground to the golf ball.

See Kinetic Chain for more information.

Launch Angle

Launch angle is the vertical angle of the golf ball’s initial flight relative to ground (horizontal) level.

A higher launch angle equals higher initial ball flight, and vice versa.  Launch angle varies from player to player and from club to club.  The ideal launch angle varies depending upon the ball speed and the spin-rate generated by a given club configuration.  With a driver, the slower the ball speed, the higher the ideal launch angle.  With all clubs, a higher launch angle combined with the right amount of backspin will generally generate maximum distance.

Also called vertical launch angle.

 

Launch Direction

Launch direction is the initial direction of the ball relative to the target line.  Positive means to the right, negative means to the left.

Also known as horizontal launch angle.

 

Latissimus Dorsi Muscle

The latissimus dorsi (lats) is the widest and most powerful muscle of the back, and plays an important role in both the backswing and in powering the downswing.

See Latissimus dorsi muscle for more information.

 

Levator scapulae muscle

The levator scapulae is a skeletal muscle situated at the back and side of the neck.  As the name suggests, its main function is to lift the scapula (shoulder blade).

See Levator scapulae muscle for more information.

 

Multifidus muscle

The multifidus (plural multifidi) is a small yet powerful muscle that gives support to the spine.

When multifidus function is poor, the golfer will be more susceptible to back injuries and low back pain.

See Multifidus muscle for more information.

 

Oblique Muscles

Your oblique muscles (side abdominals) help you to bend from the side or twist your torso.  Strong obliques support the lower back, warding off back pain and posture problems.

See Oblique muscles for more information.

 

Pectoralis Muscles

The pectoralis major is a very powerful muscle that forms the chest prominence.

Underneath the pectoralis major is the pectoralis minor — a thin, triangular muscle — and together they are commonly known as the pectorals or “pecs”.

They move the shoulder forwards and across your chest.

See Pectoralis major muscle and Pectoralis minor muscle for more information.

 

Phalanx bone

The phalanx bones (plural phalanges) are bones that form the skeleton of the toes and the fingers.  The thumbs and big toes have two phalanges while the other digits have three phalanges.  They are named for the digit they represent and their relative location from the centre of the body (proximal, middle or intermediate, and distal).

 

Proprioception

Proprioception is the sense of the orientation and relative position of neighbouring parts of the body.

See Proprioception and Kinesthesia for more information.

 

Pronation

When the arms are unbent and at the sides, pronation will move the palm of the hand to a posterior (rear) facing position, without an associated movement of the upper arm at the shoulder.  When the forearm is flexed the palm faces down.  See Wrist Articulations for more information.

 

Proximal Phalanx

The proximal phalanx (plural phalanges) is the finger bone nearest (proximal) to the base of the finger, between the first and second knuckles.

 

Psoas Major Muscle

The psoas major is a large, powerful muscle that forms part of the hip flexors, whose action is primarily to lift the upper leg towards the body, when the body is fixed, or to pull the body towards the leg, when the leg is fixed.

 

Radial Deviation

See Abduction.

 

Radius Bone

The lower arm consists of two bones extending from the elbow to the wrist, running parallel to each other, the radius and the ulna.  The radius is on the outside, or lateral side, of the elbow.  It connects to the thumb side of the wrist.  The radius is bigger and longer than the ulna which is on the inside, or medial side, of the forearm closest to the body.

 

Rhomboid muscles

The rhomboid muscles (rhomboids) are rhombus-shaped muscles, chiefly responsible for the retraction of the scapula.

There are two rhomboid muscles; the rhomboid major and the rhomboid minor.

See Rhomboid muscles for more information.

 

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that act to move and stabilise the shoulder joint.

See Rotator cuff for more information.

 

Sagittal Plane

The sagittal plane is a vertical plane which passes from ventral (front) to dorsal (rear) dividing the body into right and left halves.

 

Smash Factor

Smash factor is the ratio ‘ball speed divided by club speed’, which describes the efficiency of energy transfer to the golf ball at impact.

Note that the smash factor depends on the spin loft and impact location.  The lower the spin loft, the higher the smash factor and the more centred the impact, the higher the smash factor.

 

Spin Axis

Spin axis is the measure of tilt of the axis around which the golf ball spins.

Spin works with the golf ball’s dimples to create lift, a higher spin rate creates more lift, which helps to keep the ball in the air, and to curve the ball through the air when the axis is tilted.

A positive spin axis means the axis is tilted to the right (thus resulting in a fade or slice for a right handed golfer), negative spin axis means the axis is tilted to the left (thus resulting in a draw or hook for a right handed golfer).

Note that there is no such thing as “side spin”, the golf ball can rotate around only one axis.

 

Spin Loft

Spin loft is the difference between dynamic loft and attack angle.

The spin loft is related to the static loft of the club, however shaft flex and hands leading or lagging the club head will alter this.

 

Spin Rate

Spin rate is how many times the ball rotates per minute when leaving the clubface.

This is independent of the orientation of the spin axis.

Note that the spin rate drops during ball flight, typically by 4% for each second of flight.

 

Sternum

The sternum (or breastbone) is an elongated, flattened bony plate, forming the middle portion of the thorax (chest).  It connects the rib bones via cartilage.

 

Stretch-Shorten Cycle (SSC)

See Stretch-Shorten Cycle (SSC) for more information.

 

Supraspinatus Muscle

The supraspinatus is a relatively small muscle of the upper arm that runs from the scapula (shoulder blade) to the humerus (upper arm).  It helps to abductShoulder Abduction is the lateral movement of the arm away from the midline of the body; moving the upper arm up to the side away from the body. the arm and stabilise the shoulder joint.

See Supraspinatus muscle for more information.

 

Swing Direction

Swing direction is the orientation of the swing arc, relative to the target line, where positive means to the right, negative means to the left.

More technically, it is the horizontal direction the club head is traveling in at the bottom of the swing arc.

Also known as horizontal swing plane.

 

Swing Plane

Swing plane is a measure of how vertical the swing is, where a high value represents a very up and down (steep) swing plane and a low value a relatively flat (to the ground) arc.

More technically, it is the angle made between the ground and the plane of club head trajectory at the bottom of the swing arc.

Also known as vertical swing plane.

 

Teres Major Muscle

The teres major is an internal rotator and adductor of the upper arm and assists the latissimus dorsi in drawing the previously raised humerus downwards and backwards.

 

Teres Minor Muscle

The teres minor is part of the rotator cuffThe rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that act to move and stabilise the shoulder joint..  It works with the infraspinatus and posterior deltoidThe deltoid muscle is the the triangular muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. to externally rotateFor your right arm, external rotation means rotating your upper arm (the humerus, ending at your elbow joint) clockwise. the humerus, as well as perform adductionAdduction is a movement which brings a part of the anatomy closer to the middle sagittal plane of the body., extensionExtension is a movement of a joint that results in increased angle between two bones or body surfaces at a joint, for example straightening of a bent arm would require extension at the elbow joint. and transverse extensionShoulder Transverse Extension is the lateral movement away from the midline of the body in a horizontal plane; moving the upper arm away from the chest with the elbows out to the sides..

 

Thenar Eminence

The thenar eminence, commonly known as the ball of the thumb, is the group of muscles on the palm of the hand at the base of the thumb.  The primary function of the thenar eminence is to control the motion of the thumb.

 

Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius muscle is the large muscle between your neck and your shoulder.  It forms the ‘V’ shape of your neck.  The trapezius muscles move the scapulae (shoulder blades) and support the arms.

See Trapezius muscle for more information.

Triceps Brachii Muscle

The triceps brachii muscle is the large muscle on the back of your upper arm, making up approximately two thirds of the muscle mass in the arm.

See Triceps brachii muscle for more information.

 

Ulna Bone

The lower arm consists of two bones extending from the elbow to the wrist, running parallel to each other, the radius and the ulna.  The ulna is on the inside, or medial side, of the forearm closest to the body.  The bony point of the elbow, that most people think of as the elbow, is actually the tip the ulna bone.

 

Ulnar Deviation

See Adduction.

 

Vertical Swing Plane

See Swing Plane.

 

Wrist Articulations

See Wrist Articulations for more information.

 

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