UMES Physical Therapy Students Present Research and Publish Abstract on Female Golfers

  • Monday, July 13, 2009

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD-Third-year doctoral students of physical therapy at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore recently presented research titled "The Relationship Between Range of Motion, Performance and Club-Head Speed in Older Female Golfers" at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle, Wash.  An abstract outlining the research methods and results was also published in the May issue of the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal. 

    According to Dr. Mike Rabel, assistant professor and research advisor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UMES, the investigators measured club-head speed in addition to trunk, shoulder and hip range of motion in a group of 28 healthy, amateur female golfers aged 49-86.  All golfers swung right-handed and used their driver of choice to hit from a standardized golf mat and tee.  Club-head speed was measured with a ground level radar device positioned three feet behind the tee.  A self-report questionnaire was given to record performance data (9-hole score, 18-hole score and driving distance).  The relationships between range of motion, performance and club-head speed were examined.

    Faster club-head speeds were directly associated with the ability to drive the ball a greater distance.  Also, higher club speeds were generated by younger players and were associated with better golf performance.  Investigators also found that the golfers between 49 and 60 years-old with reduced left hip rotation range of motion had significantly higher club-head speeds.  "We suspect that the reduction in hip motion may be associated with increased hip strength and stability, allowing the golfer to generate faster club-head speeds," said Rabel.    "As club-head speed was found to be associated with better performance and declined with age, it would benefit older female golfers to participate in evidence-based exercise programs to improve swing speed and performance."

    UMES physical therapy doctoral students Katherine Long James of Salisbury, Lorraine Lacoppola of New York and Erin Ruest of Waldorf, Md., investigated this research topic in order to fulfill their requirements for degree completion.  According to Rabel, the Physical Therapy Program at UMES prepares doctoral students to be knowledgeable and competent practitioners in the field of physical therapy, utilizing current clinical and theoretical concepts to expand the knowledge base within the field and provide evidence-based care. 

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    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu. 

    Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, sstreet@umes.edu.   

    Photo: Presenting research at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle, Wash., from left are UMES physical therapy doctoral students Lorraine Lacoppola of New York, Erin Ruest of Waldorf, Md., and Katherine Long James of Salisbury, Md.