The effect of uphill and downhill slopes on weight transfer, alignment and shot outcome in golf

The aim of the study was to examine changes in weight transfer, alignment and shot outcome during golf shots from flat, uphill, and downhill slopes. Twelve elite male golfers hit 30 shots with a six-iron from a computer assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN) used to create 5° slopes while collecting 3D kinematics and kinetics of the swing. A launch monitor measured performance outcomes. A shift in the centre of pressure was found throughout the swing when performed on a slope, with the mean position moving approximately 9% closer to the lower foot. The golfers attempted to remain perpendicular to the slope, resulting in the weight transfer towards the lower foot. The golfers adopted a wider stance in the sloped conditions and moved the ball towards the higher foot at address. Ball speed was not significantly affected by the slope, but launch angle and ball spin were. As predicted by the coaching literature, golfers were more likely to hit shots to the left from an uphill slope and to the right for a downhill slope. No consistent compensatory adjustments in alignment at address or azimuth were found, with the change in final shot dispersion due to the lateral spin of the ball.