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2014-04-24 Researchers looking for the perfect swing

In the sports world, there are few things that are considered as difficult as a good golf swing. The perfect swing is something players experience maybe a few times in their lives. But now, researchers from Borås and Skövde have scientifically selected a method for understanding how a golfer should be able to get close to the perfect swing.

Peter Brattberg is doin a swing while Erik Martinsson, Johan Brännmar och  Rickard König is checking th datan.

“No one has previously looked at the data in the way we do. We measure how a group of golfers work technically. We can then find similarities in groups with comparable skill levels,” Rikard König explains who is researcher at the University of Borås.

The basis of the research is the processing of a lot of data. 500 golfers each hit 10 shots. The shots are recorded using both cameras and Doppler radar. The radar “sees” a total of 26 different variables for each shot, from the moment when the club hits the ball until the ball is out on the fairway. The new thing about this research is not the collection of all the data itself, but the way of converting it into pure information, through what is called “data mining”.

“We have three milestones or levels of research,” says Rikard König.

“First we find new or improved algorithms for data analysis that describe the results of a particular group of golfers, this is the basic research. Then we want to find a method for combining video results with data from the Doppler radar. Finally, the goal is to find a method for its application.”

He is collaborating with two degree project students and a golf pro to develop a practically useful method. The research is being carried out jointly for the University of Borås and the University of Skövde. Region Västra Götaland is funding the research in an attempt to create forms of cooperation between higher education institutions. The idea is that universities will jointly develop research skills.

“The golf swing research is both scientifically important and applicable. The development of algorithms for data analysis is a very current phenomenon, with similar research on algorithms that describe the lowest common denominator in large data collections (known as Big Data Analytics) taking place in many fields, such as in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries.”

Although the research team from Borås and Skövde has only been in operation since January, they are already hoping for good results.

“In a simple pilot study we have found that it is possible to describe a good swing. We are now going to use the data from our 500 golfers and start to process the material,” says Rikard König.

Copy: Gunnar Fägersten Novik
Photo: Ulf Nilsson