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Why aren't LPGA players outdriving PGA players?


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Various PGA pros and a 3D company director have stated that LPGA players , on average , have quicker rotations of their hips and ribcage than male PGA players. If that is the case , then why aren't female LPGA players driving the ball longer than the PGA men? 

I personally haven't seen the stats that prove the above , but if it's true then I am confused because that means the upper body pivot power (ie. lead shoulder socket pulling the lead arm around) that is creating the initial speed in the early downswing (before CF forces get induced in a 'swingers' action) is being 'added' to by something the men can do better than the women. So what is it?

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A) they are women.  Whether society wants to accept biological facts anymore with regards to gender issues, men have always been, and will always be stronger, quicker, and faster than women.

B) men (male tour pros versus female tour pros) generate faster clubhead speed at the moment of impact, meaning the ball travels further.

That's a direct comparison of course.  Now if you had me hit a drive right behind Lexi Thompson on the same hole, I'm quite sure that girl is hitting it about 20-30 yards longer than me, easily.  But she's younger, in better shape and swings like a man.

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5 minutes ago, GSwag said:

A) they are women.  Whether society wants to accept biological facts anymore with regards to gender issues, men have always been, and will always be stronger, quicker, and faster than women.

B) men (male tour pros versus female tour pros) generate faster clubhead speed at the moment of impact, meaning the ball travels further.

That's a direct comparison of course.  Now if you had me hit a drive right behind Lexi Thompson on the same hole, I'm quite sure that girl is hitting it about 20-30 yards longer than me, easily.  But she's younger, in better shape and swings like a man.

She was the one that immediately came to mind when I saw the original post as she and Finau are teamed up for Long Drive. I'll bet she hits it a lot further than 20-30 yds compared to me   

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Body rotation is only part of the equation.  Arm length and club length, the radius of the swing, are typically greater for men.  And men are generally stronger in the hands and arms, so the radial velocity added by that part of the anatomy is greater for men.

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I don't have an answer to your question but, since the gals pretty much equal or lead the PGA tour in all other statistics, at least we own the one that most guys immediately think of when think of golf.👍

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Strength, lag, speed, swing arc, all greater with elite male golfers.

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Actually , I think I've assumed incorrectly that the movement of the ribcage automatically equates to the movement of the shoulder socket . So really what the 3D companies should be measuring is the speed of the shoulder sockets of PGA men vs LPGA women.

With regards the comments about swing arc, radius of swing, arm length,  club length  favouring the men - that might not altogether be true  - see Tutelman's article link below where he simulated changes to arm length, club length, weight, height, strength in his computer program. I know he was only using a male golfer and not comparing it to women but I reckon similar comparisons still apply.

So it looks like golf instruction proclaiming increased hip speed can increase clubhead speed is questionable.

https://www.tutelman.com/golf/swing/tallGolfer.php

Summary:

longer arms reduce clubhead speed 2mph

a longer club gives back the 2mph we lost from longer arms.

increasing the golfer's weight drops clubhead speed 1.5mph, almost as much as arm length increase did.

Shoulder Torque:  increasing the torque to reflect the golfers increased size gives a marked advantage in clubhead speed. This is the only place in the whole study where the tall golfer's clubhead speed actually increased, compared with a shorter golfer.

Conclusion: The reason taller golfers hit it farther is mostly because their size provides a frame for more muscle and larger lever arms at the joints. The rest of it -- larger arc, more massive body -- reduces clubhead speed, and the longer club doesn't get enough back to make up for it. But the bigger golfer is also stronger (or at least has the potential to be stronger, given proper conditioning and nutrition). If he/she realizes that potential, the result is higher clubhead speed.

Scientific Note : Triple Pendulum (Sasho MacKenzie model) : Note that an accelerating torque does not assure acceleration. For instance, when shoulder torque kicks in it actually retards the torso rotation. This is basic Newtonian physics; every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In order for the torso to exert any  torque via the shoulder joint to release the left arm, the left arm exerts an equal and opposite torque back on the torso via the shoulder joint slowing its release. .

So can the bolded underlined statement above explain (from a physics perspective) why male PGA players have less ribcage/torso rotation than LPGA women? The shoulder girdle muscles are contracting and pulling the left arm , but these same muscles are also pulling against the shoulder girdle (which is connected to the ribcage via the clavicle ) , which in turn will decrease the rotational speed of the torso/ribcage.

PS. It looks like some theories about PGA golfers mainly using a pivot driven swing might need to be revisited . Initial clubhead speed in the early downswing seems to originate mainly from the arms being swung quickly by an active mix of both shoulder girdle muscles. The lower and upper body pivot , secondary tilt , weight shift seem to all combine to move the lead shoulder socket in such  a way that it changes the hand path of the swinging arms (mainly via a pull on the lead arm) so that 'Pseudo CF forces'  can be induced at just the right time to optimise clubhead speed through impact.

Maybe Leslie King concepts were closer to the truth about how to swing a golf club than first imagined.

 

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Okay , it looks like that PGA pro and 3D Company director made partially accurate statements but based on statistically skewed data . I've now looked at the graphs for PGA vs LPGA and when averaged out it looks like PGA players have greater pelvis/thorax/arm/club rotational speed. The sample of LPGA players tested are smaller than PGA players where 'some' ladies have shown greater 'pelvis/thorax/arms/club rotational speeds than the max values found for the PGA men (some also have less rotational speeds than the minimum  found for PGA players). But making a broad statement that on average LPGA players have quicker hip/ribcage rotations is not wholly accurate.

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Using the 2018 Trackman Average Tour Stats for driver carry, women are doing pretty well compared to men.  PGA Tour pro's average 2.433 yards of carry per MPH of CHS while a LPGA Tour pro averages 2.319 yards of carry per MPH of CHS.  

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/trackman-average-tour-stats/

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It now looks that I have misinterpreted (sigh) those graphs  - see below.  I thought they showed a total average over the PGA and LPGA samples tested but in fact they were individual golfer profiles. 

The 2 graphs below are just for individual male and female golfer , but the table below shows the range of values found for all PGA and LPGA males tested. They do show that at the top end of the ranges that LPGA women have faster rotations of pelvis/thorax/arms/club  

Example : 

Male Pelvis : 540 , Male Thorax: 797, Male Lead Arm: 1090,  Male Club: 2399

Female Pelvis: 715 , Female Thorax: 1092 , Female Lead Arm: 1417 , Female Club: 2679

But PGA men still drive the ball longer on average than LPGA as NOODLE3872 has shown above.  So what does this tell us? That increased body segment rotational speeds is not enough to prove cause and effect of high clubhead speed at impact.

Sinclair3Two.jpg

 

Sinclair3DOne.jpg

Addendum 19th Nov 18

I have found another research article which contained more detail than the table shown above.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5292347_Swing_Kinematics_for_Male_and_Female_Pro_Golfers

So looking at the results we can now make a more refined opinion about what is happening between LPGA and PGA golfers. An obvious and stark major difference is the rate at which the wrists are uncocking and the timing of that uncocking. It seems PGA  'probably' hold lag longer and then release later in such a way that they optimise a higher clubhead speed closer to impact. LPGA create similar clubhead speeds in their downswing but it peaks earlier before impact. Therefore the clubhead speed is reducing more before impact than PGA men and probably explains the difference in driving distances.

The author of the research points to the fact that LPGA women suffer twice as many injuries to their wrists compared to PGA men which suggests that wrist uncocking is of prime importance in LPGA women (but where they have some physical limitations on how quickly they can facilitate that uncocking action).

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 years later...
On 11/6/2018 at 10:07 AM, Wildthing said:

Various PGA pros and a 3D company director have stated that LPGA players , on average , have quicker rotations of their hips and ribcage than male PGA players. If that is the case , then why aren't female LPGA players driving the ball longer than the PGA men? 

I personally haven't seen the stats that prove the above , but if it's true then I am confused because that means the upper body pivot power (ie. lead shoulder socket pulling the lead arm around) that is creating the initial speed in the early downswing (before CF forces get induced in a 'swingers' action) is being 'added' to by something the men can do better than the women. So what is it?

 

Easy... strength.  Overall strength, but especially hands, wrists and arms.

Edited by pgaejw
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On 11/6/2018 at 8:02 PM, Wildthing said:

Actually , I think I've assumed incorrectly that the movement of the ribcage automatically equates to the movement of the shoulder socket . So really what the 3D companies should be measuring is the speed of the shoulder sockets of PGA men vs LPGA women.

With regards the comments about swing arc, radius of swing, arm length,  club length  favouring the men - that might not altogether be true  - see Tutelman's article link below where he simulated changes to arm length, club length, weight, height, strength in his computer program. I know he was only using a male golfer and not comparing it to women but I reckon similar comparisons still apply.

So it looks like golf instruction proclaiming increased hip speed can increase clubhead speed is questionable.

https://www.tutelman.com/golf/swing/tallGolfer.php

 

 

Wildthing, i haven't heard of studies dealing with shoulder torque, but i 100% agree that it's got to have something major to do with the swing.  Back in my teen years playing heavier persimmon-headed clubs with steel shafts, i could swing a driver over 120 mph.  And too much golf with bad technique ruined the rotator cuff of my lead shoulder.  At least that's what i think caused it; it's possible something else did but i can't imagine what it was.  Nowadays, i'm 51 years old, and the best speed i can achieve with the modern drivers are in the 100-105 mph range.  Doctors told me they could fix the rotator cuff, but there was a chance i'd have less mobility.  So i opted not to have the surgery.  And i've tried the speed training programs, over the course of a couple of years.  I wound up hurting myself on separate occasions and just making my lead arm useless for a few weeks.  It's been a hard pill to swallow, that's for sure.  Old age sucks 🙂

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On 1/17/2022 at 6:36 PM, Orkney said:

Wildthing--what is the link to the article that was the source for the two graphs and tables for your November 11, 2018 post? Thanks.

They weren't from any article but actually emailed to me by Jon Sinclair who probably has the largest 3D database of Tour Pro golfers in the world (over 160 I think). 

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I've revisited this issue a few times and it does seem to point to LPGA players wrists being the weak point in their kinematic sequence. Their pelvis and ribcage rotational speeds are similar to PGA , their peak lead arm rotational speeds are similar in both magnitude and positioning in the downswing.  PGA trail arm straightening is significantly higher but the speed of the uncocking of the LPGA wrists are far inferior to PGA.  Even the 'stretch-shortening' loading capabilities between 'pelvis & torso', 'torso & shoulders' are the same.

Dr Phil Cheetham and Dr Greg Rose have mentioned that PGA men are able to activate the 'stretch-shorten cycle' in their wrists far more efficiently than LPGA men, which I assume means they can allow their wrists to passively uncock quicker. If that's the case , then LPGA women aren't able to hold their lag angles as well as PGA men and that would mean inferior clubhead speed by impact.

In fact, they use Jon Rahm as an example of a player who can still generate a lot of clubhead speed with a short backswing because of his superior stretch-shorten capability in his wrists compared to other PGA players.

Note that LPGA women have 50% more wrist injuries than PGA men.

Edited by Wildthing
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9 minutes ago, Wildthing said:

If that's the case , then LPGA women aren't able to hold their lag angles as well as PGA men and that would mean inferior clubhead speed by impact.

The hold lag thing has been debunked. Monte has talked about this in several videos. 

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It's kind of amusing that 1/2 of the replies are completely geeky and the other half are like 'well, duh, men are stronger.'    All in all, I've learned that hip rotation is only part of the equation and perhaps not the most important in generating speed.

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Monte has talked about this and did a nice blog on it.

https://rebelliongolf.com/hip-speed-does-not-equal-club-head-speed/

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