Functional Stroke Pattern, Dysfunctional Structural System?

By Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEE
Director of Biomechanics and Sports Science, The Golfing Machine, LLC

As instructors our expectation is that we can help golfers acquire and build golf skill though the lesson experience.  This means that “wobble”, “snares”, “execution errors” and other assorted aberrant performance displays may be detected and corrected utilizing specific Golfing Machine components to create a more effective and proficient Central Stroke Pattern.

This raises several interesting questions:

•    Can a golfer with biomechanical dysfunction(s) execute a functional Central Stroke Pattern?
•    If every golfer participating in golf has some element of dysfunction (ranging from mild to significant) present in their biomechanical structural system, then how is it possible to build functional golf skill into a biomechanical system where dysfunctions of some measure exist?

Let’s start this discussion by defining the terms functional and dysfunctional.  Using the reference,  (the Medical Dictionary section) the following definitions were obtained:

•    Functional: “2. affecting the function but not the structure.”
•    “Functional (Neutral) Range: n a painless range of motion in which maintaining proximal stability and proper form occurs during exercise training.”
•    Dysfunctional: “(of a body organ or system) unable to function normally. dysfunction, n

From these definitions we can begin to understand the difference(s) between function and dysfunction as it relates the biomechanical system in comparison to function and dysfunction as it relates the proficient performance of a Central Stroke Pattern.  Every golfer will present with varying features of functions and dysfunctions of anatomical structures within their personal biomechanical system.  And, every golfer, at some point in their skill development journey, will also present with functions and dysfunctions of component utilization as reflected by the performance display of their personal Central Stroke Pattern.

•    A Central Stroke Pattern is a “learned motor skill”, that is represented by a specific display of sequences of pose choreography, conducted with the purpose of fulfilling specified golf based goals and objectives.  
•    A Central Stroke Pattern is therefore an “acquired” skill.  The key to developing the highest level of proficiency as is possible in the performance display execution made by each individual golfer, is to build a Central Stroke Pattern, which complies with all the “laws of G.O.L.F.”, with the expectation that each individual biomechanical system will have some element of dysfunction(s) present.  

Pertaining to management of biomechanical dysfunction(s):

•    Dysfunctions of a pertinent clinical nature are noted and written guidelines and clearance for participation are obtained from the golfer’s health care provider.
•    Dysfunctions detected are evaluated as it pertains to golf performance execution display by the Authorized Instructor.
•    Dysfunctions are “performance reconfigured” into a “functional neutral range” (defined above) where the use of the biomechanical structures for all golf activities are “pain-free”, “maintaining proximal stability and proper form” for all aspects of stroke pattern execution during practice and play. And the “proper form” must be replicable, efficient, and effective relative to all sport-of-golf goals.
•    Dysfunction determined objectively to be “pain free” and “stable”, which permits the potential for proper “form” may now be classified as having the capability to be re-configurable for golf, to a goal oriented “functional” pattern of motion as it relates the development of a Central Stroke Pattern.
•    “Functional-for-golf” does not imply “functional” for activities of daily living outside-of-golf.  Rather “functional-for-golf” defines the capacity to engage the biomechanical system through the specific selection of TGM components and procedures that will produce a coherent and “lawful” Central Stroke Pattern where there is consistency, competency, and productivity in all aspects of the execution and resultant golf ball behavior display goals.

For example, just because a specific golfer suffers from right shoulder joint “dysfunction” when cleaning up the yard or driving an automobile, does not imply that the right shoulder joint “dysfunction” during these types of activities of daily living must be present as an unalterable right shoulder joint “dysfunction” during golf activities.  

This means that:
•    The AI will remain aware that the “habitual manner” of dysfunctional usage outside of golf, by the biomechanical system, may have altered the “pattern” of motion usage by the biomechanical structure(s) of the golfer when performing a stroke pattern, with unconscious deviations in path, plane, and range of motion, due to adaptive compensations and malposition of structures in the chain-of-action.  Often, habitual movement patterns infiltrate the golfer student’s displayed execution unconsciously, through the application of a sequence of interconnected poses tailored to “movement pattern habits” most frequently engaged in during activities of daily living.  At times the “movement pattern habits” may be conducted for avoidance of pain and this should be closely monitored.
•    “Function” for stroke pattern use will feature a participatory range of motion that is “pain free”, permitting the proper proportion of stability for the desired mobility, as well as feature a series of biomechanical poses that conform to the TGM technique blueprint schematic map chosen.  Hence, the desired pattern of motion using the chosen TGM components will feature a “functional optimal range” for the execution of an interconnected sequence of pose choreography that does not compromise the integrity of the associated biomechanical components utilized.
•    If the AI ascertains the spatially defined planes of motion, ranges of motion, and specific aspects of execution of the golf stroke that produce discomfort or replication of the aberrant motion (i.e., dysfunction) then alternative patterns of motion, planes, and components may be selected that may permit viable “function-for-golf" as it relates all “lawful” golf related “execution activities”, as long as the proper clearance and written guidelines for participation have been provided by the golfer student’s health care provider prior to the commencement of any lessons.  

To summarize:
•    A portion of, or portions of, the biomechanical system may be impaired or “dysfunctional” when participating in some or all activities of daily living outside of golf.  
•    Every golfer at every level of participation from amateur to professional will have some degree of impediments, impairments, and/or structural alterations with-in their personal biomechanical system regardless of level of physical conditioning or level of skill.  
•    The pre-participation status of the golfer student must be discussed appropriately with the golfer prior to participation in a golf lesson.
•    If certain clinical history and/or pertinent dysfunction is noted or detected in the biomechanical system of the golfer, then, written clearance and guidelines, if required, should be obtained prior to engaging in instruction.

Many golfer students will be pain free, with no significant biomechanical clinical history.  Many golfer students may never require written medical clearance and guidelines because there is no pertinent prior clinical history as it relates medical or musculoskeletal issues.  Yet, every golfer observed, will present, at some point in time, during a skill development acquisition period with evidence of  a “wobbly point”, a “snare”, alterations in normal joint functional operation or ranges of motion, and/or attributes of aberrant pattern display with-in the interconnected poses of choreography in their demonstrated execution.  

Closer examination of the specific involved biomechanical region (s) may reveal “dysfunction” in a specific area, or in the manner by which the chain of action flows or operates.   The goal for the Authorized Instructor is to identify the aberrant pattern of motion, pose by pose.  Then, trace the source of the aberrant motion from the “effect” to the “cause”.  An example of such a process is discussed in the BIA™ Level One text, under the subject area referred to as Swing Mapping.

Once, the dysfunctional pattern of poses is identified, alternatives may be substituted using specific TGM based components so that the biomechanical dysfunction will be transformed into a “functional” pattern of motion permitting the execution of a Central Stroke Pattern that is functional-for-golf despite the presence of biomechanical structural dysfunctions.

Please address any questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Thank you.