By Interactive Metronome - October 29, 2018
Prior research utilizing kinematic analysis & functional MRI have shown that Interactive Metronome (IM) training facilitates measurable and statistically significant improvements in golf shot accuracy (distance to the pin) and substantial improvement in performance consistency (Sommer & Rönnqvist, 2009; Sommer et al., 2014). In the present study, 20 professional female golfers from the KLPGA participated in a randomized, controlled study comparing the effect of IM training (35-40 min, twice weekly for 6 weeks) to spending more time playing the game of golf (increasing golf playing time by an additional 35-40 min twice weekly for 6 weeks).
The purpose of the study was to determine the impact of IM on swing speed during putting, which was specifically executed at a distance of 2-5m, which has been previously determined to set apart elite golfers who achieve a par or birdie compared to those that demonstrate only about a 10% success rate (Pelz, 2000). Golf putting movements and brain activity were analyzed using Kinovea Software and resting-state functional MRI (fMRI). Performance variability (or consistency) was measured as the standard deviation of mean swing speed (SSD) during 3 sections of the swing: backswing, backswing-impact, and impact-finish.
Upon completion of the 6-week study, professional golfers who received IM training demonstrated improved timing between the backswing and impact for both the 2m putt and 5m putt compared to the control group. A comparison of brain activity under fMRI between the IM group and the control showed increased functional connectivity from the superior cerebellar vermis to the right medial frontal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, right middle occipital gyrus, right middle temporal gyrus, right cingulate gyrus, and right supramarginal gyrus (uncorrected p < 0.001, voxels > 40).
“These findings suggest that IM training in professional female golf players may improve consistency in putt timing. In addition, IM training may increase brain connectivity from the cerebellum to the frontal cortex, which plays an important role in motor control and timing.”