Putting is a crucial stroke to determine winning in golf. Putting is more delicate than any other strokes in golf. To keep better putting stroke, psychological factors as well as physical factors are important for golfers. The purpose of this study was to compare differences in kinematic and psychological variables between winner and loser of three skilled levels during competitive golf putting tournament. The participants consisted of 3 groups based on their skill levels: PG (8 professional golfers), RG (8 recreational golfers) and NG (8 novice golfers). Each group performed 8 tournaments by attempting 2.1 m putting from the hole. 3D motion analysis system with 6 high speed cameras and BIOPAC ECG module were used to acquire kinematic data and ECG. To compare differences between winner and loser for each group, time phase of putting stroke, smoothness by jerk cost function (JC), heart rate (HR), ratio of low and high frequency component (LF/HF) in heart rate variability and CSAI-2 scores (competitive state anxiety inventory 2) were used. There was a significant difference in back-swing phase time ratio between PG and other groups and in JC at the putter toe between NG and other groups. There was a significant difference in LF/HF and self-confidence score of CSAI-2 between winner and loser within PG. While PG and RG showed similar kinematic performance, they showed different LF/HF. The tonic states derived from cardiac activity indicated that a higher skilled level was associated with increased LF. Increased LF is associated with increased automaticity and decreased attention demands, which means that increased mental workload reduces LF. For PG, it may reveal that psychological factor is one of the important factors for the better performance during competition. Further studies are necessary to clarify psychological factors of putting by using different measurement techniques such as galvanic skin response.
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