An independent study of the effects on performance of different types of golf shoe soles has discovered that driving distance, ball speed, shot dispersion and smash factor all improved when golfers wore replaceable cleats instead of spikeless footwear.
The study was conducted at Pinehurst Golf Resort in America by GOLF Magazine Top 100 instructor Eric Alpenfels and Dr Bob Christina, emeritus professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina.
The improvement in these categories was most significant in golfers with high handicaps, as the cleated footwear was claimed to help create a more solid lower body foundation, encourage a more consistent swing, and deliver improved energy transfer from the clubhead to the ball.
The study involved 28 adult male golfers divided into two groups, one half with handicaps over 12 and the other half with handicaps under nine. Each participant hit 10 measurable drives, five in replaceable cleats and five in spikeless shoes. Each drive was on dry, flat ground and all testers used a Titleist Pro V1x ball throughout the study.
The key findings revealed thatfor golfers wearing replaceable cleats increased their average carry distance was 4.35 yards longer than with spikeless shoes; smash factor was better, and ball speed was faster and more consistent.
In addition to producing data, the study also asked participants for their personal views on the two types of soles after taking part in the test. The responses relating to cleated shoes included, ‘I felt a better grip with the ground during the swing’, and ‘I felt like I got more power from the ground up with spiked shoes’, while another said,‘I felt more stable during my swing and had better balance’.
Eric Alpenfels, who is a Master PGA Professional, said: “The spiked shoes provided better grip and a more solid lower-body foundation, which produced higher-quality driver swings. Swings in spiked footwear were more efficient at translating clubhead speed into ball speed, because of more centred contact between the clubhead and the ball.”
John Hohman, senior vice-president of marketing for PrideSports, one of the leading manufacturers of golf cleats, said: “This study reinforced what we believed about the benefits of wearing replaceable cleats. Driving distance and accuracy are key aspects of improving your scores, and the data provided by this study shows that your footwear choice absolutely makes a difference in your swing. Every teacher of the game should review this study and start asking students about their footwear during the very first lesson.”
The results of the research featured in the December issue of GOLF Magazine.