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Perception. 1992;21(1):117-32.

Gaze control in putting.

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Neuro-Motor Psychology Laboratory, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The gaze of low and higher handicap golfers was assessed while they performed consecutive putts from 3 m, wearing an eye-movement helmet that permitted normal mobility. MANOVA (count and duration), with univariate follow-up, revealed significant differences in gaze between five low (LH, 0-8) and seven higher handicap golfers (HH, 10-16). The LH (ie more highly skilled) golfers were found to use a variable form of gaze control in which longer fixation durations on the ball and target were observed, and there were fewer fixations on the club and surface, with more express saccades and quicker saccades between gaze locations. The HH golfers, in contrast, allocated the same mean durations to each gaze (about 1 s), independent of type of control (fixation, saccade, or tracking) or location (ball, club, target, or surface). In comparing hits to misses, there was an increased probability of hits if the golfers used express saccades to the club during preparation, and a steady fixation on the ball during the backswing/foreswing of the club, as well as a steady fixation on the surface during contact. These results suggest that with the acquisition of the putting skill, there are changes in gaze control, characterized by economy in the number of gaze shifts, the development of priority to specific gaze locations, and economy in the allocation of time between preferred gaze locations. In the discussion two reasons are proposed that may partially explain the results found here, as well as help further our understanding of the role of gaze in targetting skills.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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