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The benefits of Quiet Eye training
By mustang6560 on 12/5/12
Thanks to oober GolfSmith7 for the tip!

If the old saying, "Drive for show, putt for dough", is in fact true, then it explains why the vast majority of golfers earn a living off of the golf course. Putting is the most difficult aspect of the game and very few golfers truly excel on the putting surface.

If you're one of the golfers who earn a living as a non-golf professional, then you should read Gretchen Reynolds recent article on Quite Eye training. The article focuses on new research published in Psychophysiology, which says focusing on gazing at your golf ball prior to making your putting stroke will improve your success rate more than focusing on the mechanics of your putting stroke.
Specifically, Dr. Wilson says, after having extensively studied just how the best golfers look, he now teaches novice golfers at his lab to "keep their gaze on the back of the ball, which is the contact point for the putter, for a brief period before starting the putting action" — long enough to, for instance, "say 'back of the cup' to themselves," he says. The golfers are told to hold that position throughout the putting stroke and, he says, "importantly, after contact for a split second. I often ask golfers to rate the quality of their contact on the ball from 1 to 10, before they look up to see where the ball went."

Inexperienced putters who followed these instructions improved much more rapidly, he says, than those who merely practiced putts repeatedly.

"It seems so obvious," Dr. Wilson says. "It is almost too simple. People assume that they are doing all of this already. 'You mean I should look at the ball?' Duh!"

But, he concludes, "the fact is that many people do not look at the right place at the right time."
The research really does sound insultingly simple. But I can almost guarantee I am one of the golfers who think they look at the golf ball, but in reality don't. I'm going to give the Quiet Eye putting method a try during my next round.

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Image via Flickr, eMaringolo

[ comments ]
DougE says:
I don't look at the ball so much as the spot in front of it that I want the center of my putter to pass over. For me, looking at the ball makes it too easy to not stay down and through, the kiss of death in putting. I make it a point to keep my eye on the spot that I've picked out which will usually be 2-6 inches in front of the ball, depending on the length of the putt) until long after the ball has been struck and the clubhead finishes the stroke all the way to the end. Though my putting has not gotten a whole lot better since I started doing this about a year ago, it has improved about 1.5 strokes per round on average.
GolfSmith7 says:
I need a lot of putting help have been in a slump lately with the putter, last time out had 5 three putts with 41 putts total. Ouch!!!!!!!!! :(
Matt McGee says:
I learned this by setting a golf ball on a dime. Putt, and keep your eyes on the dime. It didn't take too many repetitions to form a habit.
bkuehn1952 says:
Good advice, for me. My impression, which of course could be wrong, is that when I concentrate on the ball, my putting improves. I have a "wandering eye" in spoting activities which partially explains why I can't hit a baseball worth beans or consistently play adequate tennis.
aaronm04 says:
I experimented with something a few days ago. I had trouble with my lag putting so I decided to look at my target rather than the ball. I didn't change anything else other than where I focused my eyes. The results were surprisingly good! I just had to line everything up, have a look at the cup, and stay focused on it. My putting is, i think, the strongest part of my game and my mechanics are pretty consistent. So this may not be for everyone. But as you've heard, you miss more putts because of speed rather than line. I was even stunned at how good I was with putts inside six feet.
Kurt the Knife says:
interesting. I happened to develop a method some cat taught me about throwing darts. He told me to focus on the spot where i wanted the dart to impact and then focus smaller and smaller and smaller until i imagined an atom sized spot, then toss. it was amazing.
When i remember to apply that method to focus on a speck at the apex of the curve on the back of the ball, it goes rather well. hmmmm.
Quite The Chap says:
I'm with DougE on this one. It's right out of Dave Stockton's school of putting- focus on a target an inch or two in front of the ball. It gives you a target for the ball to roll over as opposed to a target 10 feet from you. The other thing that this does- just like the Quiet Eye- is that if you focus on rolling that ball over your target an inch in front of the ball, in most cases you aren't thinking about your putting stroke and all the unnecessary mind talk that goes along with it.
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