Perception and Action in Golf Putting: Skill Differences Reflect Calibration

Wim H. van Lier, John van der Kamp, Geert J.P. Savelsbergh

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We assessed how golfers cope with the commonly observed systematic overshoot errors in the perception of the direction between the ball and the hole. Experiments 1 and 2, in which participants were required to rotate a pointer such that it pointed to the center of the hole, showed that errors in perceived direction (in degrees of deviation from the perfect aiming line) are destroyed when the head is constrained to move within a plane perpendicular to the green. Experiment 3 compared the errors in perceived direction and putting errors of novice and skilled players. Unlike the perceived direction, putting accuracy (in degrees of deviation from the perfect aiming line) was not affected by head position. Novices did show a rightward putting error, while skilled players did not. We argue that the skill-related differences in putting accuracy reflect a process of recalibration. Implications for aiming in golf are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-369
JournalJournal of sport & exercise psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

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