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Fixation disparity instability and golf putting consistency

1 May 2002


The skill of putting can be broken down into several components: the golfer's mechanics, his or her ability to read the greens, and his or her ability to localize the hole. Inconsistencies in any of these three areas can lead to poor putting performance. This study attempts to isolate the golfer's ability to visually align themselves independent of other variables. The possible effect of vergence instability on putting performance was studied by measuring visual alignment, putting alignment, and putting endpoint. A sample of 24 low to mid-handicap golfers was measured for several visual variables including fixation disparity, sighting eye preference, speed of stereopsis, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity. Once the visual alignment testing was completed, the golfers proceeded to the putting green where they hit a series of putts that were predetermined to have minimal break. A laser device and video camera were used to measure pre-stroke putting alignment and putter alignment at the moment just before contact with the ball. The results did not reproduce a relationship found in an earlier study between fixation disparity stability and consistency of putting alignment. Despite the inconsistencies between study results, the development of measurement protocols in this study is important. Future studies employing these protocols should include larger sample sizes and golfers of more varied skill levels.


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