Using visual guidance to retrain an experienced golfer's gaze: A case study

Eur J Sport Sci. 2017 Mar;17(2):160-167. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2016.1216169. Epub 2016 Aug 10.

Abstract

Eye movements are essential for both predictive and reactive control of complex motor skills such as the golf swing. We examined the use of a visually guided learning protocol to retrain an experienced golfer's point-of-gaze immediately prior to execution of the full golf swing; his swing, and his gaze behaviour, had become established over more than a decade of practice and competition. Performance and eye movement data were obtained, from baseline, through intervention, to retention, for a total of 159 shots struck at a target 200 yards away. Results show that, at baseline, not only was the golfer's point-of-gaze not at the intended/predicted location, at the top-rear of the ball, but there was also high trial-to-trial variability. A bespoke visual guidance protocol improved his gaze behaviour considerably, in terms of accuracy and consistency - and this was reflected in accuracy and consistency of his shots. Implications of oculomotor interventions for the relearning of established motor skills are discussed.

Keywords: Eye movements; golf; learning; oculomotor; sport.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Golf / education*
  • Golf / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Young Adult