RESEARCH: Quiet Eye's Direct Correlation to Better Putting
Motor Learning, Podcast

RESEARCH: Quiet Eye’s Direct Correlation to Better Putting

The way you use your eyes before, during, and after your putting stroke has a big impact on the results.  Expert putters have an increase in what the research calls “quiet eye”.  We have all the details and training plan so you can start utilizing this critical tactic. 

Today, we’re going to talk about gaze behavior and the quiet eye.

The quiet eye as described by Gal Ziv, is “the final fixation on a specific area in your visual field before a critical movement.” 

In golf, this is usually your last look at the ball before you hit a shot. 

Gal’s research has found that the best players in the world have longer quiet eyes than amateurs.  In other words, “they fixate on the golf ball for a longer duration before they putt… and they maintain it longer.” 

Gal has applied the principle of the quiet eye in his research of people putting.  He’s found that golfers of all levels have longer quiet eyes on successful putts and shorter quiet eyes on unsuccessful putts. 

What makes this interesting is that the concept of the quiet eye is something that can be taught. Keep in mind that in order to do this, an eye tracker is needed.

To begin, a golfer starts in their address position and gazes at the ball. After the student looks at the hole and is comfortable with where they’re aimed, they fixate on the ball for two to three seconds. From there, the stroke begins, and the fixation point of the golf doesn’t change. 

The tendency for most golfers is to look up from the ball before they’ve made contact.  Gal’s research shows that this is a sign of a “busy brain.” 

Why is quiet eye so important in putting?  

He said there is more than one theory.  First, the preprogramming hypothesis maintains that “once your eyes are fixated on the ball… you give your brain time to calculate and plan the correct movement.”  The second theory is that “during the putt… if something isn’t right, you still have time to correct it.”  Lastly, the inhibition hypothesis maintains that “quiet eye time gives you time to pick the option you think is optimal…” 

Does the quiet eye concept translate to other areas of the game like full shots?

He said that there’s more research that needs to be done.  However, theoretically speaking, there’s no reason the same idea shouldn’t apply. 

How you can implement the quiet eye practice into your putting: First, Gal says people have to understand that it’s not easy in the beginning.  However, “after 10 or 20 repetitions…” it’s not that tough.  One of the best ways to do this is to “maintain a journal.”  This will help you see if it helps you or not.  For most people, improvement will be gradual, it doesn’t happen in a single day. 

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Founder and chief curator of the Golf Science Lab. Documenting what's going on in the world of research and beyond that can help you play your best golf on the golf course (when it counts). Join the movement of researched based coaching over trusting beliefs and what worked for one person a few decades ago. Follow on Twitter