Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Good Golf Players See The Hole As Larger Than Poor Players

Date:
July 8, 2008
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Golfers who play well are more likely to see the hole as larger than their poor-playing counterparts, according to new research. "Golfers have said that when they play well the hole looks as big as a bucket or basketball hoop, and when they do not play well they've been quoted as saying the hole looks like a dime or the inside of a donut," according to the researcher.

Jessica K. Witt, an assistant professor of psychological sciences who studies perception in athletes, has found that when golfers play well they are more likely to perceive the hole as being larger. After playing a round of golf, 46 golfers were asked to select the correct hole size based on black circles that ranged in size from 9-13 centimeters. Those who played well selected the larger holes.
Credit: Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger

Golfers who play well are more likely to see the hole as larger than their poor-playing counterparts, according to a Purdue University researcher.

Related Articles


"Golfers have said that when they play well the hole looks as big as a bucket or basketball hoop, and when they do not play well they've been quoted as saying the hole looks like a dime or the inside of a donut," said Jessica K. Witt, an assistant professor of psychological sciences who studies perception in athletes. "What athletes say about how they see the hole and how well they play is true. We found golfers who play better judge the hole to be bigger than golfers who did not play as well.

"We know a relationship exists between performance and perception, but we are uncertain how they affect each other. For example, do golfers see the hole as bigger so they putt better? Or if they putt better, does that mean they see the hole as bigger? I believe it is a cyclical relationship, but more studies are needed to clarify if one affects the other."

Witt's findings are published in the June Psychonomic Bulletin and Review journal. She co-authored the paper with Sally A. Linkenauger and Jonathan Z. Bakdash, both graduate students at the University of Virginia, and Dennis R. Proffitt, the Commonwealth Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.

These findings also are consistent with Witt's earlier work in softball. In 2005 she found a correlation between player batting averages and how they perceived the size of the softball.

Historically, the study of perception in athletes has been limited to how the eye sees and processes incoming information, Witt said.

"There is so much more to perception," she said. "It's an active process because it encompasses aspects of your body and your body's abilities. We're not saying a person's perception is not immune to cognitive influences. Even if you know the hole is a certain size, you can't help but see it is a bigger or smaller. It's showing that perception is not just based on the optical information."

Witt's research team conducted three experiments. In the first, 46 golfers were asked to estimate the size of the hole after they played a round of golf. The diameter of a golf hole is 10.8 centimeters. The golfers selected from a poster one of nine black holes that ranged in size from 9-13 centimeters. Those who selected larger holes were the same players who had better scores on the course that day.

The second and third experiments were conducted in the laboratory and were used to clarify whether performance influence perceived hole size or remembered hole size. In these studies, golfers putted near or far on a traditional putting mat. In one study, they judged the size of hole from memory, and in the other study, the group judged its size while viewing the hole. Participants in both studies who putted closer drew the circle to be bigger than those who putted farther away.

Witt's future studies include determining what visual tricks could help golfers see the hole as larger, possibly leading to better scores. Currently Witt's findings, as well as other research, emphasize that golfers should stay focused on the hole.

"If you look at the hole, the hole is going to remain the center of your vision where there are more receptors. This means you are more likely to see it clearly, which will hopefully help you putt better," she said.

In addition to studying possible visual tricks golfers can use while playing, Witt also plans to follow the same golfers during a golf season to identify if perceived hole size changes for a player of a given handicap as daily performance levels rise and fall.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Good Golf Players See The Hole As Larger Than Poor Players." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707161405.htm>.
Purdue University. (2008, July 8). Good Golf Players See The Hole As Larger Than Poor Players. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707161405.htm
Purdue University. "Good Golf Players See The Hole As Larger Than Poor Players." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707161405.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alzheimer’s Hope

Alzheimer’s Hope

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) A new drug, BCI-838 offers new hope to halt and possibly reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s disease. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins