New research demonstrates golfers can achieve superior putting results by simply keeping their eye focused on the ball. The technique is known as Quiet Eye training, and was pioneered by Mark Wilson, a senior lecturer in human movement science at the University of Exeter in England.
“Specifically, Dr. Wilson says, after having extensively studied just how the best golfers look, he now teaches novice golfers at his lab to “keep their gaze on the back of the ball, which is the contact point for the putter, for a brief period before starting the putting action” — long enough to, for instance, “say ‘back of the cup’ to themselves,” he says. The golfers are told to hold that position throughout the putting stroke and, he says, “importantly, after contact for a split second.”
Inexperienced putters who followed these instructions improved much more rapidly, he says, than those who merely practiced putts repeatedly.
And in fact, after Dr. Wilson had his golfing volunteers practice for hours on either specific aspects of stroke technique or on focusing their gaze and not worrying about technique, those who had worked on their gaze were more accurate than those who had fine-tuned their technique. Those trained to focus also had lower heart rates and less muscle twitchiness, indicating less performance anxiety.