I recently had cataract surgery in both eyes. I didn’t realize before how much my eyes affected my golf game. I can now see colors more clearly and my depth perception for golf has improved immensely.
I am a linear putter, and I was having trouble putting the past couple of years. Now I am seeing the line more clearly.
Putting is the most important part of the game and your eyes affect putting more than any other area of the game. Knowing how your eyesight affects your putting will help you improve in this area.
Mike Shannon, golf professional from Sea Island, Ga., has studied more than 700 golfers. He tested them on 10- foot putts and also gave them a voucher for a free eye exam. Patterns emerged regarding the players’ vision as well as their dominant eye. The research concluded that there are two basic types of putters: Those who visualize in straight lines and those who visualize in curved lines.
Shannon found that 35 percent of golfers are linear. These golfers are left-brain dominant and analytical. They are encouraged to use an aiming line on their ball and putter. They also are encouraged to find an intermediate spot on the putt’s line.
The 65 percent of golfers who are non-linear putters do better without lines. They must rely on their innate sense of touch and feel. When they try to putt at a spot outside the hole they tend to play too much break.
These golfers should visualize the hole as a clock and read putts backward from their point of entry. For example, a putt breaking from right to left might enter the hole at 4:30 (refer to photo).
Eyesight obviously affects how you read a green. Nearsighted golfers tend to see the green as flatter than it is in reality, causing them to under-read breaking putts. They also tend to see the cup short and left of where it really is.
Farsighted golfers tend to over-read breaking putts and to see the cup long and right.
One’s dominant eye has an effect on aiming as well. Left-eye dominant golfers tend to aim left of target and should play the ball more back in their stance to help compensate for their miss-aim.
Conversely, right-eye dominant golfers tend to aim too far right and should move the ball forward in their stance.
Sunglasses can be helpful on the greens as well. An amber tint lens can help highlight the green’s contours for a better read. A neutral density gray tint can reduce glare and help with distance perception.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com