Golf's Visual Demands

Improve your golf game at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Golf, as with other sports, is a game that requires specific skill sets. Some golfing skills can be attributed to a natural ability; while others can be taught, practiced and honed to perfection in an effort to shave a few strokes off the game. But what if, after all of the effort and hard work, the scorecard doesn't show the expected results?


Visual skill and timing are important parts of your golf game at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


The game of golf can be broken down into three skill areas – mental skills, physical skills and visual skills. Golfers typically think of private lessons to work on the swing, upgrading to “high tech” golf clubs, and more time on the course to practice and improve concentration and focus. Many golfers direct their efforts toward improving mental and physical skills, and overlook the importance of visual skills and timing. Visual skills and timing influence every aspect of the game; from putting, chipping and driving to concentration, reading the greens and judging distances.


Over the past decade several independent studies have explored the effects of visual skills and motor-timing and the effects on golf shot accuracy. In golf, timing is one of the central attributes that professional players, instructors and scientists believe to be important for optical swing performance and golf-shot accuracy.


As an example, learning the basic movements of the golf swing requires extensive training and significant practice time; and once learned the skill must continue to be fine-tuned and the timing perfected in order for the golfer to achieve consistently reliable performance. The basic assumption by most golfers is that practice immediately before a competitive event serves as fine-tuning and perfects timing. However, studies show that the actual downfall to this line of thinking lies in the competition itself. Competition introduces the elements of inherent stress and pressure associated with competitive events and not present during practice. The key to improved performance is to remove the variability of performance between practice and competition, and develop more consistent golf swings.


Golf swings are complex movement skills, involving synchrony between physical and cognitive activation and functioning. A golf swing requires dynamic processing and integration of attention and concentration, motor planning, sensory-motor coordination, timing, mental organization, and sequencing. Recent research has shown that a timing-based intervention and goal-oriented training program such as Interactive Metronome Training, successfully improves motor timing and leads to positive effects on golf performance.


One such study assigned participants to either the experimental condition or the control condition. The experimental-condition group received approximately twelve hours of Interactive Metronome Training over a four week period, during individual (one-on-one) sessions with a certified Interactive Metronome provider. The control condition group read golf instruction literature. The overall performance of the experimental group showed improved, higher levels of accuracy using all clubs. In contrast, little to no improvement occurred within the control group.


To further examine the effects of Interactive Metronome Training, and in an effort to determine if age was a factor in producing improvement, age and performance correlation was computed. None of the correlations proved to be significant. However, the results of this study indicate that improvement was greater for older adults relative to younger adults, However, no other correlations reached significance, indicating that age was an unlikely source of improvement in overall timing. Study results indicate that training in timing improves accuracy in golf.


Both players and instructors describe timing as an important factor in learning, development, and performance; and believe that timing is a key attribute in performing the optical golf shot. Anyone who reads golf magazines or golf literature sees the focus on the importance of timing, with little information on where to go or what type of training to use.


Interactive Metronome Training is used to improve temporal skills and movement performance by fine-tuning the timing components, which in turn decreases performance variability. Studies indicate that Interactive Metronome Training influences the underlying coordinative structures and temporal synchronicity which are important to consistent performance when playing golf.


If you are a golfer interested in improving your performance, it is always a good idea to have a sports vision and Interactive Metronome assessment. A comprehensive sports vision assessment is performed by an optometrist who is residency trained in binocular vision and neuro-optometry. An Interactive Metronome assessment is performed by a certified Interactive Metronome provider. It is best if the optometrist performing the sports vision assessment is also a certified Interactive Metronome provider. A sports vision expert such as this will be able to compare you visual skills to those of professional golfers, discuss both your specific areas of visual deficits as well as the results of the Interactive Metronome assessment.


Dr. Ryan C. Johnson, OD, FAAO is a sports vision expert. Dr. Johnson completed his Residency in binocular vision and neuro-optometry at University of California Berkeley, and is the only residency trained neuro-optometrist in Idaho. Dr. Johnson is also a certified Interactive Metronome provider. If you are serious about improving your game, schedule a sports vision assessment with Dr. Ryan Johnson.


Check out our other blogs in this series: Baseball's Visual DemandsSoccer's Visual DemandsTennis' Visual DemandsHockey's Visual Demands


Interactive Metronome Training cane help improve your golf game at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Posted by avtadmin at 6/28/2016 4:24:00 PM
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