During one of our annual family golf tournaments — the Hart Masters — my brother Neil helpfully pointed out that most of my missed putts were going left. Naturally I began to overcompensate, missing putts to the right and blowing a three-shot lead in the last two holes of the final round. This ruined my chance to win our coveted red jacket – red as some other competition has bought up all the green ones.
So what was the problem, besides my brother’s mind games?
I’m a right-handed golfer and my left eye is dominant, just like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Sadly, the similarities end there. When I address the ball, I have a tendency to put my left dominant eye over the ball, which is fine, but my eyes are a bit inside the line. The resulting perspective convinces my brain I’m aiming right — so I second-guess and my body coordinates to hit left. And that’s just the start.
When I’m over the ball and turn my head to look at the hole, my eyes are now in a more diagonal plane than the horizontal plane that my specs were designed for. I’m now looking through the top left edge of my high refractive lenses, which is precisely the zone where you can get the most distortions.
Putting it right, or maybe left
All these visual perception factors get in the way of true alignment and depth perception. So when we were designing the PuttBANDIT, I knew we needed to help users more accurately assess their putting line to help correct for things such as lens curvature and refraction distortions, acuity and ocular dominance.
I now decide my putting line with reference to the contrasting lines of the PuttBANDIT, head up, eyes horizontal, looking through the centre of my lenses while using my dominant eye to take aim and reduce the deceptive influences. On my best putting days I trust this line, stick with it, try to ignore my brother’s helpful interventions and make a stroke. Now all I need to fix is getting the speed right.
If you wear glasses, it’s well worth reading up on the impact of the potential hazards of visual distortions when making your alignment decisions.
Enjoy your game.
Wear glasses or contacts? Tell us about your eyewear stories and tips. Email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll publish some of the best in our monthly newsletter.
Paul Hart is a founding director of PuttBANDIT Ltd, co-inventor of the PuttBANDIT Ball Marker and enthusiastic average golfer. Paul currently plays off a new WHS Handicap Index of 10.7 and with a history of embarrassing fashion eyewear.