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R. C. Bulson, K. J. Ciuffreda, D. P. Ludlam; Effect of Binocular versus Monocular Viewing on Golf Putting Accuracy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2888.
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To elucidate the role of binocular vision, including both stereopsis and vergence innervation, in the complex task of golf putting.
The putting accuracy of sixteen, visually-normal inexperienced golfers (range 23-66 years, mean=35 years) was assessed for small (3cm) and large (12cm) targets located at 3, 6, and 9 feet with distance corrective lenses in place. All subjects had normal binocular vision with stereopsis less than 40 sec arc, were free from any ocular or neurological disease, and were visually asymptomatic. Subjects performed the task under either normal binocular or monocular viewing conditions. All testing was performed in a counterbalanced manner with respect to target size and viewing condition.
Putting accuracy (% successful putts) was significantly better under binocular versus monocular viewing conditions, especially for the smaller target. For the smaller target, putting accuracy was better under binocular versus monocular viewing conditions for 10 out of 12 (83%, p=0.019), 11 out of 12 (92%, p=0.003), and 12 out of 12 (100%, p<0.001) of the subjects for the 3, 6, and 9 foot test distances, respectively. The percentage improvement in putting accuracy under binocular viewing conditions for the small (3cm) target was approximately 14%, 8%, and 13% for the 3, 6, and 9 foot target distances, respectively. For the larger target, the trends were similar, but much smaller in magnitude (0.5-7%).
These findings are consistent with earlier studies demonstrating improved athletic performance under binocular versus monocular viewing conditions. Binocular vision is an important factor in successful completion of a complex sensorimotor task, such as golf putting. The additional depth-related cues provided by stereopsis and vergence innervation appear to be crucial for more precise and detailed tasks, such as demanded by the smaller target.
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