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I am left eye dominate and a golfer Help

September 21 2007 at 10:41 AM

Dennis  (Login aceputt)
from IP address

I can't seem to line up. I think I'm on line and usually my ball will go left of where i aim. sometimes I hit two inches behind where the ball is lying. I also aim right and the ball still goes left on my target. My pro says turn my head ie Jack Nicklas, but I still have problems. All shots are effected, from driver to wedge. Putting I close my Left eye, line up and use a crosshanded stroke. Ususally my putting is pretty good.

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Geoff Mangum
(Login aceputt)

Accurate Aiming of Putter (or Any Club)

September 22 2007, 10:01 AM 

Dear Dennis,

You would probably benefit from using a laser putter, if you use it appropriately to teach yourself how to aim accurately and how to know whether you are aimed accurately.

For example, using the Argon Laser from 3LGolf at, you need to aim the putter face at a golf ball on a rug from perhaps 10-20 feet away, and try to aim as accurately as you can. Then turn on the laser and see WHETHER the laser hits the golf ball or aims left or right (and by how much). Move around to different locations for both the ball and where you stand, as the shape of the room is helping you far too much if you simply stay in one place aiming again and again. While doing this, you can experiment with different stances (e.g., open stance) and head-eye positioning (e.g., left eye behind the ball with face aiming somewhat down the line to see both the ball and target at same "look"), to see what seems to work better.

Ultimately, though, you need to sight the line from behind the ball (the real "line" connecting the ball you are putting and the target ball or spot), use that line to identify a spot about 6-10 inches in front of the ball, walk up to the ball and aim the putter face thru the center of the ball at the spot 6-10 inches away, and then setup to the putter as aimed and roll the ball over this same spot 6-10 inches in front of your ball.

This process eliminates trying to aim from BESIDE the ball by trying to see a connection between the aim of the putter face at your feet and a target spot way off to the side somewhere. Instead of walking up to the ball with a "line" held in the "mind's eye" and then putting the putter face sort of behind the ball and then trying to aim the face onto this "line" in the mind's eye or (worse) trying to aim the putter face at the far-distant target from beside the ball, you ONLY aim the putter face at the spot 6-10 inches in front of the ball. The reason golfers (90+ percent of all golfers, pro and amateur alike) do NOT KNOW HOW TO AIM THE PUTTERFACE AT A FAR TARGET WHILE STANDING BESIDE THE BALL is because they do not know how perceptions are generated, and no golf instructors have ever taught this effectively (the golfers in the 1950s-1960s got pretty close, but golfers today don't read these earlier books and articles). The human generates either accurate or inaccurate perceptions, depending upon his use of position, posture, and movement from a specific perspective in reference to a specific target and task. Golfers do "merely okay" when standing behind the ball facing the ball and target (almost all actually perform a confused collection of different tasks back there without clear focus on specific tasks and get somewhat garbled and vague aiming information), but they do not at all do well when standing beside the ball.

Aiming beside the ball in order to generate accurate perceptions requires a different and unfamiliar set of positions, postures, and movements to employ the senses in an accurate manner in order to look at a putter face at your feet and determine accurately and consistently where it points at a distance across the green on the surface of the green. The set that almost all golfers currently use is a combination that is geometrically guaranteed to make the targeting task much harder than necessary to generate accurate information, and to make the use of this flawed set much harder for normal people to "best" the problems inherent in this set in order finally / eventually after long experience at some weird employment of the body's senses that more or less generates accurate perceptions "most" of the time, even though the golfer remains completely in the dark as to how he is getting or not getting accurate information with his "jack-leg" perceptual processes. That's why even supposedly great Tour players have "streaks" in which they are "on" or "off" and don't know how to get back "on" other than to just keep practicing and "hoping" their putting comes together for them.

Historically, there are a number of half-baked approaches to finding a repeating set of positions, postures, and movements for aiming from beside the ball. The notion that eye dominance is the true determinative factor in structuring and selecting "the" or even "an" effective set is a) itself half-baked because not based on a deep understanding of eye dominance and exactly how it does or does not influence beside-the-ball aiming accuracy; b) based on assumptions that eye dominance is basically steadily the same state of dominance for a given golfer at all times, when it is not; and c) applicable only to golfers who don't know a superior set that eliminates eye dominance as an influence.

Some of the historical, half-baked efforts to deal with the problem of looking down at a putter face and determining accurately where it aims along the ground sideways for some appreciable distance across the green include:

1. getting your eyes lower to the putter head [problem: This doesn't eliminate the problem, and merely makes it less severe];

2. setting the eye directly above the ball with the back of the head "flat" so the face parallels the surface (the 1960s "two-part rule" that partially gets the set of "position and posture" well done but does not address the targeting movement -- and even then, the second prong of the 1960s "rule" is almost completely unknown among todays amateur and pro players and golf instructors and putter manufacturers)

[Problem: the 1960s set implicitly "requires" that the eyeballs aim straight out of the face, but the 1960s guys didn't appreciate this hidden essential -- it is actually not necessary to use the 1960s set: so long as the eyeballs aim straight out while looking at the ball / putter face / any club face or driver, and the head swivels like an apple on a stick, the "position" of the eyes in relation to the ball itself and the postural attidude of the face and back of the head to the surface are totally irrelevant];

3. setting the so-called "eyeline" with the target line -- an approach that uses a mirror on the ground with a line left-right on it to set both pupils along or uses the holding of a putter shaft about 1-2 feet in front of the eyes and aligning this shaft to the target line and then turning the head, face and body toward the target)

[Problem: a person can set the "eyeline" to match the target line and also set the eyeline directly above the ball WITHOUT aiming the eyeballs straight out of the face but (usually) instead peering with the eyeballs down the cheek somewhat at the ball, and this "position, posture" doesn't help anything once the movement of the head turn targetward gets underway as the line of sight is geometrically guaranteed to veer on a curl hard to the inside of the real line and the golfer is left to "hope" his way back to where he "hopes" that target is without ever learning where in fact the putter face aims, PLUS this approach does not really teach the movement towards the target, as proved by the picture of Tiger Woods supposedly illustrating this technique on the cover of Golf Digest (December 1999 I think) and getting it all wrong with his putter shaft "skewed" way out of plane by the time he "faces" the target -- that should be embarrasing to Tiger and the editors of Golf Digest, but they apparently are blissfully ignorant about the problem -- whereas in contrast if you set the eyeline AND also set the eyeballs straight out so the pupils JOIN the eyeline and then swivel the head, the shaft and line of sight will run true on the ground, and EVEN IF you do all this correctly (eyeballs straight out, tartward turn correct) there remains the problem of eye dominance influencing what exact spot of the shaft indicates the true aim on the ground at the target distance of the putter face, whereas this difficulty is eliminated ONLY by also positioning the eyeballs directly above the ball OR by marking or otherwise noticing the exact spot of the shaft that corresponds to the ball at the very beginning of the head turn towards the target];

4. Nicklaus' setting the left dominant eye back behind the ball a bit and then cocking his head and face so he can see both the ball and the target in one "position, posture, and non-moving look"

[Problem: this only works for left-eye dominant golfers without a nose blocking the view of the hole and only works when the length of the putt is fairly long and is basically the same approach as lowering the eyeballs towards the putter head in a different sort of way and in any event does not come with an understanding of exactly what all is required to make this work accurately and consistently in terms of position, posture and movement];

5. left-eye dominant golfers setting up "position and posture" open to the target line

[Problem: causes idiosyncratic head-eye movements that actually vary with the length of the putt and with surface contour and in any event leaves the golfer at the mercy of changeable eye dominance without any understanding of how exactly to master these disruptive influences with positon, posture and movement];

6. using a laser to determine a golfer's dominant mis-aiming tendencies and then trying to train the tendencies out of existence with rote repetitions of some new set of position, posture, and movement in a trial-and-error series

[Problem: the supposed science of rote repetition of effective patterns is what the "sports science" folks of the 1970s derived second hand from the harder science of psychology and then blindly clung to this "pop psychology" notion of motor learning because of it's simplicity when in fact the nostrum "perfect practice makes perfect performance" is obviously false or else quite a few Tour pros would be perfect by now -- sports science people too often grab for short cuts from hard science, and in any event the psychology of motor skills acquisition is a lot more complex than "rote practice" despite the efforts of certain "sports science researchers" claiming the benefits of "implicit learning" in the sens ethat the golfer is encouraged NOT to know what works and why, which is a collosally stupid proposition even if implicit learning is valuable];

7. applying some special aspects of clinical optometry such as so-called "optical triangulation" based on a player's measured eye dominance in order to manipulate / adjust ball position to "correct for" the biasing influence of the eye dominance in aiming

[Problem: eye dominance is not really all that fixed and static a property for individuals but varies situationally, especially including when the target is off to one side only, so any adjustment is flawed as not permanent or consistent, this approach makes ball position and setup position and posture much more critical than needed so that slight unnoticed variations that inevitably creep into the golfer's routine set wreak havoc with targeting accuracy in unknown ways, and adjusting ball position left-right in relation to the body necessarily changes the stroke away from one that makes rolling the ball where the putter face aims more problematic and sensitive to unnoticed variability than it needs to be];

8. using design features of the putter itself to manage or require the golfer's set of position, postures, and movements into a pattern that is at least less flawed and more effective to a degree than the pattern(s) used by the vast majority of golfers, such as the SeeMore getting the red spot on the heel covered by the shaft as seen from the eye position, the system of matching putter head shapes and hosel designs in a trial-and-error process to specific golfers in a "black box" approach seeking better outputs from inputs without understanding what works and why, and half-baked notions of visual science about the design of aiming aids for the putter such as "two ball" or "bars" or "dots" or "parallel lines" of all sorts suitable for patenting

[Problem: none of these people using this approach have even a passing acquaintance with the neuroscience of vision, visuospatial perception, and how the brain actually USES perceptions to generate movement responses in situational contexts and tasks like aiming a putter or making a stroke, so even though this approach is somewhat valid, it is currently in a confused state where the principal benefit is that the manufacturer or designer comes up with a "marketing gimmick" and resisting making overblown claims of "scientific validity" for the gimmick is simplky not in the cards economically}.

9. playing so much golf that eventually the golfer ends up with an idiosyncratic "habit" for position, posture and movement that sort of works most of the time, even though the golfer has no understanding of what specifically about this habit makes the perceptions accurate (or not) and so is not able to say on any given occasion whether he used the habit in the old reliable manner or not, and thus he has streaks of "good" and streaks of "bad" and is never able to monitor his use of position, posture and movements on any given putt and is also not able to get out of a bad streak with self-coaching

[Problem: Tour golfers (Jose Maria Olazabal for example, quickly turning his head and face back and forth from ball to target in rapid succession of movements) a ) are using positions, postures and movement from beside the ball without knowing what it is about this set that works or why and also without really knowing precisiely what the habit set is supposed to be on a consistent basis -- so they are at the mercy of hoping their "habit" stays unmolested by distraction, mood, loss of focus, etc. etc. (the many harmful influences always present in every round of golf) -- thus elevating their idiosyncratic "routine" to a level of sacrosanctness known only to the highest priesthood of Pharonic Egypt];

10. aiming glasses and head-mounted lasers

[Problem: the makers don't know how to design the product or instruct about their use because the technology itself does not define position, posture and movement except by happenstance and the manufacturers lack the understanding of what works and why so they can explain it to Joe Golfer when telling him how to use the aid to LEARN what he needs to know about HOW TO AIM ACCURATELY BESIDE THE BALL -- these devices end up back in the camp of the "rote repetition with implicit learning is all you need, bubba"];

11. sidesaddle or face-forward position, posture and movement

[Problem: doesn't address the eye dominance influence at all and in fact creates a more problematic geometry for the brain in getting a set position, posture and movement pattern that handles both eye dominance influence and the fact that the eyes are both offset to the left of the target line while facing forward and also creates another problem of having to look "back and down" to register the ball position and then look "up and away towards the target" without defining the pattern of this up-down-up-down head-face movement so the golfer knows WHETHER the putter face is actually aiming where he "hopes" it is].

If you want to learn how to "aim" from beside the ball using conventional style, you can, and eye dominance doesn't really matter once you know how. Importantgly, it is necessary to distinguish between a) trying to aim the putter face from beside the ball at a distant target, versus b) trying to determine where in fact the putter face really aims regardless of whether it aims at the target as intended or in fact aims left or right to some degree. The latter skill is the one golfers need the "know-how" for, and yet no one in the history of golf has ever attempted to teach it and no one before has ever really defined and recognized this "task" as important to understand and teach.

For this task of looking at a putter face beside the ball and determining accurately where in fact it aims across the green some distance, there are two things to learn about the positions, postures, and movements: 1) how to swivel your head with a fixed gaze so that the "laser beam" of your eyesight runs in a straight line sideways along the ground, and 2) how to setup to a putter that has been aimed so that this eyesight line on the ground is the same as the aim line of the putter face.

It's not too hard. For 1), aim your eyeballs straight and level perpendicularly out of your face with a fixed and steady gaze and not any down the cheeks like peering down the lower section of a pair of bifocals; then swivel your head on the axis of the neck like an apple on a stick turning so that the button on your cap on the top of your head simply spins in place and does not scratch back or forth leaving your gaze direction fixed and unchanged. This is how you run your eyesight straight sideways on the ground -- this simple geometry eliminates any influence of eye dominance so that a right-handed golfer can do exactly the same thing putting left-handed and get the same level of accurate information about where in fact the putter face is aiming. For 2), just setup to the putter face as aimed by matching the line of your throat from point of chin to base of neck below Adam's Apple (gender-neutral: where the clavicle bones both arrive at the top of the sternum) to the leading edge of the putter face -- since the eyeline is perpendicular to this neck line, this procedure matches the eyeline along the ground to the aim of the putter face. Then just swivel your head and wait to see whatever shows up at the distance of the target: the target, or some spot left or right.

It helps to make a tiny telescope with your right fist, forming a very small hole and placing this telescope to your right eye, closing the left eye, and aiming the fist telescope straight and level out of the face. Then bend the body and head until this fixed telescope is lowered enough for the ball and putter face sweetspot to come into the tiny telescope's view, without lowering the angle of the telescope but instead keeping it aiming steadily straight and level out of the face as you bend the face and telescope as a unit towards the ball. Once the ball shows up in the telescope, then swivel the head and face to run the telescope view in a straight line sideways as far as the target, and whatever shows up in the tiny hole in your fist is in fact where the putter face really aims. This exercise effectively turns your line of sight in the right eye into a laser beam that precisely defines one spot on the distant ground, and it is also probably not illegal to use during competition under the Rules of Golf.

You can use this fist telescope along a line on the floor to make sure you know how to swivel the head like an apple on a stick, as most people don't know how to do this. If you square up to the floor line and set the telescope aiming perpendicularly out of the face and then bend until the line on the floor shows up, the line on the floor will remain inside the tiny view of the telescope the whole while your head and face swivels down the line IF AND ONLY IF your head swivels correctly. So this teaches the movement of the head and face and neck that is required for accurate perceiving from beside the ball where the putter face really aims.

Once you get some facility with this beside-the-ball aiming accuracy of knowing where in fact the putter face aims, then do a complete aiming routine on the green from about 20 feet out on a straight putt -- start behind the ball to see the line from your ball to center of hole and the starting spot in front of the ball 6-10 inches, aim the putter face thru the ball at the starting spot, and then setup the neck / throat line to the putter as aimed (matching the throat line to the top edge of the putter face) and use the head and eyes correctly to check where in fact you have aimed the putter. When the behind-the-ball aiming and the beside-the-ball aiming agree, you should have great confidence that the putter face is aiming at the target and so only a putting stroke that sends the ball out of your setup over top of the starting spot is the stroke that is called for, and no stroke ever has any compensations in it. Every putt, and every putting stroke is the same -- straight -- except some are larger than others.

This basic beside-the-ball use of the eyes, head, and neck works for the driver as well. You do NOT have to have the eyeball directly above the ball in order to see a straight line sideways -- you ONLY have to square the neck line / shoulders to the aim of the club face with the eyeballs aimed straight and level out of the face while looking at your ball and then turn the head like an apple on a stick as far as the target distance. At the distance you want to know about, this procedure aims your eyesight at the same location your clubface points, so you can then just wait and learn where your club aims by waiting to see where this procedure has you looking at the end of the head swivel.


Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist
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Re: Accurate Aiming of Putter (or Any Club)

July 28 2009, 12:15 PM 

Geoff ... Just admit there are too many variables to control to ensure 100% putting control and perfect results. In the end it just becomes a 'best guess' effort, and learning by 'trial and error'.

Putting by professionals over the decades has not appreciably improved even though now they are putting on vastly improved putting greens, magnificent magic putters, and all that scientific stuff.

Once you break the connection between lining up the putt from behind the ball to assuming the putting stance, that discontinuity creates two completely different putting situations that cannot be adequately correlated.

Then there are the aiming and putting stroke variables.

I challenge you to prove that the probabilities of sinking putts from various distances, as shown in Pelz' Putting Bible, Page 7, Figure 1.4.1, can be significantly improved by any means.

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Re: I am left eye dominate and a golfer Help

July 28 2009, 7:49 AM 

I'm left eye dominant and had the same problem as the original poster of hitting left, but I noticed this was only happening on some putters. It got better when I moved my hands down the shaft and used a pendulum swing. It seems to be cured completely with my new Seemore FGP. I line up using the visual aid in the head and for the first time the ball just goes dead straight. I was clearly not putting with my eye above the ball. I just love the FGP to bits - well, it did win both the Masters and the US Open. These Seemore putters really work, and the FGP is really good value for money.


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