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from Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind (Univ. of Cal. Press).

Overview

The PuttingZone represents a unique and revolutionary approach to the art of golf's game within a game based on the science of brain functioning. The brain is not so much the seat of thought and emotion as it is the organ of perception and movement. This is the new frontier for golf, and science and other sports are already leaving us behind.

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Mind Map for the PZ


Brainwave / EEG Readout.

For the new paradigm, see "The Mechanics of Instinct."

The brain determines your athletic skill, especially in putting,
where the basic physical condition of the body is secondary to targeting and stroke control.

If you're serious about putting at the highest level, you've come to the right place!

The basic skills of putting are four:

  • see the line/path,
  • see the distance,
  • hit the line/path,
  • hit the distance.

Expressed differently, every golfer in putting needs to know how to read the putt to select a target to aim at and putt to; how to aim the putter at the target; how to make a stroke that rolls the ball where the putter is aimed; and how to putt the ball the right distance.

These skills depend on the brain modules for visuospatial perception and analysis, primarily in the parietal lobe, and on motor control program formulation and execution, primarily in the supplemental motor area, premotor area, motor cortex, and cerebellum.

Limb Movement Direction Neurons

Shoulder neurons in the motor cortex are "tuned" to specific movement directions. The brain "polls" the various neurons to "elect" a movement direction from many choices, and your targeting is what vests certain choices with more votes in the election. So the accuracy of your targeting in effect "chooses" your movement. (After A. Georgopoulos, Univ. of Minnesota.)

Of the FOUR BASIC SKILLS in putting, conventional golf instruction does not seriously teach reading putts, aiming the putter, or touch, and the conventional lore for making the stroke is confused and confusing. Golfers who do not learn each of these four skills will never get good feedback or know cause and effect so they can coach themselves on the course and steadily improve without streakiness.

MY TIPS and DRILLS are organized in these 4 basic categories:

The ball's rolling speed at the lip of the cup and its path determine capture. (y=speed, x=starting at centercut as 0, % that putt's path across hole is over to the far edge of the cup; curve=capture boundary). A ball rolling in excess of about 9-10 revolutions per second at the lip has no chance of falling, even if centercut. Under this speed limit, the slower the ball, the wider the "capture profile" of the hole -- the hole is effectively bigger for a slower ball. At x=.75, 75% of the diameter is available for capture but at a maximum speed of about 30 inches per second, or 5.5 revolutions per second. (After B. Holmes, Am. J. Physics.)

Yonkers NY 1890s Specific techniques: In order to putt with consistent excellence, these brain processes should be facilitated and enhanced by proper use of the body and processes of perception (vision, balance, proprioceptive body-sense, kinetic imagination, mental visualization, orientation to vertical, line, and target). There are many quite specific techniques to employ in sighting, targeting, orienting, perceiving, planning, calibrating, and stroking. For a few of these, take a look at my tips on the Tips page.

This approach is founded on nearly twenty years study of brain sciences, specifically the neuroscience of vision, spatial analysis and motor control processes, with focus on brain modularity, hemispheric specialization and the integration of perception and movement in voluntary goal-directed action. In addition, the physics of putting (ball-club impact dynamics, ball-green interactions, and ball-hole interactions) has been intensely analyzed for specific advice about putter design, optimal stroke technique and error minimalization. This science-based knowledge is applied in the context of the history of putting lore, including surveys of all the greatest putters, Willie Park Jr., Walter Travis, Bobby Jones, Bobby Locke, Horton Smith, Bob Rosburg, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Bob Charles, Jim Furyk, and more. NEUROSCIENCE + PHYSICS + LORE = SKILL.

Sounds complicated! But the instruction is simple -- just how the brain and body can best be used in a simple but lethally effective physical routine built up in consonance with innate perceptive and movement capacities. It's the total package that makes the BIG difference!

 

Vermont ca. 1900
The design & construction of greens tells you a lot about how to read surface features and contour. If you want to learn more, visit the Greenkeeping section.

More than Just Some Weird Science Stuff...

In the PuttingZone you'll find the World's most comprehensive putting resource, and perhaps the most advanced putting instruction available. The site combines the best of putting lore with relevant sports sciences in the pursuit of optimal putting techniques and solutions to common problems.

If it relates to HOW TO PUTT, you'll find it here!

For hundreds and hundreds of online putting instruction tips and lessons from around the World, see the TIPS. My tips are here, too. For putters, putter reviews, books, videos, audiotapes, training aids, stroke animations, and much more, see the RESOURCES. This section already includes free articles by email, and also a free searchable database of over 10,000 references (many annotated) on all aspects of putting. I will be adding complete sections on physics, anatomy, neuroscience, psychology, and many more scientific disciplines for the black art of putting.

The GALLERY is my selection of the greatest magicians with the short stick from history, and a few cautionary tales. There is also a collection of photos comparing great golfers' setups at putting. The FORUM is for discussing putting, and is meant to serve as an exchange of information and lore. The LINKS feature pros, tour sites, organizations, magazines and much more. Let's talk.

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