Washington, July 8 : Golfers who're good at the game are more likely to see the hole as larger than their not so well playing counterparts, says a new research.
"Golfers have said that when they play well the hole looks as big as a bucket or basketball hoop, and when they do not play well they've been quoted as saying the hole looks like a dime or the inside of a donut," said Jessica K. Witt, an assistant professor of psychological sciences who studies perception in athletes.
"What athletes say about how they see the hole and how well they play is true. We found golfers who play better judge the hole to be bigger than golfers who did not play as well.
"We know a relationship exists between performance and perception, but we are uncertain how they affect each other. For example, do golfers see the hole as bigger so they putt better? Or if they putt better, does that mean they see the hole as bigger? I believe it is a cyclical relationship, but more studies are needed to clarify if one affects the other," she added.
In the study, the research team conducted three experiments.
In the first, 46 golfers were asked to estimate the size of the hole after they played a round of golf. The diameter of a golf hole is 10.8 centimeters. The golfers selected from a poster one of nine black holes that ranged in size from 9-13 centimeters.
Those who selected larger holes were the same players who had better scores on the course that day.
The second and third experiments were conducted in the laboratory and were used to clarify whether performance influence perceived hole size or remembered hole size.
In these studies, golfers putted near or far on a traditional putting mat. In one study, they judged the size of hole from memory, and in the other study, the group judged its size while viewing the hole.
Participants in both studies who putted closer drew the circle to be bigger than those who putted farther away.
The latest study emphasizes that golfers should stay focused on the hole.
"If you look at the hole, the hole is going to remain the center of your vision where there are more receptors. This means you are more likely to see it clearly, which will hopefully help you putt better," she said.
The study is published in the June Psychonomic Bulletin and Review journal.