PuttingZone Introduction – Putting Neuroscience

Geoff Mangum introduces his PuttingZone system. Geoff is widely recognised as one of the best putting coaches and authorities on putting in the world.

Putting Neuroscience

In general, with only the rarest of exceptions and then only in the most limited ways, golf teachers, golf psychs, and motor sports experts know nothing about "putting neuroscience." There are a number of reasons for this, including:

1. laziness
2. stupidity
3. ignorance
4. lack of knowledge of putting skills
5. lack of knowledge of neuroscience
6. inability to apply neuroscience to putting skills

And yet, "putting neuroscience" is unquestionably the most important science for understanding and teaching the "Indian, not the Arrow" and for the Indian's performing skillfully with the "know-how".

Accordingly, people who display little or no interest or facility in applying neuroscience to putting skills cannot claim with much persuasive force to be labelled "putting instructors."

So, how difficult is it to be a "putting instructor" in the sense of studying and understanding and teaching how the Indian actually functions in performing putting skills? A little, hence the absence of a crowd at the "putting instructor" stall.

That's correct: the NORMAL pattern of the brain is to skip away from the last thing attended to in favor of subsequent "foraging" for the next opportunity. That's not good golf. So, apparently, there is an innate "habit" of the brain enshrined in the IOR. What to do? More research would be a good plan.

The "exogenous" orienting is how the brain "codes" the object in terms of its seating in the external environment, not in terms of body-only processes such as the aim of the eyeballs or the direction the face aims over the trunk. This sort of out-there coding allows the coding to operate even when the eye or body changes location or even when the object itself moves. Okay, the golf hole doesn't move, so that part doesn't apply to our problem.

The "endogenous" orienting is "top-down" internal control of the IOR. That sounds useful for our application. How to enhance IOR control? Less foraging, more reluctance to disengage attention with the hole as location to use. More knowledge of what is relevant to the task of the putt, less ignorance and complacence about these relevant aspects. Better eye usage to "pay attention" to the relevant cues and aspects of the space of the hole to be used appropriately with the putted ball.

Here are some task-relevant facts and actions for the "putting instructor" to study, understand, and teach and then for the golfer-player to understand, practice, and perform skillfully:

Perception of the green surface conditions that affect the read, such as flatness or contouring shapes, tilt direction, tilt steepness, and green friction or green speed;
Perception of ball speed over the course of various length putts and especially the terminal speed at and near the hole for capture;
Perception of ball-capture trajectories into the cup representing good and effective delivery speeds or otherwise;
Perception of ball speed in misses wherein the ball continues past the hole but is subject to the frictional slowing and stopping of the green so that different patterns of roll-out past the hole are appreciated for whether they are good or bad, safe or dangerous;
Perception of the combination of green slope and green speed and appreciation of what that means for the terminal velocity pattern of the ball nearing and arriving at the hole;


Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist
PuttingZone.com — golf most advanced and comprehensive putting instruction.