ECU researchers study hand-eye coordination’s role in golf

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Researchers at East Carolina University are taking a deeper look into the game of golf.

For the nation’s 25 million golfers, a short putt for a birdie or a par can be the hardest part of the game, but associate professors Chris Mizelle and Nicholas Murray are working hard to shed a light on how to make that putt a little easier.

“We have been studying the interface between how eye movement occurs and also how behavior manifests itself from this connection between the brain and the eye,” said

Mizelle and Murray say when people tell you to keep your eye on the ball, they mean it.

“When the expert players are more successful, their eyes are more steady,” said Murray. “They have what’s called a longer fixation.”

In one demonstration, a participant in the study holds eye contact longer with the ball and makes the putt.

However, when the participants eyes are moving around more, they are more likely to resulting in a missed putt.

Participant Jessica McDonnell said it is harder than it looks.

“By keeping your eyes steady it helps keep the rest of your body steady, which is pretty interesting,” McDonnell said.

Mizell said although they are researching golf now, their findings could reach further than the green.

“We can extend our findings in the golf study to any number of events — sporting events or neurological conditions or just basic human health, and so we are thinking big, but we are not quite sure where it is going to take us,” said Mizell.

The researchers on the study are using the ECU women’s golf team as participants in hopes to improve their putting score.

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