Eye Tracking Golfers While Putting

I'm Alright

Mark D. Fairchild, Garrett M. Johnson, Jason Babcock, and Jeff B. Pelz

In a novel collaboration between researchers in the Munsell Color Science Laboratory and the Multidisciplinary Vision Research Laboratory, we have completed a research project to measure and evaluate the locations golfers view during preparation for, and execution of, the putting stroke. This page includes more details on the project, the final report that was submitted to a Golf Magazine science competition, and some example videos collected during the eye-tracking sessions. No, we didn't win the competition, but we came close!

Putt Poster Icon


We used a portable eye-tracking system to record eye movements for 40 attempted putts for four different golfers. The golfers were classified as novice, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. These golfers made 1, 21, 30, and 40 out of the 40 putts respectively. The data for golfers with a wide range of putting skill allowed for interesting interpretation of the data. To summarize briefly, more successful putters have a more consistent pattern of viewing, spend longer fixating on each target, and spend more time viewing the hole (less time viewing the ball). The adjacent image is a small version of a poster installed in the lab to help explain the presence of the putting green. Click on the image, or the following link, to download a high-resolution version of the poster. (1.2 MB JPEG Image)

Putting Setup

The Setup

The study was completed on an artificial putting green installed in the MCSL Color Image Perception Laboratory. This image shows Garrett wearing the portable eye tracker while striking a putt on the green. The illumination was set up to simulate outdoor illumination with diffuse daylight simulators (6500K) throughout the room simulating the sky and a tungsten-halogen (3200K) studio illuminator simulating the sun.

The Report

To learn the full details of the experimental procedure and results, please download the full report that was prepared for Golf Magazine's 2001 Science in Golf competition. (1.8 MB PDF File,)

Eye-Tracking Videos

Here are several video frames captured from the eye-tracking system. The three frames on the left are during preparation for a stroke and the three frames on the right are during the stroke. The crosshairs indicate the location of fixation of the golfer. The black-and-white inset images are the infrared video images of the pupil captured by the eye tracker. You can download several QuickTime video segments collected during the experiments. QuickTime player is required to view these videos. Note: In the videos, a small dark cursor indicates the fixation point.
(Novice, 0.8 MB QuickTime)
(Beginner, 0.8 MB QuickTime)
(Intermediate, 2.4 MB QuickTime)
(Advanced, 0.7 MB QuickTime)
(Advanced, Long Version, 2.4 MB QuickTime)
Putting Frames

To get some more insight on the workings of the eye tracking system and the human visual system, view this video of one of the golfers walking around the Center for Imaging Science during a break from putting. (4.7 MB QuickTime)