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Astigmatism and Reading Greens

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm going to try to write this question without making it sound like an excuse. One of the things holding me back from breaking into the lower 90's is my putting skills. Averaging 2.1 putts per hole right now (which means I rarely 1-putt, 3-putt some, but usually 2-putt on most holes). My distance control is pretty darned good. I rarely send a putt past the hole further than a few feet. On the putts I do sink, they "die" in the hole. So, for me, I think I have a good putting stroke... I just lack the directional instinct.

I think the reason why I suck at putting is because of my visual issues. I have an eye condition called keratoconus (too hard to explain in this forum. If you're interested, look it up on Google). Up until a year ago when I had eye surgery, I was seeing 20/2,150 with about a dozen ghost images from my irregular astigmatism. That's legally blind. Fortunately I have keratoconus in my left eye only. My right eye is doing well. After my surgery in April '08, I was still left with some residual astigmatism. Instead of a dozen ghosts, I now only see three.

You look up at the night sky on a clear night and see 1 moon. I see anywhere from 3 to 6 moons. (See below)



As you can imagine, having horrible vision really messes with your brain. My brain has taught itself to ignore the detailed information it receives from my left eye. Detailed info like distance. My brain still processes the image from my left eye and uses it for things like periforial vision and to see (somewhat) in stereo. But my depth perception is lacking.

So here's my question. Have any of you got a tip for me on how to read greens without good depth perception?
post #2 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

Can you just close your left eye? Read the green and putt with your good peeper?
post #3 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

wow I don't know how to answer this question but I think it's damn good that you're shooting in the 90s with such a bad eye issue. I thought I had bad eyes until I read this. My problems are minimal compared to you though, sometimes I lose sight of the ball off the tee or can't see where on the green the ball is from 160 or so out but this is quite mild.

I don't know how to help you but I hope you can get it sorted out.
post #4 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

I have got astigmatism but not as bad as you.

I think I read Tom Watson gains some information on his putts using his feet but its never been part of my routine.

You may also gain from being an aggressive putter and trying to take out the breaks where possible.
post #5 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

Walk the putts on or near your intended line. See if that helps?
post #6 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

Originally Posted by slabm7 View Post
Can you just close your left eye? Read the green and putt with your good peeper?
No depth perception with one eye. That means he can't tell how far it is to the hole with one eye (is it 10 feet or 15 feet, can't tell with one eye.) I have a nephew that lost an eye, causes him all kinds of problems (like knocking over stuff on the table.)

I'll throw this out, don't know if it would but at least it's a suggestion.

Could you "pace off" your putts to measure your distance? Instead of practicing 1, 3, 5, 10, and 15 FOOT puts practice 1, 2, 4, , 5 and 7 STEP putts. Learn to feel what it is like to hit a put 5 paces from the hole, then when you pace off a putt on a green that is 5 paces hit the ball with that feel.

Good luck.
post #7 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

This is what I do on the course to measure distance. Take a distance you can SEE (The distance between your feet) and duplicate that over, and over, and over untill you reach the target. Hope it helps. If it cheers you up, my nerve system goes apeshit after 6 hours on the course and makes me shake uncontrollably and makes me vomit untill there is nothing left. And I'd love to be able to see my girlfriend, stereo! There's only one thing better than a hot girl, amirite?
post #8 of 11

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

Originally Posted by kurtwainwright View Post
I'm going to try to write this question without making it sound like an excuse. One of the things holding me back from breaking into the lower 90's is my putting skills. Averaging 2.1 putts per hole right now (which means I rarely 1-putt, 3-putt some, but usually 2-putt on most holes). My distance control is pretty darned good. I rarely send a putt past the hole further than a few feet. On the putts I do sink, they "die" in the hole. So, for me, I think I have a good putting stroke... I just lack the directional instinct.

I think the reason why I suck at putting is because of my visual issues. I have an eye condition called keratoconus (too hard to explain in this forum. If you're interested, look it up on Google). Up until a year ago when I had eye surgery, I was seeing 20/2,150 with about a dozen ghost images from my irregular astigmatism. That's legally blind. Fortunately I have keratoconus in my left eye only. My right eye is doing well. After my surgery in April '08, I was still left with some residual astigmatism. Instead of a dozen ghosts, I now only see three.

You look up at the night sky on a clear night and see 1 moon. I see anywhere from 3 to 6 moons. (See below)



As you can imagine, having horrible vision really messes with your brain. My brain has taught itself to ignore the detailed information it receives from my left eye. Detailed info like distance. My brain still processes the image from my left eye and uses it for things like periforial vision and to see (somewhat) in stereo. But my depth perception is lacking.

So here's my question. Have any of you got a tip for me on how to read greens without good depth perception?
I have eye issues as well - I see the line okay from behind the ball but not while standing over it. I could go into my specific medical issues, but let's just say, I often miss my turn when driving in a new residential area - by the time I find the street sign, then attempt to read it - it's too late.

Anyway, there are two things I do to make putting bearable.

1.) practice while looking directly at the hole (with both eyes) to help judge pace. I find a blade putter (especially the old ones - Wilson Staff, Sportsman, Slazenger, etc) work best for this - think of making a break out pass in hockey - you look at the man you're passing to, not the puck - you have to know where your stick blade and the puck are based on experience and repitition.

2.) Most importantly, I set the line on the ball (the trademark if playing a Top Flite or Taylormade or a drawn line) along the target line before picking up my ball marker - even on 6 footers. I plumb bob with my putter using my "good" eye to confirm the line on the ball is aligned correctly. It's time consuming, but I do what I have to in order to enjoy the game. Nice drive, decent approach and a guaranteed 2-3 putts (sometimes 4) gets old really fast.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Re: Astigmatism and Reading Greens

Thanks for all the replies. And thanks for the tips. I'll take them all into consideration.

To Kris. Yeah, it drives me nuts not to be able to see my ball flight off the tee 75% of the time. "Where'd it go??" And then wast 3 or 4 minutes walking around in the deep rough where you thought it may have ended up. I've lost many balls this way. Under the rules, I'm supposed to go back to the tee to hit a provisional. But I usually just pull one from my pocket and drop it in the rough where I thought it should have been. Especially if it's just a casual round with my buddies and no money involved.

As far as pacing distance for putts, that's not necessarily where I go wrong. I can tell distance well enough. The depth perception issue comes in when I'm trying to read the breaks in my putting line. I'll read up on the Tom Watson trick of feeling it with his feet. Maybe that'll help me.
post #10 of 11

I wonder if the problem I had is similar for your (think it might be similar because I also have blurred vision at night i.e. tail lights on cars, so try to avoid night time journies), may not be but worth a go - I am left handed and suffer very poor astigmatism in my left eye.  3 putting was a regular event for me, until I went to see a coach who concentrated on the compatability of information received by both eyes - unless there is consistency in this respect, its unlikely that you will ever feel confident about the right line (as one eye is kind of contradicting the information from the other)  We all have a leading eye which we tend to 'go to' usually but its difficult if not feeling 100% confident (backed up by corroborating data).

 

My coach got me to try this:

 

First you need to determine if your eyes are giving you the same information, and if you wear glasses and suffer from astigmatism this may not be the case, particularly if you don’t wear your glasses on the course - Try this technique:: simple rule is focus on an object and then close both eyes, then open each eye whilst the other is shut. Do this rapidly whilst continuing to focus on the object (a line of text or a heading on the computer screen at eye level (when seeing it with both eyes is best) works well.  Are you seeing the object on the same horizontal plane for both eyes – if not…….

 

Try tilting your head to the point where your eyes are seeing the object on the same horizontal plane – where your head is tilting is where you should place your ball in your stance for putting – For many people with astigmatism, this compatible focal range lies outside of their stance particularly if you have significant astigmatism in one eye. It’s a common mistake among golfers that they think it should be in the centre, however unless you have correlated compatible data from both eyes you will never be able to putt like a pro! 

 

Try it and see, it may not be your issue but if you do see the object on differnet planes, then have a play around to see where the ball should be in your stance that then gives you the consistency you are looking for.  My compatible focal range is 2.5 inches beyond my left foot.  To compensate  for the adjustment in my stance, I draw this foot back a little to ensure I have a smooth stroke. 

 

Last year, my handicap went from 19.2 to 13.7   and it was all down to my putting - I am now making more birdies and have cut the three putts down from 5 or 6 a round to 1,  or 2 at most.

 

Give it a go and let me know how you get on - it may be that what works for me is because of the nature of my astigmatism, but the principle remains the same until you have focal compatibility from both eyes when you are viewing a target, the chances are  doubt will still cloud the issue., and that ain't good for reading the right line. 

 

I would be interested in your feedback

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriverTees View Post

 There's only one thing better than a hot girl, amirite?

Judging by the tag line below your name I'm guessing your putter ?

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