Peripheral-Perception Syndrome

Have you ever went to a golf driving range and had a simply wonderful practice session?  You aim for a target two hundred yards to your left and the ball goes to the left two hundred yards.  You aim for a target one hundred and fifty yards to your right and the ball goes to the right one hundred and fifty yards.  You aim for the target green one hundred yards straight ahead and you plant the golf ball six feet from the flag.  Absolutely fantastic.

Then you go to the golf course and are presented with the same yardage and the results you achieved at the driving range is nothing more than a distant memory as you don’t even come close to what you have successfully done at the range; so what’s the problem?

“Peripheral-Perception Syndrome”

Peripheral-Perception Syndrome is a phrase coined by Mike Taylor & Meazles Golf which explains why new or high handicap golfers fail to reproduce the great results they have achieved at the golf driving range.

When you are at the driving range you are absolutely and totally relaxed because:

  • There is no one waiting for you to take your shot and move on.
  • There is no concern about hitting the ball too long and into the water
  • There is no concern about hitting the ball wide left of right into the woods if there should be woods.

When you are at the driving range, you are focused on that little ball, your form and striking the ball with a proper follow through; none of the above bullet points enter your mind at all.

Now, suddenly you are on a golf course at the first tee with a narrow fairway.  To your right are a line of trees and just beyond the trees are well kept luxury homes with plenty of windows.  On your left is a large body of water.

As you approach the tee you are acutely aware of the things in your “peripheral” vision and all you can think about is not hitting into the houses so you think about lining up more to the left to ensure you don’t hit into the homes but now the body of water comes into play and that is on your mind and nothing at all regarding what you practice at the driving range.  Consequently, you end up shaping your shot which is something you have not practiced at the driving range and you find yourself in trouble.

OK, you manage to get out of trouble and are about to take your third stroke into the green which is about 150 yards away.  At the driving range 150 yards anywhere on the range was practically automatic for you with a certain iron but now you realize the green is protected by sand in the front and just behind the green is a muddy marshy mess.

Your “perception’ kicks in and tells you to not leave your shot short or you will land in the sand and at the same time it says don’t go too far or you with be in the marsh.  With all of this strange talk going on, you slightly choke up on your iron that has been an automatic 150 yards and make a weak swing that becomes a disaster because of your perception.

So how do you combat Peripheral-Perception Syndrome?  The solution is “absolutely simple” and yet pretty corny in that you just need to do what you did at the driving range and forget about your peripheral vision and perception.  That means concerning the shot to the green, the golfer should:

  • Assess the yardage and use the club that will reach the yardage.
  • Line up to take the shot.
  • Forget about what is in front of or beyond the green. (Literally put mental blinders on).
  • Take the shot exactly as you would have at the driving range with the same speed, intensity and follow-through and you will see the ball land on the green.

If you will trust yourself and your line then simply” commit & hit”, you will soon be able to do so on a regular basis and start dropping strokes very quickly.