Meacci, W. G., & Pastore, D. L. (1995). Effects of occluded vision and imagery on putting golf balls. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 80, 179-186.

College students (M = 52; F = 28) performed golf putting under different conditions of vision and imagery. Skill acquisition lasted 10 weeks and retention was monitored for five weeks. Groups practiced three times per week by putting 25 times. Accuracy was determined by the number of successful putts out of 25 attempts. Five approximately even-spaced test sessions were imbedded in the 30 acquisition sessions. Mental training groups were taught relaxation and visualization. Both groups practiced eyes-closed imagery. One group ("visual") opened the eyes before putting. The other group ("occluded") kept the eyes closed until the ball had finished rolling in the putt. Various control factors were introduced to ensure Ss imaged appropriately and adhered to the visual condition of the group. Another group performed under normal vision with no imagery. A control group had no restrictions, although all practiced visually.

The two imagery groups were not significantly different at any stage in the experiment. Both imagery groups continued to improve over the duration and were significantly better than the other two groups. The normal vision group improved initially but stabilized over the last 13 sessions. The control group did not improve at any time. After five weeks of retention, all groups scored similarly to the last practice session with the imagery groups maintaining their superiority.

Implication. Although the experimental design of this investigation left room for confounding of variables, it did indicate that imagery did promote longer and better learning. The use of vision did not affect the outcome.

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