Aim Small to Trigger Your Brain’s in-House Guidance System

visual motor system

By Dr. TJ Tomasi, College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

It’s safe to say that most golfers don’t aim correctly, and, the farther away the target, the more ambiguous their aim becomes, until with the driver, they’re aiming like “north,” which is a nice direction, but not much of a target.

The latest research by Dr. Jason Gallivan at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, suggests that the size of the target determines how much help you’ll get from your visual-motor system (VMS), an unconscious support complex that gives you the ability to coordinate visual information with motor output – your VMS is an unconscious backup system that helps make your movements accurate.

Basically, the smaller the target, the stronger the signals coming from the VMS, which implies that because the target is small, you’ll need help in the form of unconscious muscle adjustments to keep your swing action on target. In our example of aiming the driver “north,” the target is so large that you need no help — while a fairway 40 yards wide at 275 yards requires all the help your subconscious can muster.

The good news is that your brain can be trained to identify very small specific targets, and, as competitive shooters will tell you, the more specific the target, the more accurate the shot. In the movie “The Patriot,” the hero instructs his young sons in the shooters mantra “aim small, miss small” to prevent them from firing un-aimed into the mass of advancing Red Coats — and the same applies whether you’re shooting a musket ball at the enemy or a golf ball at the flag.

Ben Hogan, in my opinion, was the best golfer ever when it came to hitting the target, always focused on the smallest part of the target he could define. If you want to trigger your in-house guidance system when you hunt targets, you must include “aim small” as part of your target acquisition routine.

If you want to learn even more about hitting your target in golf, contact the College of Golf today and we’ll get you on track.