Gaze patterns and verbal reports of golfers at three skill levels (professional, elite
amateur and club) were recorded as they read the slope of a virtual golf green from
six different positions. The results showed that the professional golfers used a more
economical gaze pattern consisting of fewer fixations of longer duration than the
amateur and club players. Gaze pattern was accompanied by verbal reports that were
not significantly more accurate in terms of aiming accuracy, although the professionals
were accurate on 76.5 % of putts compared to 57.1 % for the elite and club groups.
Two read positions lead to more accurate predictions by the professional golfers only,
suggesting distinctive periods of visual perceptual-cognitive attention may underly
higher levels of putting skill. Theoretical implications of these results are discussed
in relation to the application of visual attention theory to practise, as well as
suggestions provided for further research.