An in-situ examination of cognitive processes in professional and amateur golfers during green reading

Shaw, M., Runswick, O. R. and Birch, P. D. J. (2020) An in-situ examination of cognitive processes in professional and amateur golfers during green reading. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. ISSN 2157-3905 (In Press)

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Experts consistently display superior performance when compared to less-skilled individuals. This superior performance has been explained using the concept of Long-Term Working Memory that details enhanced recognition and recall processes in expert performers (LTWM; Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995). Research investigating LTWM in sport has often used simplified tasks, such as repeating the same golf putt in a laboratory. Such tasks can fail to capture the entire process of expert performance, often omitting important strategic elements that occur prior to executing a movement. We aimed to capture cognitions of professional and amateur golfers and test predictions based on LTWM using a representative task. We incorporated the entire process of reading a putt, including the walk to the green, which has not previously been investigated. Professional (n = 12) and amateur (n = 12) golfers walked from the tee box to the green and completed nine ‘holes’ comprising of short, medium, and long putts whilst verbalising their thoughts. Professional golfers performed better than amateurs on all putt lengths. Professional and amateur golfers verbalised similar statements when walking to the green. However, when on the green, professional golfers verbalised more outcome focused planning statements in comparison to the amateur golfers, who focused more on technical execution. Findings enhance our understanding of cognitive expertise in green reading and have implications for the development of green reading skill in golf.

Publication Type: Articles
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive expertise, verbal reports, think aloud.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Sport > Area > Exercise Physiology
Depositing User: Phil Birch
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2021 09:38
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2021 01:10

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