Watching online videos could help improve your golf skills

You don’t need to hit all 18-holes if you want to learn the perfect golf swing – new research suggests watching online tutorials could help.

4th April 2016
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland uses his mobile phone as he leaves the driving range following a practice session in the Gleneagles golf course in Gleneagles, Scotland, on September 22, 2014, ahead of the Ryder Cup match between Europe and the United States. (© BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Getting some last minute tips on your swing there, Rory? (© Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Good news for all lazy golfers out there – a new study shows that learning new golf swings by watching online videos could actually help improve your game. And you can make most of your online “training” session if you know beforehand whether you’re watching an expert or a beginner.

 

What did they do?

Researchers from the University of Montreal asked volunteers to perform a timed knock down barrier test, which resembles a golf shot, by hitting a start button, knocking down three wooden barriers in a clockwise movement and finally hitting an end button. After doing the test, the participants watched online videos of that same movement, sometimes by experienced barrier knockers (it does seem a strange hobby but it must appeal to some people) and sometimes by beginners. Before watching the video, one test group was told what level of expertise they saw, while the other group wasn’t, and then repeated the test.

 

What did they find?

In the second round of the test both groups were quicker, but the ones who knew whether they learned from an experienced barrier knocker (still coming to terms with that as a hobby) or beginner significantly improved their test times.

"We believe this is because prior knowledge helps to tune your brain into picking up technical errors if the tutorial is of a poor performance or imitation if it is known to be a good one," co-author Luc Proteau explains.

 

Do we ever need to hit the driving range again?

If you have any intentions of going pro then watching The Masters on repeat is not going to make the cut, but the study could help online teachers to make their lessons more effective just by adding the level of expertise they show, and students can look out for videos that indicate the level they want to study.

Now, time to dust off that 9-iron.

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