The Limitations of Being a Copycat: Learning Golf Putting Through Auditory and Visual Guidance

  • Bienkiewicz Marta M N
  • Bringoux Lionel
  • Buloup Franck
  • Rodger Matthew
  • Craig Cathy
  • Bourdin Christophe

  • Auditory-visual perception
  • Motor learning and control
  • Movement guidance
  • Golf putting
  • Kinematic template


The goal of this study was to investigate whether sensory cues carrying the kinematic template of expert performance (produced by mapping movement to a sound or visual cue) displayed prior to and during movement execution can enhance motor learning of a new skill (golf putting) in a group of novices. We conducted a motor learning study on a sample of 30 participants who were divided into three groups: a control, an auditory guide and visual guide group. The learning phase comprised of two sessions per week over a period of 4 weeks, giving rise to eight sessions. In each session participants made 20 shots to three different putting distances. All participants had their measurements taken at separate sessions without any guidance: baseline, transfer (different distances) and retention 2 weeks later. Results revealed a subtle improvement in goal attainment and a decrease in kinematic variability in the sensory groups (auditory and visual) compared to the control group. The comparable changes in performance between the visual and auditory guide groups, particularly during training, supports the idea that temporal patterns relevant to motor control can be perceived similarly through either visual or auditory modalities. This opens up the use of auditory displays to inform motor learning in tasks or situations where visual attention is otherwise constrained or unsuitable. Further research into the most useful template actions to display to learners may thus still support effective auditory guidance in motor learning.