The Shocking Results!
Long putts end up significantly closer to the hole when you look at the hole while making your stroke. On average, after all was said and done, on putts between 28 feet and 43 feet in length, the experimental group (those who looked at the hole) had slightly less than 28 inches remaining to the hole.
By comparison, on the same long putts, the control group (those who looked at the ball) left themselves nearly 37 inches remaining to the hole. That means the experimental group was 24 percent closer, 9 inches that could be the difference between a two-putt and a three-putt.
Looking at the hole may be more effective on short putts, too. On putts between three feet and eight feet, the experimental group left an average of just under 9 inches to the hole. On the same putts, the control group ended up with leaves that averaged 12.5 inches. Strictly speaking, that's not statistically significant, but those inches might be the difference between a routine tap-in and the occasional short miss.