I was watching a documentary recently on the evolution of animals and how animals that tend to be prey more often than not have their eyes on the sides of their head while animals that tend to be aggressive hunters have their eyes in the front of their heads. With eyes on the side the peripheral range is increased but there is a significant loss in depth perception. Hunters with eyes in front have very powerful depth perception qualities. Of course it made me think about us as humans being hunters and now golfers. We are designed to gage distances and hunt down pins on the golf course.
While I used yardages like everyone else while on tour, I sure spent a lot of time shaking my head in disbelief while watching my ball sail over a green or land short in a bunker or lake, often questioning my caddy or the guy who made the yardage book.
Given a few times around a golf course, I am more amazed at how accurate I am with distances using only my innate instinctual sighting abilities. I believe this is a learned skill that really should be an integral part of the game of golf. We certainly are required to judge long putts and chips, pitches and shots punched back into play from off the fairway.
I remember talking to my friend Sam Randolph, and how he said he could sight a yardage 95% of the time within 3 yards of accuracy from inside 200 when he was playing full time on the PGA Tour.
I really think we underestimate ourselves.
I remember Hogan making some interesting comments about why he didn’t give the use of yardages much emphasis on his shotmaking decisions. It’s probably in one of The Vault articles (Seitz?). I might go have a look for it if someone doesn’t beat me to the punch.
I think it’s an interesting topic to discuss on many levels.