Learn golf the GLT way. You can't learn to swim in a bathtub

Iain Highfield
  • Author: Iain Highfield
  • Director
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Michael phelps swimming

If you decided to become an Olympic swimmer and were presented with the following options, which would you choose?

1. Swim daily in your bath tub and perfect your stroke.
2. Go to the pool and learn to race against other swimmers.

I am sure most of you would select option 2. However, when it comes to golf, most players select the equivalent of learning to swim in the bath tub, aka, perfecting their swing on the golf range.

If all you want to have a is perfect swing, there is no problem with this; however, if you want to develop the ability to actually play great golf, you need to make sure your practice is in context.

A perfectly formed swing is irrelevant if you don’t have the awareness to adapt to the environmental demands of the golf course.

How do you access those perfect swing mechanics on a lie that is not flat? What adaptations are you required to make?

How do you know what your ‘smartest target’ is for that tricky par 3 surrounded by water if you have not been faced with that challenge in practice? Perhaps, those perfectly formed mechanics are about to fire the ball in the place that you least desire.

How do you maintain that effortless tempo and tension free body that you felt on the range when, all of a sudden, you have a target that is surrounded by bunkers, and the outcome of the shot actually will make a contribution to some form of score.

All these questions are ones that the GLT philosophy addresses.

A bath tub

So, if you are a golfer wanting to get better, ask yourself, “How contextual is your current practice?” Could you go on the course and attempt shots from challenging lies, perhaps giving yourself 3 chances to execute the more demanding shots, recording in a note book how you adapted successfully to the environment?

And for those of you that are restricted to the range, are you changing club with every ball you hit? Perhaps hitting one driver, one 7 iron and then walking to the putting green and attempting to hole a 20ft putt.

Game Like Training Friends Graeme McDowell and Peter Arnott are experts in this area and have some very interesting evidence based views – hear what they have to say on this subject on GLT radio -