Golf Practice - The importance of context

  • Author: Iain Highfield
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A golfer’s practice needs to recreate and simulate specific situations they will face on the golf course. This will allow you to regulate your practice and help you master a vitally important piece of psychological processing – chunking.




It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced golfer, recreating and simulating the specific challenges you will face on the golf course is such a powerful training methodology for one main reason – it gives you the opportunity to chunk. Which isn’t as terrible as it sounds.


Imagine a piece of information. Within that piece of information, there are details, nuances, concepts, movements and much more. The piece of information is what’s being referred to as a chunk and is stored in our memory. Chunks then become accessible pieces of information that, if trained to do so, golfers can retrieve and use in a tournament situation.

To be accessible during the competition, your practice must have heavily involved both the recreation and the simulation of game-like situations.

Over a period of time the stimulus that is created from the environment around a golfer will fire the right patterns, connect to the right chunks of information and allow you to transfer skills you’ve practiced into tournament play.

It’s this interaction between the brain, body and the environment that must happen for golfers to a.) acquire new skills and b.) transfer them into competition, or as some like to say, take their range game to the course. Therefore golfers must practice in the environment that the game is played, this is known as contextual practice. 

Click - Download Chapter 1 & 2 of Team GLT's Revolutionary Golf Practice Book

Repetition…Of the total process of hitting a shot… Driven by contextual practice…


During competitive play a golfer has to adapt to the demands of the environment, (the wind or an uneven lie being prime examples) – not to mention the stresses contributed by the competition and its outcomes. And these stresses are all relative, whether it’s a putt for your first major victory, tour card or the lowest net score in the Sunday medal, that stress response is still going to fire.


Performance games


Experts in the fields of motor learning, cognition, sports science, as well as leading golf coaches, say recreating and simulating specific situations a golfer will face on the golf course directly influence the development of ‘chunks’ – and therefore the development and 'retention' of the corresponding skills.


Performance games are specifically designed tasks that relate to different areas of your game.


Players at a level closer to beginner may decide to try a single performance game at any one time, such as a putting game, while more advanced golfers may decide to interleave 2 games, for example…


Hit 5 shots from a full swing game……and then 5 putts from a putting game……before returning back to the full swing game…

… and repeat!


Click Here to Download our FREE Performance Game Workbook


Constraint-led learning challenges


At GLT, we also increase context and help skill transfer through Constraint-led learning challenges that take place (gasp) on the golf course.


This type of practice involves placing ‘constraints’ on either the learner, the task or the environment that will result in certain behaviours emerging from the player.


Successful completion of the task depends on the golfer developing situational awareness and actively discovering solutions to solve the problems that the constraints create.


Watch the video below for an example of a on on couse constraints challenge that results in contextual golf practice.