Golf Practice - What Not To Do

GLT Golf Director of Education
  • Author: Iain Highfield
  • GLT Golf Director of Education
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What a person avoids in golf practice can be just as important as what they pursue. 

Trudging through familiar methods and golf practice routines during driving range and short game sessions often leaves a golfer feeling empty. We’ve all been there, walking away disgusted after toiling on the practice tee for hours, feeling certain our skills haven’t improved at all. Even worse, we’ve spent an hour hitting pure shots in practice only to find out later that those sweet swings were nowhere to be found once we hit the course. This ‘sum zero’ training is being practiced on ranges and inside indoor facilities all over the world.   

So, let’s focus on common mistakes to avoid during golf practice, explain why it’s important to avoid them and ensure we’re maximizing our valuable golf practice time as we aim to improve our game.  

Our goal is to make you think and train differently, making ‘game-like training’ the integral piece of your golf practice routine. 

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Golf Practice

Free Short Game & Long Game Practice Workbooks - Download Here

  1. Avoid ‘Blocked Practice’ - This is the process of repeating the same task over and over in the exact same conditions. In other words, hitting a 7-iron off the flat same lie to the same target (a flag on the driving range), which obviously would create the same angle repeatedly. The only time this process is useful is in the early stages of learning a skill. Perhaps a beginning golfer will gain from blocked training, however, anyone with advanced skills will not. Skills acquired as a result of blocked training are rarely retained and never last a significant amount of time.

  2. Rep after Rep is Not the Answer - Give a decent golfer enough swings in a row with the same club, taken seconds apart, and he’ll develop a rhythm and feel which typically generates a string of good shots. However, this is another flawed procedure. Ask yourself, how often do you hit 12 consecutive 6-irons on the golf course? The answer, of course, is never. So there’s little to no benefit to firing off one shot after another on the driving range during golf practice. Limit yourself to two swings at the same target per club, and equally important take a break between shots, going through your preshot routine to simulate conditions you’ll face on the course. 

  3. Muscle Memory is a Fallacy - If we had a nickel for every time we’ve heard a instructor tell a student they had to develop new ‘muscle memory’ … well, we’d have a lot of nickels. Scientific study has proven, there’s no such thing. Rather, the golf swing is a process of ‘motor learning.’ The goal of golf practice is to teach the golfer how to execute a single shot based on executing the total process. Put simply, the golfer must practice the entire process to achieve the desired results.   

Keep these thoughts in mind the next time you carve time out of your schedule for golf practice. 

Click here to learn more about 'THE MYTH OF MUSCLE MEMORY' with learning expert Dr Tim Lee