Have you had those moments during a great lesson where you feel good about what you learned, but then the next time you head to the course, you have a hard time implementing it all? It’s frustrating when, after a good lesson, you’re not able to repeat on the course what you were doing so well with your instructor. Maybe you feel like you’re doing the same things as before, but you can’t quite execute in the same way. Whatever it is that’s happening, here are three steps to help you transfer learning from lessons to the course.
Reflect on what you’ve learned
When you’re working on mechanics with your pro, break down the corrections into one or two words to describe what you’re trying to do. You can even check with the pro to confirm these cues are appropriate and that they will help you execute as intended. Keep in mind you want these cues to happen in the same timing and rhythm as execution so you can’t use long phrases. At the end of the lesson, review all cues with your pro to make sure you remember them. Write these down on a piece of paper to keep in your golf bag, or make a note on your phone.
Practice at home
You can practice your swing at home, or use imagery to mentally practice. Regardless of physical or mental execution of the swing, use your cue words. Repeat them to yourself before you begin the swing, and then say them—either out loud or in your head—when you complete the swing. For example, if your cues are ‘look down, breathe, shoulders down, smooth tempo, straight arm, follow through’, then you repeat this at each moment that part of the swing happens. This practice at home will help you commit these cues to memory.
Take it back out to the course
Now that you’ve had your lesson and have been practicing at home with your cues, it’s time to use them on the course. It’s important to repeat your cues on every swing until the new mechanics become second nature. Remember that you can repeat these cues before your swing, but also during so that you can execute just like you did during your lesson and your practice at home. Over time, you may not need to always use the cues, and can trust your muscle memory, but if you find that old habits come back, return to the cues you’ve created and check back in with your pro if needed.
It’s normal to have great lessons and then find it challenging to repeat the same swing on the course. We need to help ourselves create that muscle memory, and we can do so by creating and using cues. Keep in mind it will take time for cues to feel normal, so continue to use them, adjusting the wording and timing as needed. By using your mind to help you focus on cues, you can improve and maintain your mechanics on the course.