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Learning Golf- The Seven Foundations

Foundation 6: Understand How to Practice & Learn

by Dr. Ron Cruickshank

Release the Natural Swing You Already Have based on scientific evidence

Fundamental Movements based on the science of Ideal Body Mechanics are the Answer

Students often ask “What is the best way to stop hooking?” or “Why did the ball go right (or left)?” These are what I consider “quick fix” type questions. If an instructor is not present to answer them, they often lead to a guess. If you are guessing, you are no longer practicing. You must stop guessing and change the questions you ask. Instead of asking a “quick fix” question start training the movement of your swing based on the A1K Natural Swing and Ideal Body Mechanics.  When training, stop worrying about results. There is one solution to every swing problem; it is always found in your fundamental movements.

Focus on the Address Position First

The legendary Moe Norman often said “If you don’t have a good address position, you ain’t got nothing”. He said this because the address is the foundation to movement. If you start from a bad starting place, you can’t possibly expect to end up in a good one. During the swing, the body acts like a line of dominoes where one movement triggers the next one. If your grip is mis-aligned, your arm rotations during your swing will also be out of rotation and this problem moves the club incorrectly. Once again, focus on the fundamentals from the beginning and master the address position.

Feedback is a Shortcut

When it comes to interpreting your swing feelings, you are not trustworthy. Don’t be discouraged, nobody’s feelings tell them the truth when learning a new skill. What you think you do and what you feel that you do are on opposite sides of our universe. The only way to bring them together at light speed is with some sort of feedback. There are numerous types of feedback all of which help bring you closer to the perfect Single Plane model. Types of feedback include; Video feedback, using mirrors, processing with training aids and having a coach with you while you practice. Make sure you are practicing with feedback.

Practice Each Movement

Students often ask me how I achieved the Single Plane Swing so perfectly. I tell them that I practiced for the move, not the result. This is a different mindset. Rethink it this way; if you were to train a dancer a 10 step dance, would you have them learn all 10 steps at once or one step at a time? The answer is obvious. Once all 10 steps are learned, the movement can be put together to make the dance. The golf swing is your body dancing with a golf club.

Don’t Hit Balls, Practice the Total Move to Integrate the Feelings!

Once you have learned the parts of the dance, put it together and feel the move. Once you feel the movement (get feedback to ensure it is perfect), repeat it until your body can’t forget it. This is why the greatest ball striker in history, Moe Norman, called his swing, “The Feeling of Greatness”.

Have a Practice Plan in Place

We recommend you divide your practice into two different types.

  1. Practice X – This is practice when you are just thinking target and feeling for tempo and rhythm. Do this kind of practice before a round.
  2. Practice Y – This is learning practice. Think about technical details, look for ball positions, video tape and get feedback. Don’t worry about target or ball flight. You are training Ideal Body Mechanics.

Learning how to learn is a very important part of mastering the game.  Recent research published by the PGA of America has shown that most people actually get WORSE when they practice because they are practicing improperly and without a plan. It is clear, just hitting balls will NOT make you better.  Have a model, practice to replicate the model and get constant feedback.  T

People always enjoy a game when they play well; take the time to invest in learning the fundamentals of golf and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of enjoyment.

The Seven Foundations of Learning Golf: An Overview

Foundation 1 Become a Consistent Ball Striker

Foundation 2 Perfect your Short Game

Foundation 3 Become a Good Putter

Foundation 4 Have Clubs that FIT your body, swing and game

Foundation 5 Become Confident at Course Management Skills

Foundation 6 Practice with Purpose

Foundation 7 Learn to Manage Your Mind and Emotions on the Course