Improve Golf Swing Performance – Avoiding “Errors of Practice”

Golfers can spend countless hours on the practice course trying to improve golf swing performance.

For all the time, energy, and effort a golfer invests in their practice sessions, what’s produced is usually a relatively low ROI.

To truly improve golf swing performance golfers must involve themselves in a more objective and intelligently designed practice routine – stepping outside their comfort zone.

In the book, ‘The Winning Touch in Golf, A Psychological Approach”, author Peter G. Cranford, Ph.D. offers some tips on redesigning your practice routine to better leverage your efforts and improve golf swing performance.

Cranford writes;

“There are a number of errors of practice which lead to inefficiency. A common one occurs when a golfer practices the very shot with which they have the greatest skill.

How could such an apparently obvious mistake be prevalent? Here are a few reasons:

1. Because a golfer can make a given shot, they derive more pleasure from practicing it than a shot which continually causes
them anguish.

2. They may not have the courage to make a public display of their weak shots.

3. The good shot they are practicing may have been a weak shot at one time, and they have allowed a good idea to become a somewhat unreasonable fixed idea through simple habit.

4. Poor form can force a golfer to practice strengths excessively and incorrectly. It is possible for a person to get good results by excessive practice of a weak technique. I saw an example of this by a player who was very successful in using lofted clubs close to the green, when a less lofted club was indicated. Although they did very well with their shot, they attained this by excessive practice which could have been better apportioned to their putting, which was only fair.

Practice alone is insufficient. It is inextricably tied to form. If the form is poor, practice will hopelessly fixate that form. Each form has its upper limits beyond which practice runs into a disproportionately low improvement for a given amount of time.

It is vital, therefore, that the golfer undertake a ceaseless quest for good form, and get it as early in their instruction as they can.

5. They may make the error of not understanding the law of diminishing returns. This simply means that it can be dangerous
to try to become “too good” with any given club. There comes a point in every shot at which additional practice does not produce an equivalent improvement in the score.

A concrete example of the application of this is the following: The problem to be solved is that when you are off the green you are taking three and four to get down instead of two. There are several solutions. With the first, you can practice putting until you learn to get down in one. With the second, you can practice chipping until you are so accurate that it always leaves a “gimme.” The third, which is the most efficient, would be to practice chipping and putting together until you could reasonably be expected to go down in two. The first two “solutions” would require excessive practice.

Many professional golfers have drawn big dividends from a selective investment of practice time by concentrating on their short game. However, this does
not mean that the short game should be practiced ad infinitum. After a good short game has been stabilized, an analysis of your play may well show diminishing returns from such practice, and the time will then have come to attack other weaknesses that are revealed to be more costly.

6. Still another common error, which we have indicated previously by implication, is that a person is not practicing their true weakness. They may be practicing what is only apparently a weakness. To establish the weakness with the first priority on their time, it is necessary for them to analyze their records.”

To improve golf swing performance, try being more objective and “selective” when structuring your practice sessions.

Try using Cranford’s tips to help redesign your practice routine.

Check back soon for more articles and posts to improve golf swing performance.

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