"Easier Said Than Done", by Dr. Rick Jensen

Book passages from one of my favorite golf books, "Easier Said Than Done" by Dr. Rich Jensen.

You can't skip these steps or you will trip and fall.

Most golfers think they can bypass the steps necessary to get better at a particular skill. They think there's a quick fix for everything, a magic pill that will suddenly make their slice or topped shot disappear when the weekend arrives. But it's more wishful thinking than anything else. Like other sports, there's a hierarchy of skills - a progression set of skills in golf that you must develop over time. You have to engage in a process of learning, of truly mastering these skills.

Learning golf is a process, not an epiphany. You have to walk an athletic skill up several steps before you can master it. You can't acquire skill through the media (magazine, books, television), by sharing tips from your friends, or through infrequent and disconnected lessons by a variety of teaching professionals. What other sports are learned this way? Only in golf would you attempt to flip on a balance beam before you learned to walk on the beam.

In order to finally own a skill to a point where it will hold up under pressure, you must walk the skill up The Four Steps to Mastery.


1) Understanding Cause and Effect
You determine which skill is costing you the most strokes, seek understanding of what you're doing wrong, and identify what you need to do to fix it. Take a lesson from a golf instructor and you will find yourself on step 1 - gaining understanding of cause and effect - identifying the causes of the errors and their respective solutions.

2) Supervised Practice
This involves supervised practice - lots of repetition with feedback. Golf is a motor skill and therefore requires repetition of motion for the motor cortex of the brain to store the skill as a habit. Step 2 involves focused repetition with feedback provided by the coach (or from a drill or other training aid prescribed by the coach.)

3) Transfer Training
This involves exposing the skill to conditions that simulate those that you'd experience on the golf course under competition. Can you do the prescribed drill eight times out of ten? The drill should then be varied while under progressively more stressful conditions. It is very common, when your technique is first exposed to these various transfer conditions, to revert back to your prior tendencies. Many repetitions under transfer conditions are needed to extinguish old habits and to develop the new skill to the point where it will reliably show up on the golf course. This step might take months to transcend and is the one step that golfs most fail to complete.
(more to come here)

4) Play

Important to remember:
Stop thinking that just because you understand what you are doing wrong and how to fix it, that you can head directly to the course and execute it.  Since you've skipped two critical learning steps (i.e., Supervised Practice and Transfer Training), success is unlikely.