Learning, as it relates to the golf swing, occurs when an effort to move the body in a certain way is transformed from a conscious action to an automatic action requiring no thought. This automatic motion is called Motor Memory, or more commonly—muscle memory. For all intents and purposes, it's as if the muscles have a mind of their own and they can perform amazingly complex motions without a person having to think about them.
The transformation from a simple motion requiring conscious thought to one controlled by motor memory takes a certain amount of time—longer than most would imagine. This is an unbelievably crucial point for golfers because if they stop practicing something before it has become motor memory, it will be lost!
For this reason, I recommend all golfers, and especially my students, to practice a new motion for about four weeks (if practicing regularly) before moving on to another. Unfortunately, most golfers work on something for a few days, or at most a few weeks, and this, along with poor instruction, are probably the two biggest reasons most amateurs never improve!
One final, but very important, note—many golf instructors recommend golf lessons spaced at weekly or biweekly intervals. Considering what you've just read, what do you think will happen if you were to take lessons spaced with these intervals? That's right, every time you start work on something new, you'll be losing what you tried to learn from the previous lesson, but didn't.
If your instructor does this, run away from them as fast as you can! I'd suggest finding a better instructor, but even this simple, but most crucial, concept of motor memory and lesson scheduling is probably understood by only a few. If you look hard enough, maybe you'll find an instructor who not only knows what to teach, but also knows how to teach!
Casey Eberting Golf Instruction
Tulsa / Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
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