The Learning Process
Much like learning to play music, in golf we must learn isolated moves first. Musicians learn to read music first, they learn what each hand does and then over time they establish a subconscious understanding to play. As with the ‘wax on, wax off’ scenario in the movie ‘Karate Kid’, Danny LaRusso is taught an isolated move and what he feels a monotonous and pointless action by Mr Miyagi. In truth LaRusso had to perform this simple motion time and time again so that he could master it and progress to the next stage in the learning process.
It IS possible to jump in to the deep end, so to speak, and perfect golf mechanics by feel much like it is possible to learn music by ear. BUT very few people have this ability and even then diligent isolated motions still produce better results.
The point I’m getting at highlights the lack of understanding toward the learning process in golf. Time and time again I see countless golfers hitting balls mindlessly with no purpose or reason. No solid foundations are being formed. If a golfer is taught well, practices diligently then he/she ultimately will arrive at a point where they can play purely by feel and imagination. They, however, will be able to explain in detail how they do it and therefore understand wholly the process required to improve further.
So, as taxing as it may be golfers must break down the mechanics and perfect each isolated move in turn. Then with time blend all these new motor patterns together to form the complete motion. This can only be achieved by performing specific drills and techniques that help initiate the correct muscular movement.
To many this process seems very time consuming and simply divert to hitting balls mindlessly. Believe me the quality and diligent time spent performing isolated movements will reap rewards in the long term and will drastically speed up the learning process, not hinder it.