How Many Hours Does it Take to See a Significant Improvement in Your Golf Game?

How Many Hours Does it Take to See a Significant Improvement in Your Golf Game?

John Callahan - Head Shot - 9-2017

John Callahan, PGA Professional, Golf Magazine Adjunct Top 100 Teacher,
College of Golf Instructor

Note: There are many factors that comprise ones “golf game” — factors such as mental approach, course management, fitness, golf equipment and golf swing.

So to see a significant improvement in the game, we may need improvement in one, more, or all of the above.

However, golf instructors are most often tasked with working on a player’s golf swing.

In fact, most people who sign up for a golf lesson (to improve their game) are looking for an improvement in their swing, so that is the emphasis of this article.

Significant Improvement to the Golf Swing—How long Will It Take?

If you listen to golf infomercials, the answer to the title question ranges from 1 swing to 30 minutes.

This only fuels the false expectation of immediate improvement widely held by most golfers.

And when golfers don’t get instant results from a golf lesson, a training aide or the newest space-age golf club, they go away disappointed.

So what is the answer to anyone who is sincerely interested in improving their motor skill we call the golf swing?

Practice is the usual answer to the question—but how much and of what quality?

We all know golfers who hit golf balls for years, but their swing never changes and their game never improves.

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Fortunately, there are numerous studies that examine motor skills.

The most quoted estimate of adequate repetitions (practice) to rebuild a motor skill engram is 3,000 to 5,000 (Schmidt, 1991). That estimate may turn you off if you have unrealistic expectations.

However, let’s assume you have reasonable expectations and even use the high end of 5,000 repetitions.

I tell my students that once we identify a task to practice that will improve their swing, ideally he or she should rep the task 800 times a week.

At that rate a change should take approximately six weeks before the student sees a significant improvement in his or her swing.

To insure a significant change within this six-week time frame, the student must be provided accurate feedback throughout the process.

This usually entails weekly lessons from a trusted instructor to make sure there isn’t any regression toward the old swing pattern, and that each rep is done with ‘Full Intention and Full Attention’ (Tomasi, 2013).

‘Full Intention tells your brain the reason why you are doing the rep; Full Attention, means that your brain’s mental spotlight is focused on your performance of the rep to the exclusion of other swing thoughts.’

If you believe the infomercials, this process may seem like the long way to improvement, but it is the only way.

There are no shortcuts.

If you enjoyed this golf tip, here’s how you can get even more. Contact Keiser University College of Golf about the first steps to golf career.