The Learning Formula
by Michael Hebron, PGA Master Professional, CI
Smithtown Landing CC, Smithtown, NY

We each play golf exactly the way that we personally perceive the game and the
swing. What we see and feel before, during and after each shot is very
important to our progress. With that in mind, we want to give some thought to
how we develop our perceptions.
While being informed is very important, it does not stand alone. Information must
be put to work and personalized in order to learn any physical skill. If we try to
just follow, we are not involving our intelligence. We need a combination of
information before we have actually learned a physical skill.
The Learning Formula is:
Information that is correct and appropriate for the individual
Implementation and then personalizing the message
Golf, as well as any physical activity, is learned by the player, not taught by the
instructor. Golf instruction provides and supports the learning process. The
instructor should be creating a big clear window from which the student gathers
information. The professional instructors' challenge is to find ways to deliver the
instruction message so that the student can personalize it -- improve his/her
perception and feel -- and be able to remember the personalized information.
There are two forms of instructors, the physical and the non-physical. The
physical instructor can be seen, such as your teacher, coach, a book, or tape.
The non-physical instructor lives within you. It is your memory, experience,
understanding, intuition, creativity, will, knowledge, perception, self image, fears,
negative and positive thinking and your judgment and commitment. The
non-physical is your most powerful instructor.
Physical instructors provide you with knowledge and help you understand the
choices and experience. Your own non-physical instructor that lives within you is
the one that allows you to truly understand and personalize the knowledge
offered by the physical instructor.
When we set out to learn, improve or change our golf game we probably will not
see or progress initially. We may even see regression, but this is only natural.
Students should know the difference between learning and performing, and
practice accordingly. Don't be overly concerned with performance results when
you are in the learning transition. While practicing, you are personalizing the
message, and the light in the tunnel will begin to shine brighter and brighter.
Golfers taking instruction generally want to learn how to hit the ball with
repeatable control. Many golfers find instruction filled with information that is too
detailed or that they don't understand. The next time you consider reading
instruction tips, watching a golf instruction tape or take a tip from your golf
buddies, think about two things- how qualified is the source and is it appropriate
for you. When you are taking in the information beware if you don't understand
the reasoning behind the suggestion. If you decide to give it a try, get involved,
personalize it - and allow time for you non physical instructors to turn on the light!

copyright Michael Hebron, all rights reserved, 2008