PGA Pros, Golf Instructors and Analysts use all kinds of feedback to help their students improve their golf swings. The purpose of such feedback is to help the student golfer get a mental picture and ultimately, a physical “feel” for the correct swing. The earlier in one’s career that accurate feedback is offered, the earlier will the golfer develop that “feel.”
Jack Grout grabbed young Jack Nicklaus’s hair at age 10, to hold Nicklaus’ head steady. Grout was frustrated with Nicklaus’ “bobbing head.” But Jack got the message through this tactile, physical or kinesthetic feedback. In 2010, during Tiger Woods warm up for a PGA Tournament, Steve Williams was seen on TV holding the grip end of a club to Tiger’s head, to give feedback to Tiger to keep his head steady.
Other types of feedback are offered with the help of video and with words. Video feedback can help golfers who learn best through pictures, images and photos. Visual feedback helps the student get that mental picture of a correct swing. Words of instruction also give feedback, aimed at correcting flaws in a golfer’s swing. Ultimately however, all feedback must be transmitted to the muscles of the golfer, so that the swing can be frequently repeated through “feel.”
Much is written and verbalized about terms like feel, muscle memory, motor memory, procedural memory, or even habit. All of these terms can probably be used interchangeably, according to one’s liking. But they are not memories stored in one’s muscles, but memories stored in one’s brain that are similar to the physical tasks that are repeated by one’s muscles.
All of the above terms are a form of procedural or physical memory, gained through repetition that can help golfers improve their swings and develop good and consistent swings. Some might even call this memory “habit” but that term has acquired a negative connotation; like a “bad habit.” But a good swing can also have been developed through good habits.
Whatever is your liking, feedback is required to gain a consistent and repeatable swing through repetition. The longer the repetition of the correct swing, the stronger is that memory or habit. It is for this reason that almost all of today’s top golfers started playing and getting correct feedback when they were quite young. Tiger at age 2, Hogan and Player at age 9, Nicklaus at age 10, Paula Cramer at age 10, Michelle Wie at age 8, to name a few of current and past golfing stars.
Whether it is tactile, visual, auditory or physical it is quite difficult to develop a good golf swing or to improve upon one’s golf swing without accurate feedback.