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How to Practice Remedial Golf

The 24th Secret


In order for a golfer to improve efficiently, practice must be remedial; that is it must eliminate the specific errors which are costing him the most strokes.

To do this, a number of steps are required:

1. He must have a system of locating errors.

2. He must periodically analyze these errors to see which are costing him the most strokes.

3. He must arrange his remedial practice (the correcting of these errors) so that he is devoting most of his practice time to the shots which are so costly.

4. He must be sure that he duplicates the exact shot which is causing him the greatest difficulty. (The best place is on the course itself, whenever possible.)

5. He must attempt to over-learn in the area in which he is weakest. This means that he must not only correct the error but must over-practice. Over-practice or over-
learning is necessary to take care of forgetting. He must develop more skill than is actually necessary in play, because something is always forgotten.

6. He must try new techniques under playing conditions and, if they do not work, he must return to the practice grounds. He must again be sure that his practicing
duplicates exactly the shot which is required, or the new skill will not show up in better performance.

The chief result of such remedial practice is that it saves the most strokes for the time invested. For instance, it is well known that after a layoff, the short game shows the most rapid deterioration. In returning to play after such an interval, you will be able to play much closer to your average if you practice putting, chipping and short approaches rather than the full shots.
In addition, remedial practice produces a very steady brand of golf. The amount of time devoted will determine the level of play, but at any level, it will produce scores that hover close to one's average. When one uses the remedial practice system, a poor performance in one category, such as in the irons, is compensated for in another category, such as putting, so that good luck and bad luck tend to cancel each other out. With remedial practice, there comes the day when all cylinders are operating well, and this produces some very satisfying scores.
Be realistic about your chances of improvement. If you do not engage in remedial practice, you cannot improve. To paraphrase Newton, "An error put in motion will continue to be an error until acted upon by remedial practice." No error will disappear of its own accord. A golfer is not entitled to swear about a missed golf shot if he has missed this same shot previously and did not correct it in the meantime.