How Golfers Learn 0

How Golfers Learn is something all golf teachers need to know

Golf Teachers Need to Know the Different Avenues to Learning

Every golfer has his own way of learning, which means teachers need to understand how golfers learn, says Las Cruces golf instructor T.J. McMullan.

Thomas T.J. McMullan, golf instructor, stresses teacher must underrstand how golfers learn
Las Cruces golf instructor T.J. McMullan

Here’s what he means:

Understanding your own unique learning style is crucial to learning new techniques while playing golf.

Implementing the proper repetition and using both qualitative and quantitative practice is how a new technique is perfected. Every person learns and receives information differently, and understanding how they learn is the key to relating each topic to them.

The majority of students fall into three distinct groups in how they learn.

The Three Ways How Golfers Learn

Visual learners are students who excel when actions are performed for them through demonstrations or visual aids such as camera work or mirror usage.

Verbal learners are students who can listen to you describe the difference between what they do versus what you would like them to do.

Kinesthetic learners are people who can make changes by “feeling” the difference and they learn best by physically doing the new action.

I am strong believer that every student actually shows total understanding by using all three of these and implementing new changes by seeing a change while listening to the difference between the two movements, then, finally muscle memory will allow the player to feel the change.

After a lesson, it becomes vital to practice effectively in order to make sure the new changes are being practiced and regression doesn’t take place. One of most effective ways to get better is understanding that the quality of practice repetitions is more important than the quantity.

I believe that each instructor should understand how golfers learn and be setting up practice routines so that they can ensure that the student is practicing efficiently. The key to quality practice is using both intrinsic feedback as well as augmented feedback to help each student find specific feelings that correlate to specific mechanics.

Intrinsic feedback is most commonly achieved through the use of training aids that help achieve mechanics while actually practicing. Augmented feedback is great to use when the proper “feels” have been incorporated into a student’s swing. That’s because you can use either data points from a launch monitor or use video work to see measurable differences.

Finding out how golfers learn and applying that to an individual student, then formulating and adapting a plan to tailor your instruction to their needs are only half the battle.

The student still needs to go out and practice efficiently to achieve actual measurable changes. The real key to practice is designing a practice routine with the use of proper training aids and specific measurable repetitions to achieve measurable results.

Thomas “T.J.” McMullan is a golf instructor in Las Cruces, N.M. He is an alumnus of New Mexico State University’s Professional Golf Management program and the owner-operator of Cruces Total Golf. Reach him at

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Dan Vukelich, former editor of ABQ Free Press and Sun Country Golf magazine, is editor of He's a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America. Reach him at

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