Two Types Of Training – Back to Basics
was a trainee golf professional in the late 1990s, and I was fortunate to grow up in a time when golf was starting to really boom. With a new wave of young talent coming through, we saw the likes of Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby emerging and flying the flag for Australian golf. Greg Norman had well-and-truly stamped himself as the greatest Australian golfer of the modern era.

We were also fortunate to see a new wave of coaches emerging such as Steve Bann who, in 1990, was appointed the founding head coach of the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) program. With partner Dale Lynch, they created a model in Australia which, for the first time, saw golf training align itself with similar training methods used in other national and Olympic sports. This saw many great players emerge from the program including Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddeley to name a few. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with Steve Bann and one of the early lessons I learned from his teaching as it relates to training is that we can categorise our training into two basic forms – technique and competitive training. As training techniques have evolved in golf and sport these two basic forms can be broken down even further.

 Dale Lynch & Steve Bann

When basketball legend and golf addict Michael Jordan first attended a PGA Tour event he stood beside the practice ground and couldn’t believe what he saw. “The rule in basketball is that you make practice more difficult than the game – most of these guys are just going through the motions,” he said.  In fairness to these players, this isn’t the way all of them work at their game although it seems like the range culture of ball beating has certainly spread across the globe and has become the norm for many wannabe golfers working at improving their game.

“The rule in basketball is that you make practice more difficult than the game – most of these guys are just going through the motions” – Michael Jordan


Too often, I hear players talk about their struggles of taking their range game to the golf course – they hit it great on the range and yet cannot transfer that range game to the course. They get bogged down by the technical aspects of the long game, and are unable to transfer that game to the course. Then they practice hitting 10 to 20 shots from one position around the green and wonder why their first chip shot on the course doesn’t produce the same result they were getting in practice. Golf is very situational, you get one shot at it, no mulligan and no second chances so we need to begin training our game in a manner that can replicate those type of situations we face on the course.

It’s therefore vitally important that we understand there are two basic ways to train golf. Many golfers are absorbed in the first way, which is technique training or, for most, it is training their golf swing. There is no question that at every stage of your development as a golfer, your swing is a key factor – be it novice through to tour player.

Then we have competitive training, which is taking the techniques you have learnt – be it long game or short game-related – and applying some skill-based competitive training. Contrary to what many golfers believe, competitive or scoring-based training can be learned at any stage in your development as a golfer and can be developed on and off the course.

Once you have acquired competency in a particular area of the game, for example you have now learned to consistently execute a short iron approach shot (meaning you can make solid contact with your short-iron 70-80 per cent of the time with reasonable accuracy), now it’s time to incorporate some other factors to ready yourself for golf course or competitive play:

Here are the other boxes you need to tick:

– Can you play the shot off varying slopes & lies?

– Can hit a specific target area 7 out of 10 times based on your skill level?

– Can you incorporate your pre-shot routine with little or no-conscious technical thought?

– Can you also do this in a competitive environment with an opponent?

This type of practice takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you back into the reality of what you’re going to face on the golf course – one shot and one chance to execute. There is a saying in sport, “if you’re in your comfort zone, you’re still warming up”. If you think about a time in the past where you were taken out of your comfort zone, you may have been put on the spot and you had to hit a tee shot in front of a large group of people and you weren’t prepared, it may have been your first big amateur tournament. You may not have performed your best at that moment, though by moving out of your comfort zone you grew as a golfer and better prepared the next time.











So, creating adverse training conditions on the range and on the course will prepare you for the challenges that you are about to face when you step on to the first tee. Once you begin to do this often enough, you’ll be more than prepared to meet head-on what once seemed like a challenge.

For more information on technique vs. competitive training download your FREE copy of my eBook series:           The Scoring Zone – Part 1 The New Wave

The New Wavw











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Related Posts:

Training Habits Part 1 – Jordan Spieth – April 4th, 2014

New Rules of Training – Parts 1-3 – November 13th, 2013

New Rules of Training – Parts 4-6 – November 20th, 2013

New Rules of Training – Parts 7-9 – November 26th, 2013

The Improvement Process To Lower Scores – September 19th, 2011

From Teaching To Coaching – June 28th, 2011

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