I was first introduced to “Chunking” in a P.E class when I was 15, and I’ve pretty much been using it ever since.

Mr Kroll, my P.E teacher asked us to memorize a random sequence of numbers and then deliver our findings to the class. We only had like 30 seconds to remember the numbers then they were rubbed off the board.

The numbers went something like this.. 3, 72, 32, 7, 78, 43, 12, 52, 63, etc etc 

Some in the class remembered all the numbers but most didn’t, and I was one of those that didn’t. I just didn’t know how to..

Then Mr Kroll started explaining that if you actually divide the numbers up into smaller chunks it was easier to remember. Instead of trying to remember all 9 different numbers break the numbers down into 3 chunks of 3. So It would go something like “3, 72, 32” – “7, 78, 43” – “12, 52, 63” It’s a lot easier this way and it’s a lot easier to play the game of golf when you start applying this chunking method..

Instead of trying to play 18 holes. next time you go out for a round break the round up into “chunks”.

I play the game like this.. holes “1,2,3” – “4,5,6” – “7,8,9” (front nine) “10,11,12” – “13,14,15” – “16,17,18” (back nine)

I’m trying to make as many birdies as I can during my time on the course and we all know that it’s damn near impossible to have the kind of momentum needed to birdie 18 holes (that’s what we should all be trying to do btw) in a row. The mental exhaustion is simply too much.

It isn’t that exhausting however if we just try and make 3 birdies in a row. I try and have an absolute maximum score of level par on any given 3 hole chunk. If I bogey a hole I’ve got to bounce right back with a birdie to stay on track.

Once you’ve played 3 holes give your self a break and a pat on the back. Take in some water, have a protein bar or a banana or an apple. You’ve negotiated the first part of the round now there’s the others to contend with.

Here’s the deal: Generally people can only concentrate for short periods of time. Adopting a game plan of trying to concentrate for 4-5 hours while playing 18 holes I don’t think is the most efficient or effective way to go about it.

I can only remember my cell phone number because I break the digits down into 3 chunks “area code” – “middle 3 numbers” – “last 3 numbers”.

Chunking and Practice

chunkingToday is martin luther King day here In the land of the free so it’s only fitting I include him in this blog.

I like this statement because it really makes people aware of just how the fundamentals of the game should be learned first.

You ain’t gonna start to shoot low numbers unless you’ve taken the time to learn the fundamentals of the game first. And I’m not particularly talking about the golf swing.

I strongly advise people to practice how they WANT to play the game. But no body does! It’s only the guys who are interested in actually playing the game properly who you see practicing in the correct manner on the range.

If we are now “chunking” our round of golf into six chunks of “3 hole” games. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start practicing doing that on the range. 

Next time you go and practice, practice playing the first 3 holes of the course on the range. You may need a 5 yard fade with Driver, and a low punch 9 Iron into the first green. So practice doing exactly that on the range.

If you can’t hit a 5 yard fade with you driver or a low punch 9 Iron, CLICK HERE I know a man that can help..

Disclaimer: Although I like to talk a lot about how to play the game and the stuff that goes on in between our ears. It isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference if you haven’t learned the moves to navigate the ball around the course with power and accuracy. 

I generally advise this formula depending on your handicap and skill level:

Beginners = 100% of practice time on Technique (You need to learn the action to take to the course)
Scratch Players = 80% of practice time should be practicing how you play. 20% of the time should be on Technique.

You can find the 80/20 rule turn up just about everywhere you look..

To make it simpler, start looking at the swing as only having to learn 3 things.. How the body (our pivot) works, how our arms work, and how our hands work. If you can narrow down your ball striking issues to one of these areas, just try and learn all you can about that particular area. Youtube or google things like “golf swing hips” “left leg in the golf swing” “the role of the head in the golf swing”. You’ll probably be in front of your computer for a good few hours and everyone and his dog has an opinion on what does what. That’s what’s some awesome about the internet..

If you haven’t got a clue where to start with your golf swing. Like I said, I know a man who can help CLICK HERE

If we were going to break or “chunk” the role of our body in the golf swing we could do that by understanding the exact role of such things like:

1. The Head
2. The Shoulders
3. The Hips
4. The Knees
5. The Feet

Then we could do the same for the role of our arms and hands. Once you’ve learned what each part does and the role of each segment in the swing, It’s a lot easier to self diagnose on the range and course.

If you can learn what each individual part of the swing does. You’re golden!

Beware of the quick fix

What many people want is the quick fix. This doesn’t exist I’m afraid. What does exist is a formula of identifying what part of the machine (your swing) isn’t functioning properly and developing a strategy of gradually changing it’s patterns. 

If you’ve been playing golf for 10 years with a dodgy right arm action. Do you think you’ll be walking out after the lesson with a totally new swing to play with? Chances are you won’t be. Sorry! To genuinely become good at this game you have to understand this idea of reprogramming what isn’t functioning properly.

If your problem is your right arm, and you’re getting the club in some ungodly positions, then the answer is to find out how the right arm should work and simply reprogram it to work in that way.

I’ve literally been doing this for the best part of 27 years now in my own swing. I know first hand how we should go about making changes, and it’s not about drilling balls off the lesson tee at full speed.

To make a change and understand the change, we have to perform the new task in slow motion first. Don’t forget it’s gonna feel like you’ve never swung the club before, to start with. So give yourself a break. Make it easier for yourself and accept it’s gonna take a while to feel good.

When I work with players I’ll often say stuff like this “We need 10,000 reps of that new move. So 1000 reps a day and in 10 days you should be good – deal??” 

What I’m doing there is making my student aware that:

1. You don’t get anything out of this game without putting something in first. It owes you nothing.

2. That 10,000 of anything isn’t that many, when you adopt a “chunking” methodology. 

If he or she is a good player they generally stick to the schedule and start to see the results they’re after in a short period of time.

It’s only the guys and girls who try and cheat it, that don’t end up making any progress with their game.

So here’s a challenge for you. Once you know what part of your swing needs attention, make a 1000 repetitions of that new move over the next 10 days. I realize everyones busy with work and family etc. If you’re practicing the new move through a relevant drill you can maybe get it done in under and hour. Often, you can practice with a short training club at home. It’s the rep’s that we are after. With reps you can start to change the patterns you’ve developed and really make changes in the golf swing.

Be prepared to sweat, and welcome to the wonderful world of deep practice…

Please leave a response below and let others know how a bit of deep practice to change your patterns has improved your game.

All the best