Brain and Body

Some golfers hit the practice range only when there’s something wrong with their swing. Those who understand the importance of muscle memory practice even when their swing is in sync.

Guess who tends to play consistently well, especially under pressure?

Because his muscles have been conditioned to “remember” a good swing, the second golfer stands a much better chance of success under all circumstances.

Let’s back up and explain muscle memory. According to Wikipedia, “When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort.”

In other words, muscle memory is all about repetition. That’s why the pros practice for hours on end, even when things are hunky-dory. A key benefit of ingrained muscle memory is that it helps stave off the swing-wrecking effects of nerves or other unusual forces.

How often have you watched a pro golfer play a series of great shots on the home stretch, then heard him describe the intense pressure attending those holes? Even though he was swamped with nerves, muscle memory produced one solid golf swing after another – just like he practiced.

After your next good round, stick around and hit a small bucket of balls if you have the time, or return ASAP for a thorough range session. Build good memories for your muscles and they’ll pay you back when you really need it.