Are you in Canada? Click here to proceed to the HK Canada website.

For all other locations, click here to continue to the HK US website.

Human Kinetics Logo

Purchase Courses or Access Digital Products

If you are looking to purchase online videos, online courses or to access previously purchased digital products please press continue.

Mare Nostrum Logo

Purchase Print Products or eBooks

Human Kinetics print books and eBooks are now distributed by Mare Nostrum, throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Middle East, delivered to you from their warehouse. Please visit our new UK website to purchase Human Kinetics printed or eBooks.

Feedback Icon Feedback Get $15 Off

Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods on Practicing

This is an excerpt from Golf Flow by Gio Valiante.

The Great Ones Talk About Practice


W
hile I am practicing I am also trying to develop my powers of concentration. I never just walk up and hit the ball. I am practicing and adopting habits of concentration which pay off when I play. . . . Adopt a habit of concentration to the exclusion of everything else around you on the practice tee and you will find that you are automatically following the same routine while playing a round in competition. Play each shot as if it were part of an actual round.

Ben Hogan


A
ll my life I've tried to hit practice shots with great care. I try to have a clear-cut purpose in mind on every swing. I always practice as I intend to play. And I learned long ago that there is a limit to the number of shots you can hit effectively before losing your concentration on your basic objectives. I have to believe that some of the guys who virtually live on the practice tee are there because they don't have anything better to do with their time. And I have to believe they often weaken their games by letting their practice become pointless through sheer monotony or fatigue.

Jack Nicklaus


A
t a tournament, I don't really spend a whole lot of time there on the range, or even on the putting green or anything like that. When I get to a tournament site, I feel like my game should be ready. That's one of the reasons why I don't play as many weeks as a lot of these guys do, because I spend a lot of time practicing at home. I do most of my preparation at home. Once I'm at a tournament site, I'm there just to find my rhythm, tune up a little bit, and get myself ready to go play the next day.

Tiger Woods


Hogan, Nicklaus, and Woods all practiced with purpose. Hogan didn't simply hit balls. He hit balls while developing his powers of concentration. Hogan knew that those two things—the physical movement of the golf ball and the mental act of concentration—become associated through repetition and time. Indeed, the meaningful elements of practice will group together into a cohesive framework when you are practicing the right way in a process known to cognitive psychologists as chunking.


Nicklaus was also working to habituate high levels of concentration while also attending to the third principle of skill acquisition outlined by Anders Ericsson: limited, focused practice sessions that had clear purpose. In reading his comment that “my game should be ready,” you can interpret that as “my habits should be ready.” If you practice effectively—purposefully with high levels of concentration—then you will not have to think about those habits on the golf course. They will already be there.

Learn more about Golf Flow.

More Excerpts From Golf Flow

SHOP


HK INSIDER

Get the latest insights with regular newsletters, plus periodic product information and special insider offers.

JOIN NOW