Incremental Practice vs Levelling Up

hello ,

long time reader, brand new account holder.

I was listening to this the other day,

It’s a video of Be Better Golf interviewing Irish Mike about his handicap drop. I don’t know BeBetterGolf but I’ve heard Mike’s story before and he seems like a top dude. At one point the host mentioned something about “incremental practice” and “levelling up” and how they’re different things. I had not heard that before but it stuck with me.

I feel I maybe in the middle of a level up. I play off 8, but have not really ever had a “proper” impact position, I have a bit of high handle and early extend a smidge. I’ve made it work over the years but neglected to keep an eye on strike and now i’ve a nasty heel bias (the laterals are all too common now) and that heel strike is weak and feels nasty.

So i’m working on rotating through plus squat and bump; I use a lot of Adam Young ideas (3D aim point from the NLG series). I hope to get impact bias to the toe, feel that and then pull it back. I’ve got a lesson booked for this week to check everything so hope to come away with some basepoint data and a concise plan to work on.

But is this levelling up thing real do you think? Or is everything incremental?

I had a google and of course this website came up (so much good stuff on here)

Any thoughts ?


I think a guy show plays handful of times a year and maintains a 5 handicap is a unicorn. I dont feel his result can be extrapolated.

I want him to take me who plays few times per week, practices, and still sucks and make me scratch. Then we know it will work for 90% of people willing to work on it.

Or take a guy who is a 25 handicap and plays ten times a year and make him scratch. Then we will know it works for 98 percent of population.


He seems like a great guy.


I think this is a great way to think about various part of golf and practice… are you trying to improve a skill you already have or are you trying to learn a new skill? They are two very different things, and the success from them looks different as well.

One of the big things I’ve been trying to learn this season is the flighted wedge shot… Keeping the ball lower than my normal ball flight, hitting the green and bouncing and then stopping… when done right it’s easier to control and I’ve found it pretty easy to be on target with… When done wrong, it’s a hot mess that I have no idea where it’s going…

I had been practicing it on the range for a few months, and I’ve finally gotten comfortable enough with it to bring it to the course… it was an immediate game changer for me because it gave me a better chance to put the ball on the green (and hopefully close) from 120 yards and in. It was a big level up skill, and now it’s in refine mode, where I keep practicing it and learn to better control the distances…

Other parts of my game are always being refined… putting distance control can always be improved… it doesn’t necessarily need a new technique, I just need to find drills and make sure I"m doing it correctly and consistently.

I do think we can go too far down the skills rabbit hole… you don’t need to be able to hit a high draw to play golf well… even if it’s a useful skill…

Finding the balance of making sure you have the tools you need, and then making sure those tools are as sharp as possible is part of what makes golf so interesting…


Here’s a couple of pennies worth of thoughts. It’s a pretty messed up game. Even the best in the world screw up. I read what you said about your swing…if you were on the tee and saw Furyk, or Wolf…you probably would cringe until impact. Wanna get good practice, and after you do that. Practice some more, and when you get finished there, practice some more. You can go from from a 20 to a 10 in no time, you can get from a 10 to a 5 in a season with alot of practice…After that it’s very incremental, and the gains you will make will be because you become close to automatic from 120 in getting on the green and 2 putting and making some one putts. It’s a very fun game to play, it’s exhilarating, aggravating, frustrating all at the same time. At the end of the day YOUR swing has to be repetitive to limit misses, YOU have to control the physical, mental and emotional that affect your game and scoring. Practice, then hone your practice, then go back and practice. Some famous dude once said…DIG IT OUT OF THE DIRT…Mr Hogan.

Thanks for the insight everyone. I had a really productive lesson this week; i’ve just got to put the reps in now to get it all unconscious.

I think what I was trying to get at in my initial post is that point when you reach a bit of a hump in golf and there are a few very humbling driving range sessions where I am drilling something new and trying to find strike again. Sticking with it and not resorting back to the old move can be tough.

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