The Art of Transferring

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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A wise person once said that the longest walk in golf was from the practice tee to the first tee. Is your game transferring from the practice tee to the golf course? Do you ever feel like you can’t miss a shot on the range but can’t seem to hit one worth a darn on the course? As a golf instructor and a coach, this is the biggest challenge I face when working with clients. I want you to separate your game into two buckets—working on your game and playing the game. 

Working on your game is important for improvement. I still haven’t met a person that has told me they are too good and don’t want to get better. In order to improve, your skill set has to improve. This can include learning to swing the club more on plane, improving your grip, arcing the putter more so not to cut across putts, etc. The list can go on forever. Working on your skill set is a conscious endeavor, requiring deep thought and awareness. This type of thinking is fine for the practice area but never fine while on the course. Generally speaking, golfers who think about technical thoughts while playing generally don’t perform well.

Playing the game requires less technical thoughts and more sensory thoughts. It is scientifically proven that engaging the right brain while playing increases performance. The right brain is more instinctive, sensory, and reactionary while the left brain is more analytical.  Focusing on your target, visualizing the manner in which you want the ball to fly, feeling smooth tempo, staying on balance, and monitoring your grip pressure are all sensory driven that will allow you to engage your right brain. If you focus on one of the above and stay away from tinkering with the swing, you will perform at a higher level more consistently.

John Stahlschmidt is the Director of Instruction at Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale Arizona. To comment or to schedule a lesson, email John at or visit his website at