Motor learning has been described as a set of processes associated with practice or experience that leads to relatively permanent changes. It has four distinct characteristics:
1) It is a process of acquiring the capability for skilled action;
2) It is a result of experience or practice;
3) It cannot be measured directly but only inferred through behavior; and
4) It produces relatively permanent changes in behavior (Shumway-Cook & Woollacott, 2012).
In this definition, it is required that a relatively permanent change in performance must occur as a result of practice to be able to infer that motor learning has occurred. To golfers, how well they can do it “permanently”, or at a minimum, consistently is whether or not they have learned it. This also would imply that they could perform on the course with their “learned” skill. But when a player is in the early phase of learning, there are those skills that are merely short-term alterations. Those initial movements when a golfer is making a change are not actually considered learning if they are only temporary (Schmidt & Lee, 2005). Students need to understand the distinction between learning and performance so they do not expect to be ready for the course when they have not fully learned the movement.
Shumway-Cook, A., & Woollacot, M.H. (2012). Motor control: Theory and practical applications. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Schmidt, R. A., & Lee, T. D. (2005) Motor control and learning: a behavioral emphasis. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.