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Playing Golf Without a (Swing) Thought

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108 members have voted

  1. 1. How often do you play a competitive round of golf WITHOUT a swing thought or a focal point? Please read first post before answering.

    • Never - I always have something in mind
      45
    • Rarely
      39
    • Often
      21
    • Always - I just hit the ball and don't think about anything like that
      6


209 posts / 32417 viewsLast Reply

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On 1/15/2019 at 11:00 PM, Puttin4Dough said:

if they tell you they think about swing thoughts over the ball, and especially during their swing, or they aren't top-end Tour players. 

I don’t agree.

18 hours ago, phillyk said:

No thoughts mid swing here...

And this is why. Your input please @Puttin4Dough?

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19 hours ago, phillyk said:

No thoughts mid swing here...

I would classify that as a reaction. The mind is acting, but it could absolutely be out of our hands. 

In this case I say this resembles more of a person avoiding a car crash. We pretty much just view the outcome of our reaction. 

7 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

And this is why. Your input please @Puttin4Dough?

Why poke the guy? 

Also, a lot of those depend on the time he notices. The earlier he notices the more obvious you see Tiger stop way sooner. The one were he misses the ball, pulling a Kevin Na move, probably happened way later in the swing. 

I would say those are all reactions not conscious thought. 

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1 minute ago, saevel25 said:

I would say those are all reactions not conscious thought. 

But it still is an example of something changing mid-swing.  His reaction is a result of an outside influence, and Tiger could stop his swing.  The timing to do that and strength is nuts.  So, why can't one go in knowing they have a swing thought and make it happen with more time than those reactions?

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5 minutes ago, phillyk said:

But it still is an example of something changing mid-swing.  His reaction is a result of an outside influence, and Tiger could stop his swing.  The timing to do that and strength is nuts.  So, why can't one go in knowing they have a swing thought and make it happen with more time than those reactions?

I am in support of a swing thought. I was not sure the example you gave, not exampled like you just did now, supported that idea. 

I would still think those two things are a bit off.

First, you have a golfer who thinks of a practice swing feel that produces a desired result.

Second, you have a red button emergency stop reaction to something that bothered the golfer. This reaction is something that Tiger must have gotten into his head as a proper reaction. It's not a trained swing thought per say. 

I get where you are going, but not sure it's the best way to validate your side. I am on your side with using swing thoughts. 

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1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

Why poke the guy? 

It’s a discussion and he’s an adult. I didn’t insult him. I simply asked for his input. I don’t really see that as poking him. My point was Tiger stopped his swing using his mind which created a change in movement based on a feeling he must’ve had or a thought during his swing.

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

My point was Tiger stopped his swing using his mind which created a change in movement based on a feeling he must’ve had or a thought during his swing.

I could say that Tiger's subconscious mind stopped his swing. That he didn't actually decide in the sense you are thinking of especially when relating it to a swing thought. 

In this sense I am more inline to say that Tiger Woods did not think at all when he stopped his swing. He reacted to something. Did his mind cause him to do it, yes. Yet, that sort of action isn't in the same realm as a swing thought. 

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1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

He reacted to something. 

I see your point. It would help to know what he was reacting to. If he was thinking, ‘remember, hands high..’ then at the top he didn’t feel right and was quite remarkably able to stop ...then I think it well defines a swing thought action/reaction process. However if he heard a noise or some distraction and canceled the swing..then perhaps there wasn’t a swing thought but just an immediate reaction with no thought.

Edited by Vinsk

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Two quick comments:

  • Stopping mid-swing is not a swing thought. It's not what we're talking about here.
  • Don't poke at people. That's not what the OP is about, nor is it the point of the discussion.

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What amazes me is how often (for me) a pretty drastic swing thought can produce no change mechanically in golf. If I’m facing a bag and practicing a spinning back fist and focus on hitting the bag higher up...I’ll do it. But I can focus and think, ‘ don’t let my trail elbow get stuck behind me’ or ‘ take the club more upright and not inside’ and although I feel myself doing it...my proprioception seems on...video shows I did nothing different. So I wonder if there are people who have a swing thought that produces a good shot... but in actuality they’re not doing what they think they’re doing? Doesn’t matter I suppose if the thought is working. 

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9 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

So I wonder if there are people who have a swing thought that produces a good shot

Obviously yes. In my mind, a swing thought ought to be a reminder to feel something in your swing.

I do think that your point is a good one. For me, swing thoughts are often not productive because there are so many flaws in my full swing on a golf course that it's impossible to focus on all of them before I swing. I choose one or two at a time, and (hopefully) find one that can get me to hit decent shots.

In other words, I think swing thoughts work well. It's just that better golfers might need a lot fewer of them to hit good shots.

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28 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

So I wonder if there are people who have a swing thought that produces a good shot... but in actuality they’re not doing what they think they’re doing?

My swing thought right now with almost all my clubs is swing up at the ball.  I'm not actually doing that, except driver, but it helps me swing through the ball with more extension.  Otherwise I tend to swing across my body and out of the swing early.

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Joining this party a little late but is there a difference between a swing thought and a trigger?  When I read of tour pro swing thoughts they seem to focus on triggers to help them start the swing and less on what they are doing during the swing.  I think that my best playing / swing thoughts fall into this category - the thought focuses on starting/what I want to do with the back swing.  I feel/believe that once my club is in the right place on the back swing, a good swing / shot will typically follow. If I take this another step I would probably say that down swing thoughts don't work well for me but back swing thoughts do better.

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7 minutes ago, gbogey said:

Joining this party a little late but is there a difference between a swing thought and a trigger?

Most people, I think, consider a "trigger" simply something that starts a swing. If I have the feeling to really "drive my right shirt seam forward throughout the downswing," that's not a trigger.

8 minutes ago, gbogey said:

I feel/believe that once my club is in the right place on the back swing, a good swing / shot will typically follow.

If that's true for you, then good, but others often play better with a downswing feel.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

If that's true for you, then good, but others often play better with a downswing feel.

Definitely what works for me, but then my biggest flaw is taking the club inside on the backswing so it makes sense that my swing thought is usually backswing oriented.

FWIW, when I hear "playing without a thought" I think about the ability to focus on each shot or hole without thinking about my score or how the round is going.  I know that during both of my "miracle" or "break through" rounds (even though they are no longer my best rounds) I was somewhat oblivious as to how I was doing even though I knew I was playing well and in one case was somewhat aware of my score.  That's a feeling I would love to have more often.

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On 1/19/2019 at 3:06 PM, Vinsk said:

What amazes me is how often (for me) a pretty drastic swing thought can produce no change mechanically in golf. If I’m facing a bag and practicing a spinning back fist and focus on hitting the bag higher up...I’ll do it. But I can focus and think, ‘ don’t let my trail elbow get stuck behind me’ or ‘ take the club more upright and not inside’ and although I feel myself doing it...my proprioception seems on...video shows I did nothing different. So I wonder if there are people who have a swing thought that produces a good shot... but in actuality they’re not doing what they think they’re doing? Doesn’t matter I suppose if the thought is working. 

Vinsk, we're nearing some agreement here.  If thoughts translated into replicating action, everyone would be a far better golfer, or player in any sport. Let's face it, in slower motion most people can replicate a great swing, impact position, etc.  The problem is transitioning those thoughts to an outcome that requires, IMO, a substantially reflexive action/movement.  Case in point last Sunday.  I took numerous practice swings while waiting to tee-off on #12.  My thought was "do the same thing when you hit" because they all felt correct, in balance, etc.  Then I got over the ball and hit the ugliest duck-hook in a long time with a huge reverse pivot.  This isn't just me, it happens to everyone.

So what happened?  Why didn't my swing thought work?  And worse, why did my body actually reject everything I practiced just 30 seconds prior?  My answer is my swing thoughts introduced an underlying stress to replicate the practice swings.  Any thought related to an instruction "to do", or "not do" something invokes complication...stress. At the next tee box I literally didn't think of anything, and also, I took long breaths and checked my tension level.  Back to down the middle.  

As for Tiger, he stops his swing for a million reasons that only he knows.  He's one of the very few who does this.  IMO, he reacts to the slightest nuance, maybe a noise, some internal out-of-balance condition, over-thinking, etc.  Who knows?  And one could argue he caught himself tensing up due to too many thoughts, or he lost track of what he was doing.  I played with a guy last Sunday who literally stood over the ball for 30-40 seconds, then he took an abrupt swing and hit wild shots.  It was clear he was running through a set of instructions his body couldn't possibly carry-out in the required milliseconds of each movement.

Swing thoughts are not definable, they are individualistic.  They can mean millions of things to millions of people.  Some mentioned a thought being summarized into a "trigger"....that I can agree with...some forethought that encompasses the totality of their swing.  

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10 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

Any thought related to an instruction "to do", or "not do" something invokes complication...stress.

You keep saying things like this, and they may be true for you1but they aren't true for everyone.

10 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

At the next tee box I literally didn't think of anything, and also, I took long breaths and checked my tension level.  Back to down the middle.

Cool. A sample size of one.

10 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

It was clear he was running through a set of instructions his body couldn't possibly carry-out in the required milliseconds of each movement.

I've not suggested doing anything like that, either, and actively talk about narrowing things down to ONE feeling, even when someone is practicing and the shots don't really matter.

10 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

They can mean millions of things to millions of people.

For the purposes of this discussion I defined "swing thoughts" in the OP. I said a swing thought is just a feel you're trying to reproduce during the swing.

1 Nobody's saying that EVERYONE should play golf with a swing thought, or even that those who do should do it all the time.

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39 minutes ago, iacas said:

You keep saying things like this, and they may be true for you1but they aren't true for everyone.

Cool. A sample size of one.

I've not suggested doing anything like that, either, and actively talk about narrowing things down to ONE feeling, even when someone is practicing and the shots don't really matter.

For the purposes of this discussion I defined "swing thoughts" in the OP. I said a swing thought is just a feel you're trying to reproduce during the swing.

1 Nobody's saying that EVERYONE should play golf with a swing thought, or even that those who do should do it all the time.

I'd like to hear what Vinsk has to say.  Sample size of one?  I wish that were true.  Plus, I'm not suggesting you said anything.

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6 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

I'd like to hear what Vinsk has to say.

And he's free to respond, as am I. 🙂 Actually, I'm more so, since it's my topic, and you've never demonstrated that you understand what a "swing thought" is.

6 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

Sample size of one?  I wish that were true.

Your story was a sample size of one - you.

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