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Playing Golf Without a (Swing) Thought

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117 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
      42
    • Often
      22
    • Always - I just hit the ball and don't think about anything like that
      6


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Just because you hit a bad shot doesn't mean you have to go to "fix it" mode. Constantly changing the swing thought isn't going to help you.

Also in terms of "figuring it out", the problem doesn't change from shot to shot, round to round, your swing faults are your swing faults. So if you know what your issue is, stick with the thought/feel that will help fix it.

Little OT but there are times on the course when I'm just not feeling it or struggling with my ballstriking. Then I go to my "B" swing, basically a 3/4 swing to make sure I hit it somewhat solid and keep the ball in front of me. This might happen mid-round or towards the end of the round.

That last statement I find very helpful.  I will have to try working on a "struggling swing" to dial it in and get my distances right etc.  I definately need a "B" swing.  Also,  I'm going to try to step up and be loose on the course Sat. with one swing thought of feeling "loose" and not trying to "feel" differences in my backswing etc.  Just let me swing happen.

I tried that on the range Monday and it was the best I've ever felt.  I hope it still works by Sat!

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Just because you hit a bad shot doesn't mean you have to go to "fix it" mode. Constantly changing the swing thought isn't going to help you.

I need to prescribe to this advice.

Little OT but there are times on the course when I'm just not feeling it or struggling with my ballstriking. Then I go to my "B" swing, basically a 3/4 swing to make sure I hit it somewhat solid and keep the ball in front of me. This might happen mid-round or towards the end of the round.

That is a good idea, and something I should probably do.

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Its not always easy to stay with just one or two simple thoughts, I know I occasionally get lost in my own head.  One thing I do when I'm playing in a partner situation, like a foursome of fourball match, is to give my partner a specific phrase to use if I start to go off the rails.  Most times its as simple as "make a good setup", reminding me that sometimes I don't set up right.  Because its a suggestion for a thought I want to hear, I don't get conflicting suggestions.   Its a way of getting back to the one or two swing keys I've decided I want to use for that round.

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Swing thoughts feel, to me, like my mind fighting my natural golf swing.

I know I pick it up too steep, and I cast the club a little. This is my instinctive golf swing that I must have learned as a kid. And so, I feel like I need to think about pulling the club back low to the ground, and dropping it inside the ball on the down swing, every time I swing.

The last time I played without one was when I was first starting to play golf and I didn't care if my swing looks bad or if my shots cut from left to right.

I ate the forbidden fruit and now I have the knowledge of what makes a good swing and how to hit draws, and maybe I'm cursed with fighting against my 'natural' swing forever more...

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I ate the forbidden fruit and now I have the knowledge of what makes a good swing and how to hit draws, and maybe I'm cursed with fighting against my 'natural' swing forever more...

Yes unfortunately our "natural" swings aren't always the most efficient.

As long as you work on the right piece for your swing and practice properly, you can change things.

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Just wanted to add to my earlier post..... Folks who have ever changing swing thoughts even if no more than one at a time have a corresponding mechanical flaw that gets the proverbial little mouse on a flywheel.... it is a road to nowhere. There is rarely a good swing thought that can cure it.

NEED a better swing to have less thoughts... better meaning less deviation of club path and by implication less dispersion from swing to swing. And then have one or so thought feel that will keep it anchored.

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NEED a better swing to have less thoughts

Not necessarily. Even with a bad swing, one should only ever have one swing thought at a time. The fact is you're not going to be able to fix all of the things that are wrong in your swing all at once, or on a course even, so the best thing is to focus on the priority piece and the swing thought that goes with it.

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Not necessarily. Even with a bad swing, one should only ever have one swing thought at a time. The fact is you're not going to be able to fix all of the things that are wrong in your swing all at once, or on a course even, so the best thing is to focus on the priority piece and the swing thought that goes with it.

Oh, no doubt, don't disagree.. my statement is not one thought vs. many, but more about jumping from thought to thought.

This is long term and for those whose single thought keep changing from hole to hole. Better the swing is mechanically, better your chances are staying disciplined on the priority piece. If not, it is just human nature to drift according to flavor of the day.

On the flip side, the discipline to stay focused on the properly placed priority piece (THE thought) without drifting is by far the single greatest predicator of how well one will progress and will actually have less jumping around.

It's like what came first chicken or the egg...

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You'll hear from time to time that a golfer went out and played a round of golf without a swing thought. Maybe they'll say something about how they just pictured the shot they wanted to hit and then hit it*. It feels like many of the winners on the PGA Tour (or whichever tour you watch) will say this fairly often, leading to a belief that "playing thought-free golf is how you play your best." I think there's a little bias in there. Namely, we don't recognize how many times the winner doesn't say that he played without a thought. But still, enough people have said it that it is a valid way to play golf… if you're at the top of your game. [SPOILER=*] Though I could argue that "hit a little draw here" is a "swing thought" it's not quite the same as what I'm talking about. [/SPOILER] But… @david_wedzik and I were talking the other day about how we cannot remember the last time we played golf without a swing thought. Now, they're not always big things. Sometimes they're something like "focusing on hitting my start line" or something like that (which some might just call "alignment"). In fact, they're rarely anything I'd call "big things." I might rehearse a takeaway move a few times before I hit a shot. Describing what I'm feeling would take significantly more effort than just "feeling" it in the context of my swing, but I'll make a few practice motions and then try to reproduce that feeling during my actual swing. Now, this is very different than saying I am practicing on the golf course. It's very different than saying I am working hard on the golf course, or that my swing thought (which is often really more of a "feel" - a "thought" is often considered to mean words but I almost never have words as my swing thoughts - just feelings) is very complex. I also prefer backswing to transition thoughts rather than thoughts that occur on the downswing, as the downswing happens SO quickly. Some examples of some of my recent "thoughts" (note that while I can only really use words to describe them, they're almost always "feels" or things I can demonstrate): [LIST] [*] Softer right arm that flexes more sooner [*] Stay in my inclination on the backswing [*] Land on the left knee in transition [*] Hands out from the top of the backswing [*] No arms in backswing [*] All turn [*] Fire hands/arms in downswing [*] Get the right seam forward of the ball [/LIST] All of those are simple, specific "feels" (again, I don't think these actual words during the swing) I feel during the full swing. Some of them aren't even possible (like the last one, which if I actually did it would result in horrible shots), but the feel is helpful. Sometimes they're different, too, with irons versus the driver. Sometimes I have thoughts for pitches, or putts (I'm feeling like I'm taking the face back more hooded lately on my putts, for example). [rule] So again, Dave and I were talking and neither of us can remember the last time we didn't have a swing thought during a round of golf. So, do I absolutely recommend this for everyone? No. If you're Jordan Spieth right now, maybe you don't have a lot to think about except "hey look, there's my ball, and I want it to go there. Cool." But for almost everyone else, I do think you should consider adopting a strategy of having a single thought and making it a focus of your pre-shot routine and swing. If it is a word, try to make it a single syllable. If it's a feel, rehearse it (or even exaggerate it) before you swing and then just repeat it.

Your right,only the best players who practice well and a lot have that natural ability to not think at all. I try to move slowly, i find it calms my mind to stop me getting any tension in my swing, also find blinking slowly helps me with this

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Your right,only the best players who practice well and a lot have that natural ability to not think at all. I try to move slowly, i find it calms my mind to stop me getting any tension in my swing, also find blinking slowly helps me with this

Sorry missed end of reply, with a calm mind i feel there is no tension in my body, helps me hit ball further and control irons better.

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Agreed on the pull, but, what if I AM actually aiming the face right.  That's where the problem comes in!  I hit fades all day on the range same swing thought then get on the course and the fade turns into a pull or even a pull hook!  Conversely, the fade starts out as a fade then slowly turns into a slice!  Then I have to start thinking about it not slicing.  It just gets frustrating.

That said, I'm still playing the best golf I've ever played and broken into the 70s three times this year which before this year I had never had a 79 ever!  In my game though the swing thought tends to change over the round which I know is bad but am having a hard time correcting....

In the spirit of the thread, two thoughts to experiment with (one at a time) on course could be 'leave hands behind on downswing' or 'keep body turning to finish'

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Could be that you just let it go on the range then on the course where there are ponds, out of bounds etc you try and steer the ball on the fairway then the body stops turning and the shoulders, hands and arms take over as theyre the bodyparts attached to the club and the brain instinctively trys to steer with hands and arms to hit the ball but the body has stopped moving and is in the way so the only way back tk the ball is over the top with shoulders arms and hands and hitting it left.maybe you have to let swing go like on the range, just let the club do its thing and have the whatever will be will be thought, sounds like your swinging well on the range so just let it go

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So I think fixed the dispersion issue by adding a backswing thought. I was looking at my swing analysis vids though evolvr and the look of my backswing at the top looked much different from the pro I was being compared to. I went to the range with video and started working on it and it turns out that I was actually turning with like a flat turn in my backswing. I started thinkinginstead about rocking my shoders back as if i were putting. The wierd thing is that that move got me set up perfectly. My right shoulder was way higher than my left on top of the backswingand my weight automatically came forward. Also it helped limit my backswing as well. Long story short the ball was going right where I aimed!

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Best rounds are where I don't have swing thoughts except to relax and swing easy. See: The Inner Game of Tennis which is a tennis book (obviously) but the concepts apply to golf as well. The author has written The Inner Game of Golf but I haven't read it.

Swing thoughts are for the range. Maybe one or two during your pre-shot routine but none afterwords.

I try to think of the shot I want to hit and then execute. I'm not a great golfer, but better than average - 8.3 index at age 64.

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I used to have mechanical thoughts and keys...things like "keep right knee stable", or "hands high" or whatever. I learned the I do better if I think only of something relating to rhythm...like an actual cadence ("tick took"). If for some reason I want to monitor a certain feel in the swing, I definitely do much, much better if it's a feeling regarding the club, rather than my body. So, I might have years ago tried to feel myself "release the right side," whereas now I might try to, say, feel like I'm throwing the club head down my starting line. Usually, if I use a feel thought, I try to use it in a practice swing. On the real swing, I try to think of nothing but rhythm. Once I've settled into position, the longer I wait and the more I think about, usually the worse the swing is.

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I have experimented with having only one thought on swings and it has worked. Just shot a 40, my best nine of the year.

Here are my swing thoughts:

1) Driver - Swing out to right field

2) Irons - Weight forward

3) Putting - Eye on ball through impact

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