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iacas

Playing Golf Without a (Swing) Thought

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125 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
      45
    • Often
      23
    • Always - I just hit the ball and don't think about anything like that
      6


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Starting a round I always try to picture the swing of a pro that has the swing and tempo that I like...Sam Snead was my image that I most liked to picture..I used this image when I took practice swings just  before teeing it up...While setting up for the swing I'm thinking the shot I want to hit and target always...When I have a couple swings that are not what I expect I simply swing at about 70% until things get back...

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iacas, that was a very interesting description of the mental process and consciousnesses that goes into a golf swing. 

It's weird, lately I have been developing a different swing consciousness. I now activate my swing thought at the top of my backswing. Of course I pre-downloaded it pre-swing, like with a ball in thick rough and my thought is."get a little more vertical coming into the ball", but now I don't freeze and obsess over that thought. I let it go and just pull the club back, and then re-load that thought and execute. In other words, I now start my swing at the top, not from the take away. 

One of the by-products of this is that I now have a little pause at the top that is not consciously forced. Recalling and thinking about that swing thought or how I want the club to come into the ball takes a half second or so, and that in itself is a tonic It allows a nice set, and good transition.

Regarding swing thoughts themselves, I am all over the map. From super mechanical to feel to ball flight oriented. I have noticed over the years though, that my best golf has been with 'I want the ball to do xxx' type thoughts over mechanical thoughts.

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Admittedly, I read only the first and last pages of this thread. Nevertheless, it was quite interesting.

As iacas described, some of the mental processes you can go through on the course take much less time than it does to describe them in speech or in print. The human mind works much faster than that. Particularly when talking to yourself!

When I was playing my absolute best golf it seemed that I hardly had a conscious thought in my head. Of course I did. Little things like "tee the ball at the proper height, put the head cover back on your driver, put the driver back in the bag", but all that is routine and recedes to the back of the mind. It was when I stood "planning" a shot that the feeling took hold. It was as if I was one big sense organ. I'd get my distance, but more important was how the shot "looked". I'd feel the wind, but never tossed any grass. And the idea of how to hit the shot would just arrive in my mind whole! I'd hit the shot that way, and more often than not, it would come off.

I've heard interviews with songwriters describing songs that arrived in their minds "fully formed". That's the way shots arrived in my head.

My time for thinking was on the practice tee. That's where I'd try to iron everything out! I didn't want to carry "swing thoughts" onto the course. All I wanted there were "shot thoughts". When you're on the practice tee, that's the time to check your take away, look at your grip, make sure you're lagging the club, whatever!

When you're playing, it's time to score!

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It is always good to keep in mind the golf54 idea of think box, decision line, and play box. This should help in keeping swing thoughts and clutter out of your mind as you are over the ball.

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On April 3, 2016 at 9:21 PM, Buckeyebowman said:

Admittedly, I read only the first and last pages of this thread. Nevertheless, it was quite interesting.

As iacas described, some of the mental processes you can go through on the course take much less time than it does to describe them in speech or in print. The human mind works much faster than that. Particularly when talking to yourself!

When I was playing my absolute best golf it seemed that I hardly had a conscious thought in my head. Of course I did. Little things like "tee the ball at the proper height, put the head cover back on your driver, put the driver back in the bag", but all that is routine and recedes to the back of the mind. It was when I stood "planning" a shot that the feeling took hold. It was as if I was one big sense organ. I'd get my distance, but more important was how the shot "looked". I'd feel the wind, but never tossed any grass. And the idea of how to hit the shot would just arrive in my mind whole! I'd hit the shot that way, and more often than not, it would come off.

I've heard interviews with songwriters describing songs that arrived in their minds "fully formed". That's the way shots arrived in my head.

My time for thinking was on the practice tee. That's where I'd try to iron everything out! I didn't want to carry "swing thoughts" onto the course. All I wanted there were "shot thoughts". When you're on the practice tee, that's the time to check your take away, look at your grip, make sure you're lagging the club, whatever!

When you're playing, it's time to score!

Can't agree more. Now it's golf season. Spending less time on practice tee and thinking about grip and mechanics and golf swing more time on scoring on the course

Trying not to think and let it flow is much harder for me   

Going through a routine helps  

I do think about the golf swing  sometimes then if I think "backward "  followthru ...transition...takeway that seems help me more than takeaway transition followthru for some reason   I think way my swing maybe more " fully formed" that wat

on the green   It's stroke....startup

 

Edited by dchoye

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8 minutes ago, Mike Boatright said:

I never play much competitive golf it's mostly alone with lots of other thoughts.

Is that how you prefer it?  I don't golf alone much as I get bored.   I much prefer small wagers or other forms of competition to keep it interesting.  

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I prefer it from a practice standpoint. I don't know anyone who plays for money or competitively. I play with my dad a lot and have been for years but it's always just for fun.

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There are times when I'm playing well that I'm not thinking anything, other times I have to think about something. The best stretch of holes I ever played I didn't think of anything besides the song I was listening to on the way to the course. I was humming it as I walked and singing it in my head as I was hitting shots. Unfortunately once I realized how well I was doing I started forcing it and lost the "magic" that occurred when it was just happening on it's own.

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Before I make any shot, I think about where I hope my ball to land, what club will accomplish that for me, and where do I have to aim and then align and set up to make the shot. Then I think about my stance which is usually effective for me and about not being bent over to far and about where to place the ball depending on whether I'm using a driver or an iron. Then I remind myself to keep my right elbow tucked in close to my side on the down swing to prevent coming over the top of the ball.Other times, especially on my short game I think to myself how much back swing do I need to apply to this shot to get the desired distance. I think about where on the green do I want my ball to land and how much roll can expect from my ball. Then before I hit a short shot I remind myself to keep my head down and simply watch the blades of grass move. FOR ME there is quite a bit of thinking going on in my game.

Edited by 9wood

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I never play a hole of golf without some kind of swing thought going on. Extend my arms, steady smooth swing, whatever. I guess if I hit enough balls and was talented enough to have a repeatable good swing, golf would be a lot more fun, less frustrating, to play.

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I'm coming from a place of too many thoughts . way too many . . so I've gotten myself to where there are almost no thoughts.  Having what feels like "no thoughts" to me could easily feel like "Trust it" or "Relax" or "Make a  confident swing" to somebody else . . .I try to picture the shot, go through my pre-shot routine (which is quick - a practice take-back or 2 but no full practice swing) and then hit it.   If it doesn't come off, I try super hard not to analyze it . .I know that if I did what I wanted to it would've come off like I thought so whatever I did wrong doesn't matter as much as just doing the "right stuff" next time. 

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I think it is impossible play competitive golf without thought.
What I found very helpful is how I am swinging the club.
I mean, I have spent many years mixing Swinging and Hitting unconsciously.
Now I know the difference and I can make each technique on demand. 
Which take me to more relaxed rounds without so many thought.
I use Swinging technique on long game and Hitting for windy days and short game.

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This may sound unusual, but I think in terms of a single "feel" thought.

I'm not thinking about hitting a position or manipulating my hand/arms, etc, but instead, I'm thinking about how my shoulders and arms feel at the top of the back swing, and then I try to replicate that feeling in the swing.

Also, I usually have to completely clear my mind prior to the swing -- any stray thought at all will wreck my swing, even good thoughts.

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Verbal thoughts zero.  I voted the last choice.  

I am very focused but it's focus on the head of the club as it swings.  I am very focused on the takeaway.  From there it's just swing forward and finish right over left shoulder.  I never try to vary the path anymore or hit anything but my standard shot.

In terms of the body I have no idea what it's doing without video.

The rabbit hole of self analysis and self focused swing thoughts is a long dark deep maze.

I think it's interesting that you can change nothing visible in your swing but if you focus your attention to a different part of your body than usual the same swing will feel very different.

What changed is the focal point not the swing.  That kinda trips me out.

For me these last two years or so golf is quite enjoyable.  I play better now without practicing much.  

 

 

Edited by Jack Watson

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6 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

Verbal thoughts zero.  I voted the last choice.  

I am very focused but it's focus on the head of the club as it swings.  I am very focused on the takeaway.  From there it's just swing forward and finish right over left shoulder.  I never try to vary the path anymore or hit anything but my standard shot.

In terms of the body I have no idea what it's doing without video.

The rabbit hole of self analysis and self focused swing thoughts is a long dark deep maze.

I think it's interesting that you can change nothing visible in your swing but if you focus your attention to a different part of your body than usual the same swing will feel very different.

What changed is the focal point not the swing.  That kinda trips me out.

For me these last two years or so golf is quite enjoyable.  I play better now without practicing much.  

 

 

This has taken me 8 years to really see and feel at the same time.

The shaft need to be on its plane on the takeaweay, through impact and follow-through.

Now I see the angle of attack, angle of approach and the base of the plane.

You choose what to take to swing. I always choose the base of the plane. 

Now I am not longer focus on the ball just to swing on plane.

You need to use tool to learn to visualize these lines.

Have you ever heard?  " I swing better in my practice swing than the real swing"

Is because of all the attention go to the ball and there is a big blackout when you try to hit the ball.  

Try to understand what I am try to explain to you and the door of heaven will open for you.

 

By the way this is valid from putter to driver. 

 

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I'm glad someone bumped this thread.  On Friday, @iacas asked me what swing thought I've been using, and I really didn't have a specific answer.  I looked back a few pages in this thread this morning, noticed that I had once said that I'd generally have a specific image or thought about my set-up, and another for my swing.  I think with the changes I've been trying to make to my set-up, I haven't really thought much about my actual swing, either in practice or on the course.  I think its past time for me to get back to having a single specific swing thought, in addition to reinforcing the slight set up adjustments.

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