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Playing Golf Without a (Swing) Thought


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  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
      48
    • Often
      24
    • Always - I just hit the ball and don't think about anything like that
      8


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In the competitive rounds I have won, my thoughts have been minimal, more visualizing shot shape and landing spot... and "try not to s*** myself". The rounds I have played poorly in, I go into fix mode after a bad start and I'm miserable all day. My favorite set up thought is with ball position and alignment. For example, If I want to draw the ball I get set up with the ball back enough and think "this ball will draw", then I align the face slightly open and think "this ball will push enough to end at target". Then try and hit it solid.

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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 h

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 an

Let's get this back on track. And to do so, I'm going to quote from the first post: That's a "swing thought." It can be a focusing on hitting your start line (I do this quite often with shorter

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Not sure if this counts as a swing thought but I usually make a couple practice swings with the thought of turning my hips (actually my belt buckle) to take the club back and then turning my belt buckle back through to the ball. I feel it, and then do it. I do try to line up to my target but once I start the swing, I'm not sure I'm thinking about anything. The faster I move my belt buckle through the swing, the harder I hit the ball.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is interesting stuff, and I read thru a few pages of replies. Here's my current problem - I've kinda turned into a range rat where I have really come to enjoy hitting balls at the range. This is a total flip of my younger days when it was all about just playing - practicing was, for lack of better term, a necessary evil. Of course I did it, but I would say the ratio was 3:1 play to practice. Now it's more like 5:1 practice to play. 

So I'm at the point where the swing is decently grooved on the range, but it invariably falls apart on the course, especially as the round goes on. Perfect case in point was a couple of weeks back when I played in an outing with an old friend in Ft. Myers, and by the end of the second day I had no idea what I was doing out there. He even said at one point, "What is going on with your legs?" Meaning, I was doing some kind of odd caving/buckling thing with the legs thru impact. 10 balls on the range would fix that, but in the middle of a round I felt helpless.

So I would really like to have a 'go to' swing thought for the course once things go sideways. And I think the cause of my problems is my tempo just gets out of whack - the transition is lurchy, the lower body doesn't lead (which may explain the knee buckling thing...they're trying to catch up to the upper body). So now at the range I'm trying to ask myself after a good shot, 'Okay what did you do there?' to mentally file away for when needed on the course.

Do I just need the 'play through it' or what? Cuz my experience has shown that the more I actually PLAY (regardless of how much I practice) the more my swing responds positively. Am I just not playing enough or what?

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4 hours ago, zipazoid said:

Do I just need the 'play through it' or what? Cuz my experience has shown that the more I actually PLAY (regardless of how much I practice) the more my swing responds positively. Am I just not playing enough or what?

No. You're not practicing properly.

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11 hours ago, zipazoid said:

This is interesting stuff, and I read thru a few pages of replies. Here's my current problem - I've kinda turned into a range rat where I have really come to enjoy hitting balls at the range. This is a total flip of my younger days when it was all about just playing - practicing was, for lack of better term, a necessary evil. Of course I did it, but I would say the ratio was 3:1 play to practice. Now it's more like 5:1 practice to play. 

So I'm at the point where the swing is decently grooved on the range, but it invariably falls apart on the course, especially as the round goes on. Perfect case in point was a couple of weeks back when I played in an outing with an old friend in Ft. Myers, and by the end of the second day I had no idea what I was doing out there. He even said at one point, "What is going on with your legs?" Meaning, I was doing some kind of odd caving/buckling thing with the legs thru impact. 10 balls on the range would fix that, but in the middle of a round I felt helpless.

So I would really like to have a 'go to' swing thought for the course once things go sideways. And I think the cause of my problems is my tempo just gets out of whack - the transition is lurchy, the lower body doesn't lead (which may explain the knee buckling thing...they're trying to catch up to the upper body). So now at the range I'm trying to ask myself after a good shot, 'Okay what did you do there?' to mentally file away for when needed on the course.

Do I just need the 'play through it' or what? Cuz my experience has shown that the more I actually PLAY (regardless of how much I practice) the more my swing responds positively. Am I just not playing enough or what?

First you need to understand what swing on plane mean, to control the shaft. I mean truly understand.

 Because if you don't get it, you can't go to the next step clubface control.

I can show you videos of mayors winner working constantly on that with their coach . That is how important it is.

When everything fall apart on the course mean you are trying to hit the ball from point A to B without any conscious of what are you doing. Good Player swing on plane then they control the ball  with the clubface.  I guarantee you if you swing on plane and keep your lead wrist flat at impact. You will become a new better golfer, Remember 'The Plane is the Boss'.

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10 hours ago, iacas said:

No. You're not practicing properly.

I'm probably not. For the last few months it's been about 'getting my swing back' (took a break form the game) by hitting a lot of balls on the range...tempo, rhythm. But now I seem to have those back...so what do you suggest? How can I make the practice more productive?

Edited by zipazoid
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  • 2 months later...

mostly my thought is a two step.  relax on the takeaway, and bump my hips before I do anything on the downswing. the downswing itself is all just a 'and go' type of thought that isnt really a thought, but more of a consequence of the first 2 things. like op mentioned, the downswing happens way too quick to even have a thought. I think the few times I've actually thought about any significant in the downswing, i shanked the hell ouf of the ball. 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm an excellent typist and I never have to think about what my fingers are doing when I'm typing.  I just do it.  I believe that the golf swing should be the same thing.  Just get up and do it.  Of course, it's not so easy.  I do have swing thoughts when I play.  It might be just one thing like "take it back slowly," or that thought plus another or others.  Of course, the more thoughts you have when swinging, the more trouble you'll be in.  If a concert pianist is thinking about his fingers or where his elbow is, he's finished.

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I try to do my thinking before I'm over the ball. Stand back, look at the ball, at my intended line, take my grip, get over the ball, try to clear the mind completely, and just hit it. When I start to put swing thoughts in my head like don't take the backswing so far, or consciously try to remember to shift my weight, or any number of other things, I lose concentration of actually hitting the ball.

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10 hours ago, Herkimer said:

I'm an excellent typist and I never have to think about what my fingers are doing when I'm typing.  I just do it.  I believe that the golf swing should be the same thing.

Golf is many orders of magnitude more difficult than typing. Hell, the "sweet spot" is significantly smaller than a keyboard key.

If you had to type using a 45" long stick that you had to move at about 100 MPH or faster… then maybe typing would be about as difficult as golf.

10 hours ago, Herkimer said:

I do have swing thoughts when I play.  It might be just one thing like "take it back slowly," or that thought plus another or others.  Of course, the more thoughts you have when swinging, the more trouble you'll be in. If a concert pianist is thinking about his fingers or where his elbow is, he's finished.

Also not the same thing.

One or two swing thoughts is fine - that's what the OP says. PGA Tour players have, on average, just over three swing thoughts when they're playing. That doesn't mean anyone is "thinking" over the shot, because "swing thoughts" are often "feels".

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On 1/10/2019 at 7:36 AM, iacas said:

Golf is many orders of magnitude more difficult than typing. Hell, the "sweet spot" is significantly smaller than a keyboard key.

If you had to type using a 45" long stick that you had to move at about 100 MPH or faster… then maybe typing would be about as difficult as golf.

Also not the same thing.

One or two swing thoughts is fine - that's what the OP says. PGA Tour players have, on average, just over three swing thoughts when they're playing. That doesn't mean anyone is "thinking" over the shot, because "swing thoughts" are often "feels".

How about a concert pianist?  You think that's easy compared to golf?  They don't think of squat while playing.  The minute they think they're dead.  Golf is actually far easier than piano because it takes all of 1.5 seconds to swing.  

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56 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

How about a concert pianist?  You think that's easy compared to golf?  They don't think of squat while playing.  The minute they think they're dead.  Golf is actually far easier than piano because it takes all of 1.5 seconds to swing.  

Regrettably this is a forum about golf, not concert pianism.

So all I can do is point out that when polled PGA Tour players gave the dnswer that they have 2.x or 3.x swing thoughts.

P.S. I bet concert pianists have thoughts too.

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1 hour ago, Puttin4Dough said:

How about a concert pianist?  You think that's easy compared to golf?  They don't think of squat while playing.  The minute they think they're dead.  Golf is actually far easier than piano because it takes all of 1.5 seconds to swing.  

Um, not exactly. I studied piano for many years. I was good. In a recital I could "see" the sheet music in my mind's eye. I had it memorized. 

40 years ago, when I could actually play this silly game, I had my swing memorized. Actually, my grip, stance, alignment and swing. 

Edited by Buckeyebowman
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1 hour ago, Puttin4Dough said:

How about a concert pianist?  You think that's easy compared to golf?  They don't think of squat while playing.  The minute they think they're dead.  Golf is actually far easier than piano because it takes all of 1.5 seconds to swing.  

I don’t have any research to back this of course, but I get the sense that if someone spent 10,000hrs with instruction on Piano and the same on golf, he/she would be a better piano player than a golfer.

I can say I’ve known many people who have played golf their whole life and are awful. I’ve not met anyone who has played piano their whole life and are awful.

Edited by Vinsk
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37 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

.

I can say I’ve known many people who have played golf their whole life and are awful. I’ve not met anyone who has played piano their whole life and are awful.

I have! Unfortunately I have to say that that person was my Sister. She loved the piano and learned to play. She could read music and hit all the right notes, but she could not "make music"! This is a difficult concept to convey. She could not make the instrument "speak"! 

Now that I think about it, this may be a closer analogy than I originally thought. The musician takes their instrument in hand and makes it speak through music. The golfer takes their instrument in hand (the golf club) and makes it speak through golf's music. The flight of the ball! 

I admit it's kind of a stretch, but I kind of like it!  

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Just now, Buckeyebowman said:

Now that I think about it, this may be a closer analogy than I originally thought. The musician takes their instrument in hand and makes it speak through music. The golfer takes their instrument in hand (the golf club) and makes it speak through golf's music. The flight of the ball! 

Nah

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