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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


222 posts / 39273 viewsLast Reply

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1 hour ago, Buckeyebowman said:

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!  

I doubt it. Sure..a concert pianist may find your sister’s playing to be ‘awful’ but I doubt if she played for the average joe she’d be considered ‘awful.’ Just as comparing the golfer to a pro. However with golf there are many many people who have played their whole life who could play a round with a beginner and not be very impressive. I doubt someone who’s played the piano for 20-30yrs wouldn’t be able to impress a lot of people. 

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I always approach a shot with a swing thought. But somehow after taking my address, I often realise that I have mysteriously completed the shot (badly) without having thought about it.

It is like the pressure of trying to execute the prefect shot has turned my mind to jelly.

These mental lapses are even more frustrating than physical limitations because I feel I should at least be able to control my thoughts. 

The struggle continues... 

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I voted never because I always have some swing thought or two playing a round but that isn’t to say I have a swing thought every single shot because I often rush it with no thought with mixed results. Sometimes I forget about a good swing thought that works well for me  and only remember it after I’m finished and am annoyed with myself. 

As a novice I clearly have too many swing thoughts and should practice more prioritising one piece at a time until it’s ingrained 

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I’m not a virtuoso concert pianist by any means but have played for fellow pianists in public venues even in places like Jullliard and 92nd St Y and I am definitely thinking (fundamentally don’t f*** up) while I play. Of the many things my teacher discussed on interpretation, technical. I can only imagine it’s similar for concert musicians but on a whole other level. I’ve observed concert pianists looking out the window during slow movements they’re probably thinking I’m hungry or which bar do we hit later. 😜

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On ‎1‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 2:37 AM, Sclaffer said:

I always approach a shot with a swing thought. But somehow after taking my address, I often realise that I have mysteriously completed the shot (badly) without having thought about it.

Interestingly enough, it might just be how your brain works.

w-fallback-full.png

This schematic shows the brain regions (green) from which the outcome of a participant's decision can be predicted before it is made. Courtesy...

They have found that the brain activates a full 7 seconds before we consciously are aware of our actions.

On ‎1‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 2:37 AM, Sclaffer said:

These mental lapses are even more frustrating than physical limitations because I feel I should at least be able to control my thoughts. 

That is almost impossible to do.

Do I actively choose to get angry on the course? I know I do get angry. In the moment I am not going, "You know what will be good here, me getting pissed off". No, its a subconscious thing that I have no control over. Once the anger arises, then the only thing I can do is try to be aware that I got angry and focus on it. Once you focus on it, you realize that you had no control.

This is probably why we need to practice the right way. We need to train the subconscious. This could be a simple as training the subconscious to consistently try to remember to implement the feel we want.

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On 1/12/2019 at 7:24 PM, Buckeyebowman said:

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!  

Once you get past the unique movements and zero-in on what goes through someone's head while performing either, the two world's collide.  Both require constant practice as well as instruction to move to an advanced level.  i know folks who have "like-new" Steinway or Yamaha grands in their living room who now rarely play.  They found out that getting past beginner level, let alone moving to intermediate, is HARD.  That sounds an awful lot like golf.  Playing anything for years doesn't equate to "accomplishment" other than "playing".

Intermediate level in golf (IMO) is shooting in the high 70's.  How many folks do you know, out of all the golfers you've come across, consistently shoot in the high 70's?  In my experience <10%.  The rest think they'll improve via new clubs, tips and tricks, short-cuts, etc., but they haven't...and won't.   

They've already put in well over 10,000 hours and are barely past beginner level.   I'm sure my buddies who've played for 30 years and still shoot in the 90's have spent far more than 10,000 hours playing and practicing golf.  Thus, time doesn't equate to improvement. 

The vast majority of players in either start out with a firm commitment to learn, then once they find out how much it takes, they drop-off or remain stagnate.  To that extent, it's a hobby.  But if one plays 5 or more times per week, with instruction on a consistent basis, and follows instruction, and avoids the tip-of-the-day, then intermediate is not a stretch in a much shorter time period.  Other than that, there's an eventual dead-end everyone hits in golf or piano.  That dead-end is the realization that new clubs or new piano, tips, tricks, meditation, hitting more balls....whatever...aren't helping.

As for swinging without a thought, that's an open-ended discussion that means something different to each person.  For either piano or golf, one can't think of much of anything because both movements unfold faster than the brain can instruct.  It must become substantially instinctual, like walking down stairs.

How much thought does it take to walk across a 24 inch wide plank laying on the ground?  Nothing, just walk.  However, how much thought would suddenly arise if the plank was 40 stories high between two buildings?  A lot.  And there would be all kinds of advice, videos, etc, on how to walk the plank 40 stories high.  

Edited by Puttin4Dough

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The 10,000-hour thing doesn't include five hours spent playing golf. That'd be silly. The 10,000 hour thing was 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. And no, most people aren't anywhere close to that.

Hell, I'm not sure I'm halfway there. "Deliberate practice" is not playing a round of golf or beating balls or a number of other things.

Let's stick to the topic, though. It's not Malcolm Gladwell, 10,000 hours, etc.

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The poll results make sense.  About 25% of golfers have progressed beyond rudimentary swing thoughts, and 6% would about match those who are single digit golfers.  That's a very good poll.  

 

1-14-2019 7-10-50 PM.jpg

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14 minutes ago, iacas said:

The 10,000-hour thing doesn't include five hours spent playing golf. That'd be silly. The 10,000 hour thing was 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. And no, most people aren't anywhere close to that.

Hell, I'm not sure I'm halfway there. "Deliberate practice" is not playing a round of golf or beating balls or a number of other things.

Let's stick to the topic, though. It's not Malcolm Gladwell, 10,000 hours, etc.

I include playing time because otherwise what's the point unless one heavily weights range practice for which I've read countless articles that practicing and playing are two different things.  Plank on the ground vs. 50 stories high.

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1 minute ago, Puttin4Dough said:

I include playing time because otherwise what's the point unless one heavily weights range practice for which I've read countless articles that practicing and playing are two different things.  Plank on the ground vs. 50 stories high.

Because 99% of the time you're "playing" golf you're just walking, riding, or standing around.

A better example would be doing a plank for one second, resting for ten minutes, then doing a plank for another second, and claiming that you did a plank for ten minutes.

Once again, please stick to the topic.

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9 minutes ago, iacas said:

Because 99% of the time you're "playing" golf you're just walking, riding, or standing around.

A better example would be doing a plank for one second, resting for ten minutes, then doing a plank for another second, and claiming that you did a plank for ten minutes.

Once again, please stick to the topic.

The topic is swing without a thought.  The poll results make sense because more advanced golfers aren't focused on swing thoughts, they're focused on the target and they're relying upon their training.  There's no way for the brain to manipulate all the muscles required in 1.5 seconds.  If you think it can...post the studies.

Edited by Puttin4Dough

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44 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

The poll results make sense.  About 25% of golfers have progressed beyond rudimentary swing thoughts, and 6% would about match those who are single digit golfers.

You're assuming that the results line up like you just said.

It might surprise you that the better players were the ones most likely to vote "Never."

18 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

The topic is swing without a thought.

Correct. It's not about 10,000 hours.

18 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

The poll results make sense because more advanced golfers aren't focused on swing thoughts, they're focused on the target and they're relying upon their training.

I think you'd be surprised at how far off you are.

PGA Tour players were polled and they have, on average, about three swing thoughts at any given time.

18 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

There's no way for the brain to manipulate all the muscles required in 1.5 seconds.  If you think it can...post the studies.

I'm not sure you understand what a swing thought is… It's a "feeling." You can absolutely have a "feeling" that you try to reproduce in your swing.

P.S. @david_wedzik was a Tour player, and was friends with and obviously played with a number of Tour players.

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My mind never takes a break no matter what i am doing. If im playing golf there is always some kind of thought cropping up even when i'm trying to keep a clear mind, whether its something like "swing through the ball" or "ooh, look at that deer in those trees". Always some randon crap in my head ;-)

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9 hours ago, Puttin4Dough said:

There's no way for the brain to manipulate all the muscles required in 1.5 seconds.

Huh? So what is manipulating them? I think you may need to brush up on your neurology. There are many tests showing the muscle groups used in a golf swing. They don’t just fire on their own. I can tell myself several swing thoughts and perform them (as a feel, they may be wrong but I’m doing something.) We’re not saying we’re generating manipulations during the swing. Not a whole string of them. But thoughts (feels) like ‘high hands’, ‘back to target’, can all be done in the process of swinging. Doing them correctly is the hard part. It’s not a matter of the brain not being able to process them.

Edited by Vinsk

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10 hours ago, Puttin4Dough said:

There's no way for the brain to manipulate all the muscles required in 1.5 seconds.  If you think it can...post the studies.

No one said it can. A swing thought is not exact manipulation of the club. A lot of golf is instinctual and swing feels help us break away from bad instincts. Even PGA Tour players average a good number of swing thoughts.

It's about having swing feels (thoughts) that promote good swing movements.

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14 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Huh? So what is manipulating them? I think you may need to brush up on your neurology. There are many tests showing the muscle groups used in a golf swing. They don’t just fire on their own. I can tell myself several swing thoughts and perform them (as a feel, they may be wrong but I’m doing something.) We’re not saying we’re generating manipulations during the swing. Not a whole string of them. But thoughts (feels) like ‘high hands’, ‘back to target’, can all be done in the process of swinging. Doing them correctly is the hard part. It’s not a matter of the brain not being able to process them.

Sorry Vinsk, not happening. Do you really think about walking down stairs...bringing a fork to your mouth, or tossing a golf ball 10 feet to someone?   The answer is no, you don't...no one does.  It's ingrained.  

12 hours ago, saevel25 said:

No one said it can. A swing thought is not exact manipulation of the club. A lot of golf is instinctual and swing feels help us break away from bad instincts. Even PGA Tour players average a good number of swing thoughts.

It's about having swing feels (thoughts) that promote good swing movements.

Erik's poll doesn't support your swing thought theory for 25% or more of golfers.  I agree, the other 75% are embroiled in far too many swing thoughts...it's why they take a practice swing then take a swing that looks like they're avoiding a plane landing on them.

23 hours ago, iacas said:

You're assuming that the results line up like you just said.

It might surprise you that the better players were the ones most likely to vote "Never."

Correct. It's not about 10,000 hours.

I think you'd be surprised at how far off you are.

PGA Tour players were polled and they have, on average, about three swing thoughts at any given time.

I'm not sure you understand what a swing thought is… It's a "feeling." You can absolutely have a "feeling" that you try to reproduce in your swing.

P.S. @david_wedzik was a Tour player, and was friends with and obviously played with a number of Tour players.

What are their swing thoughts?  Please hit the ball?  Don't shank?  I know plenty of scratch folks who have maybe two swing thoughts, but that occurs before setup....behind the ball. They're practice moves...not over the ball.  To that extent, we haven't defined when these swing thoughts are employed.  Is it during the swing or away from the ball before address?  

Edited by Puttin4Dough

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9 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

Sorry Vinsk, not happening. Do you really think about walking down stairs...bringing a fork to your mouth, or tossing a golf ball 10 feet to someone? The answer is no, you don't...no one does. It's ingrained.

You're comparing a golf swing to walking down stairs or bringing a fork to your mouth?

And, for those who suffer an injury, who have to learn how to walk again, they do have to think about what they're doing.

9 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

Erik's poll doesn't support your swing thought theory for 25% or more of golfers.  I agree, the other 75% are embroiled in far too many swing thoughts...it's why they take a practice swing then take a swing that looks like they're avoiding a plane landing on them.

The poll supports the opposite of what you said in your prior post.

9 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

What are their swing thoughts?  Please hit the ball?  Don't shank?  I know plenty of scratch folks who have maybe two swing thoughts, but that occurs before setup....behind the ball. They're practice moves...not over the ball.  To that extent, we haven't defined when these swing thoughts are employed.  Is it during the swing or away from the ball before address?  

During the swing. It's not all three during every swing, but for example one of the PGA Tour guys we work with has a few swing thoughts for different shots.

For green side bunker shots he feels like the club is ascending at impact. For tee shots it feels like he's dropping his head back a foot. Irons he feels like he's holding off the club face (the ball starts a bit right and tightly draws). For fairway woods /his hybrid he pushes his right pocket forward.

These are the feels he has during those shots. And yeah, he rehearses them before hand, but he feels them during the swing, too.

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