I think most golfers get so wrapped up in thoughts that they get in their own way on the golf course, particularly with any single swing. The time it takes for a swing to happen – from the moment you start the club back to and through impact – is just not long enough for you to process more than one thought or swing key. At least that’s my opinion. When I see golfers take agonizingly long seconds to get the club moving away from the golf ball, I have to believe it is because there is a running dialog going through their head about all the things they are trying to remember to do . . . or not do.
But when I’m playing my best . . . and I’ll bet this applies to all of you . . . there is at most a single thought that is driving that. It might be a different one for drives, iron shots, scrambling and putting, but it just cannot be more than one. And often times, our best golf comes when we don’t have a thought in the world but are driven by a clear picture of the shot we face, and how it comes off perfectly.
The most destructive swing thoughts are those that are based on a negative. “Don’t let this go right”, or “Don’t let your weight get too far back” or “Don’t let the club get too high” . . . The fact is, it is almost impossible to not do something. Think about that for a minute. The only way to not do something is to do something else. So all your conscious infusions should be of a positive nature. Think of doing something, rather than not doing something.
Another thought on . . . . thoughts. It also seems to me that my most effective swing thoughts are based on something I’m trying to feel in my swing, rather than something I’m trying to do. For example, my tendency is to get to quick in my swing, regardless of the shot I’m trying to hit. From drives to short chips, my long-time Achilles heel is to get too quick. So, I’ve found what works for me is not to think about being slower, but to feel the end of my backswing. I just focus on feeling that position where the club is at the transition point at the top or end of the backswing, and that gets me back into the right tempo and downswing.
On putting, my current thought is to feel the back of the left hand moving toward the hole on the forward stroke. That’s because I found myself getting a little right-hand dominant. That also tends to slow down my stroke pace and make the putter come to a complete stop before it starts forward.
I’m a firm believer that much of your golf improvement and success comes from the time away from the golf course or range. Time spend thinking about your golf while you are driving or sitting on the back porch can do wonders for your success with a club in your hand.
Give these ideas a try and let’s see what you guys all have to offer to this dialog.
Have a great weekend.