It’s a big concept in DECADE and something that makes a lot of sense to me… it’s also REALLY hard for me. The simple act of standing over the ball, picking a target and committing to the swing… If I focus too much on my technique, I get way to technical and can’t swing a club (similar to Adam Young’s throwing a ball in a basket while thinking about your throwing motion) and if I don’t concentrate enough, I stop thinking about the task at hand and make a non committed swing.
if you are good at this, what is your focus during the swing? or is it even DURING the swing? I think, for me, the goal is to commit to the task at hand, trigger my swing, and then let go and let golf.
Very curious to hear what others think about (good and bad) and how you are working on it… I’m overthinking this to a certain extent, but need to get into a better, focused mental spot to start playing more consistent golf.
I’ve been really struggling with this as well. I can’t find that perfect blend of caring, but not obsessing. When I play my best golf, it fits what you described in the middle. Pick a target, pull the trigger, put the club on the back of the ball and get chasing after it. It’s actually made this year even more frustrating because I know that golfer is in there somewhere, but I can’t seem to find him right now
Working on committing to the shot. I tend to get lost worrying about going OB or whatever. My course has a LOT of OB, a LOT of trees and other trouble so I need to get over it. Figure out the shot, commit to the shot, hit the ball and then repeat as needed.
Granted…I’m an 11 handicap, so this isn’t perfect…but eliminating technical thoughts has really been helpful to me. I pick the target and then my only swing thought is totally on “feel”. I took it from “The Inner Game of Golf” book that I love. I say (outloud sometimes) “back” when I feel i’ve hit the end of my backswing, then “through” at the precise moment of contact. My eyes are always focused in front of the ball where I want my divot to be…but only thoughts are feeling the “back” and “through” split seconds of the swing…it is impossible for me to think technical thoughts at the same time as trying to “feel” those points in time.
The second I decide what club I need, what my target is, my distance, and type of shot, I’m done thinking. I practice so I don’t have to think about my swing. I trust it to do what I want it to do. If I think about it, I’m dead.
You can tell when a guy is standing over the ball thinking about grip, path, tempo, etc. and more often than not they’re the guys that are struggling.
It’s ok to grind over those things when you’re new to the game and haven’t had a chance to develop a swing, but if you’ve been playing any decent amount of time you know your swing.
A lot of guys have triggers - like Justin Thomas’ half takeaway - but he’s not doing it because he’s thinking about his swing. It’s a feel thing he’s developed as a trigger.
There’s enough to think about in golf without grinding over every piece of your swing before pulling the trigger.
Have you tried the idea of practicing with your inner thoughts said out loud? Basically say your thoughts out loud (maybe not in the presence of others) while you are going through your routine. Get your preshot routine and thought process as consistent as possible. My experience has been that it is not necessarily the act of committing as much as it is keeping other thoughts at bay.
A disclaimer: I’m by no means good at it all the time, but am when I’m playing well.
For me, golf is:
1c) post-shot And
Step1a I’m a huge believer in Annika’s “think box” well behind ball; the forward boundary is where ALL thinking stops. I used to try to pare it down to one swing thought, but have found I should do that in the “think box” too, my last thought. So,
Step1a-I) examine lie (Target tells what shot you’d like to hit, lie dictates shot you can hit).
Step1a-II) Establish Objective of Shot-choose target (wind, elevation, shape, etc).
Step1a-III) COMMIT! (are you sure? If not, go to Step1a-II).
Step1a-IV) swing thought (optional. Eg: “left wrist down”).
Step1a-V) STOP THINKING! (If I have trouble I think “BBQ”. Gets easier with practice. When complete, you have permission to exit “think box”).
Step1b The hardest step to complete without a stray thought to invade the backswing.
Step1c Observe flight (make sure you can find it!). Did your shot achieve your Objective from Step1a-II)? How was Impact? For me, now is a good time to remind myself: “I did my part; I hit it. Where it ends up is the ball’s problem.” I try to become an ‘interested spectator’, kinda like watching a favorite tour player; invested, but not personal. Helps me to be objective without being too detached.
Step2. Now, the interesting part. STOP PLAYING GOLF. Notice things. Observe. Take up bird-watching, plant identification, study clouds - anything to exercise the mind and boost your observational skills. Play outdoor Huckle Buckle Beanstalk with imaginary key.
My reasoning is, my mind is going to wander at some point in next 200 minutes, why not let it off-leash? Besides, I might notice a breeze above the trees my partners didn’t, or a low spot near a green which will influence the break. I may not have the talent, but I can out-Observe any opponent!
Now we close the loop back to Step1a, mentally refreshed and excited to play golf again!
For me, one of the biggest things for this is to have a constant routine. DECADE had a video on it about the pre-shot routine that Tiger had back in the day. Scott timed his routine for a bunch of shots in the 2000 US Open and all of them were between I think 13.5 and 13.7 seconds from his first step towards the ball to impact. Incredible. Figure out a routine, then practice it until it becomes second nature. Then do it. Once you pull the trigger on the routine, it switches everything else off and let’s you just do what you want to do. Remarkably freeing.
Other suggestion would be to read The Vision 54 stuff - Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. Their play box and think box stuff is really useful too. It’s a similar concept.
I’ve started practicing my pre shot routine all the way up to my takeaway but without actually hitting the ball.
For example, on the range, I’ll get a ball ready. I’ll stand behind the ball and visualize my shot. Then I walk into my setup and get prepared. I take one last look at the target then begin taking the club away but stop around club parallel. I’ll go through that process 3 times and then hit the shot for real.
I’ve found that when I play now, after I follow my process, the swing just happens. And I’m hitting a LOT of good shots. It’s fun stuff
I have reread this thread due to my growing impatience when I play. My friends and family can tell you I am a very patient person, but when I play a round now I can’t get it over soon enough. As in get the shot over with, get the hole over with, get the round over with. I can spend 2-3 hours on the practice range being patient, but on the course I let things change. Going to have to really work on this, and this thread should be a big help.