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When Golf Swing Thoughts Don’t Work

by Coach Stephen on

swing thought

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in a bunker for the last 5 years, you’ve heard about the “Mind/Body Connection” (MBC).

Everyone is talking about it – from the New Age, crystal-wearing fruitcake to the most highly respected medical institutions in the world.

So what does it have to do with your golf swing thoughts?


Before we dive right into it, let’s make a distinction (however esoteric it may be) between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind.

Now, let’s keep things simple, because I’m a simple-minded fellow.

We’ll say that your conscious mind is that which you can “control” or think about and take deliberate action on. Whereas your subconscious is more “unconscious”, meaning that you do not, actually cannot, think about it, control it, and/or take deliberate actions based upon it.

Where many golfers get off track is thinking about the MBC as being between the conscious mind and the body.

Although there are plenty of situations and techniques where this is the case, your golf swing is NOT one of them.


It’s because your golf swing happens way too fast for your conscious mind to be able to have a thought and then carry out that command in your physical body. This is where utilizing a swing thought (conscious mind) during a golf swing can be detrimental and cause chronic inconsistency.

A much better bet is to use your body to connect to your subconscious mind, and allow that combination to govern your golf swing.

This will involve developing a KINESTHETIC awareness of your golf swing – how it FEELS in your body.


The best technique that I have found for this is “chunking down” your swing into small sections that need refining, and repeating one of them over and over again.

At first you should guide your body consciously into the correct pattern. But after doing this for several minutes, your conscious mind will start to turn off, and you will just be focusing on how it feels in your body to perform that particular section of your swing.

This can sometimes take hundreds of repetitions. But the time involved is still relatively short.

Once you have the “feel” for that segment of your swing, add the next one and repeat. You will likely find that some segments are quite simple to tune into, while others are more of a challenge. This technique will “groove your swing” with kinesthetic awareness and you will not have to attempt (in vain) to use your conscious mind for a task that it can never adequately accomplish.

Of course, you will still use your conscious mind in your pre-shot routine, when it has the time to evaluate the situation, make decisions, and assist you in entering your peak performance state. This can take some time and a bit of practice, but is well worth it for a consistent, fluid and “mindless” golf swing.

Let me know your thoughts on swing thoughts in the comments section below.

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david frugtniet January 18, 2012 at

I am sure that segmental swing training with multiple repetition works: trouble is my worst swing faults (segments) are always the first to revert to former incorrect actions. I seem to need more frequent “re-visitings” to my worst segments, but they ALL seem to require ongoing attention, i.e. for me, NONE are fixed forever! On the positive side, one pivotal segment improvement (temporary? see above!) can improve a whole bunch of others (sequential).

Coach Stephen January 19, 2012 at

Good point, David. Thanks for the input.

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