So I just finished a playing lesson with a female golfer who is what I would call an ‘experienced’ beginner. She plays about once a week with her husband on a fairly difficult golf course.
Afterwards, we sat and talked about her round. One of my primary questions was “what were you thinking about on the course?” To which she started listing off small mechanical ideas one after another.
This is an enormous, but very common mistake among golfers, especially at this level. The Austin swing, especially, overwhelms the conscious brain because it has so many precise points of motion. Therefore learning takes an awesome number of repetitions.
But on the course, all of this must be let go. The best state of mind is to be external and narrow. This means we should be thinking about things outside the body and the swing like wind, or intended direction but with ‘tunnel vision.’ Your best performance will come when you become a spectator inside your own body.
Strategy, as in hitting from point A to point B, is a crucial difference between range and course. But don’t worry about how you got it there.
If you must think internally, the next best thing would be you feeling only the whole swing and its rhythm, not any of the individual parts. Make a powerful yet elegant practice swing, and then repeat it over the ball.
A golf swing is far too fast to be consciously directed. The clubhead is only visible for about the first 18 inches of the backswing. Therefore we must just let it flow and hope for the best. Leave all mechanical thoughts on the range. All you can do on the course is to take notes about your tendencies and bad misses, and return to the range another day to chip away at them.
And the funny thing is, even trying to make what feels like a mechanically different swing on the course, will usually be almost exactly the same as your default no thinking swing. Feel is not real.
The worst shots to be mechanical on are ones of touch and feel – 100 yards and in say. Your conscious brain does not have enough room to think mechanically and feel a certain distance.
In otherwords, just hit the damn ball!