Golf IQ

The difference between swing thoughts and swing feels—how to use both

2023 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals

Charles Laberge

August 30, 2023

Golf is a complicated game, which means golfers often have a barrage of information swimming around in their mind. It's hard to play golf that way.

But often, that leads amateur golfers into making something of a mental mistake: Trying to erase their mind of everything entirely. That's the topic me and my co-host for this episode, Drew Powell, tackle on this episode of the Golf IQ, which you can listen to below (or subscribe to right here!).

The idea of a blank slate, when it comes to your golf swing, is an appealing one because it's such a simple idea. Sure, every now and again you may have those blissful rounds of no thoughts, and the pure freedom of a swing. But that's not something you can count on for every round. Your brain is hardwired to think about stuff. Telling yourself not to thinking about something just doesn't work—or even make sense. It's better to give yourself something productive, that you want to think about.

That's where the difference between swing thoughts, and feelings come into into play...

Swing thoughts

Swing thoughts are specific things you want to do in your golf swing. "Bowing your wrist", for instance, or "bumping your hips towards the target" are examples of swing thoughts. It's hard to actually play golf with too many swing thoughts—most pros say it caps out at about one or two. They're best left for the driving range, when you can work to transfer those swing thoughts into swing feelings...

Swing feels

Swing thoughts and swing feelings aren't mutually exclusive. My swing thought may be to transfer my weight on the downswing, but how do I know if I'm doing that? That's where swing feelings come into play. A productive range session can transfer your swing thoughts into swing feelings, and because one swing feeling can encapsulate multiple swing thoughts, it's much easier to take to the golf course. You may want to do three different things, but you can accomplish that with one simple feeling.

So, when you're playing, you're not thinking about all the stuff you want to. You're just focusing on replicating that specific feeling that's unique to you, as you swing.

Once again, you can listen to the full podcast right here...