To Think or Not to Think, That is the Question

There seems to be as many theories on the mental side of golf as there are swing theories.

What do we think about? How much do we think about-is it one thing or ten things?  When do we think about them- before we swing, during the swing, just when?  Should we clear our minds totally and go to our happy place?  Just what are we supposed to do?

Some say you should have one key swing thought for every swing. There are others who say to clear your mind completely of all thoughts and let it happen.  Through experience, and the incredible knowledge of Mr. Carey Mumford, the latter is what I found to be the most successful.

We have all heard the term “paralysis from analysis.”  When it comes to golf that is exactly what we do when we think too much.  We stand over the ball and ask ourselves is our grip correct, the posture okay, start the swing with my shoulders, shift weight to the right, keep the weight on the inside of the right foot, turn shoulder under chin, keep straight left arm (right-handed golfer), turn body to face the target, keep head down, release the club, keep back of hand facing the target at impact, follow through, breath and relax.  By the time all that goes through your computer (brain), you are so tied up in knots, there is no possible way you can swing the club.  What do we do instead?

First, we have to understand that our system headed up by our brain, (or as my old friend Toy called it “the knowledge box”) is not a multi-tasking unit.  It will only allow us to think and do one thing (properly) at a time.  With apologies to our lady readers, I know you don’t believe that.  When we are thinking our immune system starts working as well, and there is a certain amount of anxiety, stress and pressure that starts to build.  The only way to keep those evil doers from creeping into our swings is to eliminate conscious level thinking while we are swinging the club.  Easier said than done.

We have all cleared our mind at one point or other on the course. (Alcohol does not count).  We have gotten so upset with our game, that we have just said “I am fed up; and am just going to swing”.  Just want to get to the clubhouse and have a cold one.  What usually happens we hit those shots that bring us back the next time.  These decent shots appear because we stop thinking about the mechanics, and just start swinging the club.

How then do we stop thinking about our swing?  What you want to do is find something to occupy your mind in the 7 to 14 seconds it takes to swing the club, with some thought that has no action in it.  A thought that gives you joy, pleasure, satisfaction, or preferably make you laugh, that is not physical or has action involved.  Here is a couple of examples that I use:

“ I want to live forever, so far so good”.

“Legalized bingo kept my mom off the streets.”

“Mary had a little lamb, and the doctor went into shock.”
As you can see, what you say can be anything.  All you are trying to do is occupy your mind for that short time frame it takes to swing the club.  Try it and see how it works.  You will probably be pleasantly surprised with the results.

If you would like to learn more about shutting down the computer that sits on top of your shoulders, contact Mr. Carey Mumford, or come and see us at

Good golfing and let us know how it works!

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