How to use your brain correctly for practicing the golf swing and when playing golf

*This is a continuation of the last post on identifying your Kids-Swing moves and The Golf Swing Mastery Factor.

Part 3 – One more thing you need to know…

Learn The Truth About HOW To Improve Your The Golf Swing, AndHOW To Use It On The Course In Auto-Pilot Mode – The Mode That Great Players Swing In

“There are couple of ways to use your brain to instruct your body to improve your swing:

  1. The wrong way which will waste your time, effort and money and leave you with zero progression or regression
  2. The right way to use your brain which will help you learn, groove and own a superior swing forever.”

You now have the concept of The Golf Swing Mastery Factor (move different parts of your body less) and how its violation results in a mechanically poor, under-performing Kids Swing, versus, an easy-to-repeat, mechanically strong, Pro-like Adults Swing.

The other half of this equation as the above headline indicates is:

  1. How do you not waste time and energy on implementing changes in the wrong way, and importantly…
  2. How do you switch from conscious-brain training-mode, to the ideal playing, trusting-mode when swinging on the golf course?


AP See, feel, swing


Ideally, the conscious part of your brain will be very quiet when you are swinging – while the much larger part of your brain responsible for swinging the golf club (subconscious and unconscious) go to work.

The wrong way to try and improve and play golf

There are three big problems with how the majority of golf professionals teach, broadcast and influence their students (in-person, on television and in magazines), they are:

  1. Most golf professionals personally stopped striving to improve their games, they are now primarily small businessman/women in the retail, that is their primary focus. Some may tinker with their swing-technique but this doesn’t have much to do with being able to hit different shots under pressure in competitions. Being able to hit shots to the target on the golf course as club-golfers must do, matters.
  2. Most golf professionals can’t or don’t know how to teach golfers how to switch their focus from rhythm-straggling, analytical, conscious-brain training-mode, to the ideal playing, trusting-mode – a mixture of conscious, subconscious & unconscious-brain activation. ALL great golf is played in playing, trusting mode.
  3. They don’t teach (so students don’t learn) in all three main golf-learning modes (see below)

I point this out because I have been actively working on my swing while trying to improve my scoring for 25 years. I have veered off course (especially when I was much younger), when I focused solely on visual learning and solely on technique. Bad idea.

How we learn and play golf

I know how I did it when my game and swing was childish, and I know how I do it now and how I got to the point where I play par-golf, handle competition pressure, and go into the mid 60’s for 18 holes when “the zone” kindly opens its doors to me every now and then.

Let us get back to how us humans learn golf…

We have 5 sensory modes that we can learn in:

  1. Auditory, what we hear
  2. Visually, what we see
  3. Kinesthetically, what we feel
  4. *Olfactory, what we smell
  5. *Gustatory, what we taste

*I don’t know much about improving at golf via smell and taste, I’m not in the habit of tasting grass or smelling the right line to putt along! So, we can eliminate them from the learning process.

As I touched on before, we are bombarded and mesmerized with golf on television, in magazines, on the internet and even when we see playing partners play. We take in all this information. And today, teaching via video camera – most teachers and students focus solely on what they see and listen to (verbal advice).

What is the most important sense when playing golf and when learning to improve your swing?

Learning should involve all three modes. When you are actually swinging the club it’s feel – your kinesthetic system. And it’s the secret to improving  1, 2, 4 or even 10 parts of your swing at the one time without getting bogged down by tempo-destroying instructions by your conscious brain!

The rapid brain function to produce a golf swing that is made up of hundreds of muscular contractions just at the right time, does NOT come from the conscious part of your brain – if it is involved it ruins the swing.

(Examples of an overactive, rhythm-stopping consciousness while swinging, might include internal statements such as, “keep head down”, keep arm straight”, “tight coil”, “roll hands”.)

(Common fear-based internal talk while you swing or when you are in your setup includes, any sentence that has don’t in it; examples: “don’t hit it over there”, “don’t hit it in there”. This is poor programming of your internal computer.)


"Conscious thoughts account for only 10% of your brain power. Building a solid technique then handing operation over to the more powerful subconscious and unconscious parts to swing the club is the key to playing great golf"

“Conscious thoughts account for only 10% of your brain power. Building a solid technique then handing operation over to the more powerful subconscious and unconscious parts to swing the club is the key to playing great golf”

The complex actions of a great golf swing, playing music, ball throwing or kicking, diving, vaulting and dancing ideally, are not controlled by what you think, your unconscious brain is orchestrating all of this – firing of electricity through your central nervous system to your muscles. And it performs best when you and your conscious brain stays out of the action!

Let your conscious brain calculate the distance, get you to the first tee on time, and override your fight or flight emotions, so you can take the smart route out of the trees, but don’t let it interfere with the miracle that is a human hitting a ball powerfully and accurately to a target 200 yards away!

This is Playing, Trusting-Mode

This is Playing/Trusting Mode

So how do you create a better golf swing without directing your swing consciously, into mechanically better positions?

Having a plan of action and the discipline to practice is absolutely driven by your conscious brain (and ideally, inspiration). When we are learning a new skill we want to progress from conscious to subconscious action. After a while of grooving a new movement your conscious brain will wander away while you start hard-wiring these new movements. You could look at the process as, “Learn, Groove, Use” (with the three levels of consciousness working at differing degrees of input).

Look at examples below of what is going on inside some of the greatest golfers minds to produce near perfect golf

I read in Doctor Bob Rotella’s (Sports Psychologist) Golf Is a Game of Confidence book, about Byron Nelson, the 4 time Major Winner (he won 64 professional tournaments in total).

Bob asked Byron about his process for intentionally curving the ball. Byron, predominately hit draws, but, he could also move the ball left-to-right when necessary, for example, when a pin was back right – behind a bunker – he would hit a safer, fade shot (starting at the fat of the green away from the bunker then moving the ball in towards the pin). “I had learned in my practice how to fade it,” he said, “I just thought about that, and – funny thing – my body did it.”

Did Byron’s swing change to hit these different shots? Absolutely. But he had his core swing hard-wired, so he would simply respond to the target an his intended ball-flight with instinctive changes in his swing and aiming. Perfect. (Remember he had practiced these shots thousands of times – thereby hard-wiring the movement patterns.)

Jack Nicklaus wrote in his Golf My Way book about “going to the movies” before hitting every shot. He meant he would visualize where he wanted the ball to go and how the ball would fly there (trajectory, speed, everything).

Jack knew that this process fed his mind and his mind accordingly would deliver him the swing he required to hit the shot.

Below is a shortgame example of the ideal mindset.

Ray Floyd, multiple Major’s winner, describes in his Elements of Scoring book about a chip he had on the 14th at Augusta in the 1992 Masters Tournament. His ball was 20ft over the back of the green and 4ft below the level of the green. The pin was located just 10ft from the fringe and the green sloped very much from the back fringe down to the pin. So essentially, 1 – Ray’s ball had to be hit up a hill then nearly stop, then trickle down to the hole located just 10ft from the back fringe, 2 – Not getting-up-and down would see the end of a rare opportunity to win the Masters.

His strategy was to close down the loft on a 60 degree wedge and pitch the ball firmly into the bank before it spun on the green and meandered down to the hole.

He writes, “I looked at the bank, I looked at the hole, and I let the information filter into my hands. I didn’t think of the potential disaster of landing too high up the bank, or even flying it [the bank] completely, or chunking it short – all real possibilities. I thought only of what my mind’s eye was seeing.”

Ray holed the shot and he says that he never holed a harder short from around the green in his entire career.

These examples show how “vision feeds the subconscious brain the fuel it needs to produce a rhythmical, target-orientated swing (including the hundreds of muscular contractions just at the right time).”
“This is playing golf in trusting-mode. The picture (see) feeds the unconscious part of the brain that feeds the body to swing using energy and feel. When you know how to manage your conscious attention you will be set to make the best swing possible.”

 Below, a summary of what you have learned and how you can apply this knowledge to learn, groove and use a Pro-Like, Adults Golf Swing

  1. By applying the Golf Swing Mastery Factor (doing less in various part of your swing) you’ll eliminate Kids-Swing moves
  2. When swinging in practicing and playing you must learn about and be able to, switch from conscious demands to feeding your swing through vision and feelings – relying on the subconscious and unconscious to play in the optimal playing, trusting-mode

Part 4: Learn, Groove and Own a Simpler, Pro-Like Adults Golf Swing

What is the Truth About Developing and Owning a superior Golf Swing?

  1. Step 1 – Identify then consciously eliminate Kids-Swing moves
  2. Step 2 – Groove the new swing (hard-wiring of better swing-movements is now occurring)
  3. Step 3 – Swing in “trusting-mode” when playing on golf course. Your swing responds to what ball-flight you want to use to hit the ball to the target

Your swing improvements will come in various ways at at varying speeds, such as:

  1. By simply knowing about your Kid-Swing moves you will start improving straight away – without loads of practice.
  2. Some of your improvements will need some practice, and grooving.
  3. And for some shots and swings your mechanics will become better by NOT thinking about them, but rather, by swinging with better tempo and rhythm in response to better vision and feel (remember the type of thinking that great players, Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson and Ray Floyd used when playing? They were not bogged down with technical thoughts when playing).

Training Programs that can help you further:

The Automatic Golf System (for feel-based golf – think, see, feel swing) and The Adults Golf Swing (for a Mechanically better Swing). You can go to either of the above information pages to view the specific program, then on the pricing page for each you have the option to purchase one, or both at a discounted price.

The Simple Swing Training which majors in better mechanics but also helps you integrate practice into a natural, feel based swing.

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