Golf Hall of Famer, Bobby Jones, famously said, “…golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course… the space between your ears“.
Golf swing thoughts can be your best weapon to win on this tiny but powerful course. To play great golf, it’s crucial to understand the importance of your mental game.
Don’t let doubt creep in. Don’t let the pressure of an important shot cause you to make a bad swing.
Golf professionals and scratch golfers use swing thoughts to help them consistently execute. You should do the same.
Below we define swing thoughts, give you tips for using them, and even provide our favorites.
Let’s get started!
What Are Golf Swing Thoughts?
A swing thought is similar to a mantra. It is something you can repeat to yourself prior to a shot to help you focus on the right details.
Golf swing thoughts will help you in a couple of different ways.
First, it is a reminder of what you are currently working on in your golf swing.
Do you ever hit the ball great on the driving range, but struggle once you reach the course?
This can happen for several reasons, but the most common is that you forget to focus on your execution. You get wrapped up in your score or you get nervous about hitting a poor shot.
Golf swing thoughts remind you of the right way to execute your swing. They remove the clutter from your thought process.
Second, they will help you execute your swing regardless of the situation. Instead of worrying about the lake or the out-of-bounds, focus on your swing thoughts.
To state it differently, swing thoughts are short phrases that help you quiet the noise in your head when trying to hit shots on the course.
Golf swing thoughts are a must for any player that wants to improve their game and lower their golf handicap.
4 Tips For Using Golf Swing Thoughts
Swing thoughts can help you shoot lower scores, but only if you’re using them correctly.
#1: Less Is More
Just like anything, you can overdo it. Overcomplicating your swing thoughts will only make the game harder.
Overcomplicating these thoughts can also negatively affect your pace of play. You never want to be known as the slow player in your group.
To avoid this, try to minimize the number of swing thoughts. Otherwise, analysis paralysis can set in – if you’re trying to remember 3-5 thoughts before each shot, for example.
All of a sudden a tool that should help you play better makes your pre-shot routine more difficult.
We recommend you use one swing thought at a time. Some players can use two, but never more than that.
#2: Keep It Simple
The best mantras are nice and short – the same is true for golf swing thoughts.
How short is short?
Our rule of thumb is that 3 to 5 words are perfect. Easy to remember and easy to repeat to yourself on the golf course.
The goal is to remind you how to execute your golf swing. It can be as simple as one word.
If you are working on the tempo of your swing, your thought could be “smooth”. It doesn’t need to be complicated to work.
#3: The Last Thought Before You Swing
Your golf swing thought should be the last thing you think about before starting the golf club back.
You may do it quickly, but your brain processes a lot of information before each shot. This is a critical piece of course management.
You check the distance, test the wind, and select a club. You identify any trouble and pick a spot to aim.
All important steps in your pre-shot routine, but the final thing that crosses your mind should be your swing thought.
#4: Always Have A Backup
Great golfers can adjust on the course. You thought you had your duck hook under control, but your first 4 tee curves into the left woods – what next?
You have two options. Quit and go home or try something different.
It’s never good if you storm off the course after playing 4 holes, so let’s focus on the latter.
We recommend you always have a second swing thought in your back pocket. Something different to try if your round gets off to a bad start.
Swing thoughts can be fickle. What works well one day may not work the next. Be prepared with an alternative option.
Our 7 Favorite Golf Swing Thoughts
You can be creative. Your swing thoughts can be unique to you and your golf swing.
That being said, there are consistent themes when you talk to golfers about their swing thoughts.
If you are looking for ideas, here are some for you to try. Test them on the driving range before trying on the course.
Notice that all of these golf swing thoughts are 5 words or less and easy to remember!
#1: Grip It And Rip It
This is both a swing thought and a slogan. Two-time major championship winner John Daly used this phrase when asked to explain how he hits the ball so far.
It may sound like an odd swing thought, but it is perfect for the golfer that gets nervous and makes tentative swings.
Shanks, yips, and tops can all be caused by making weak or scared swings. You get so worried about the negative that you don’t make your best effort.
To execute you need to commit to the shot. No fear. Make a flowing and strong swing.
In other words, Grip It and Rip It!
#2: One & Two
How can counting to two be a golf swing thought? We love this one for a couple of reasons.
First, it is simple. Easy to remember and easy to repeat.
Second, it is the perfect swing thought if you struggle to maintain a nice, smooth tempo in your swing.
Here is how it works. You count one…and…two during your swing. The “one” is your backswing, the “and” is your transition, and the “two” is your downswing.
Adding the “and” in your transition is how you create lag and generate power.
If you are trying out different swing thoughts, hit a few shots using “one & two”. You will love the results.
#3: Keep Your Head Still
A common problem for higher handicappers is sliding off the ball instead of turning. The best golf swings rotate around the spine.
This golf swing thought is the perfect reminder to turn and not slide. You don’t want your head to move off the ball and you don’t want to look up early.
Did you know that swing thoughts can also work for your short game? “Keep your head still” is also a good idea when you are chipping and putting.
You may hear golf instructors tell you to keep your head “down”, but we prefer the concept of “still”.
#4: Tuck Your SHoulder
Similar to #3, this swing thought will help you turn instead of slide when you hit the ball. It is perfect for the golfer that wants to make a simple and consistent golf swing.
To swing the golf club simply tuck your left shoulder (right-handed golfers) under your chin. This ensures a nice full turn.
To complete your downswing untuck your shoulder and return the club to the ball.
This swing thought can also help the player that tends to get too long with their arms – if your swing goes past parallel, give this one a try.
#5: Drag The Club Low & Slow
Did you know you can mess up your swing in the first few inches of your takeaway? It’s true – you can jerk the club inside or let your wrist break down.
Golf swing thoughts are designed to help you stay focused on execution. Low and slow is a great example.
Start your swing by dragging the club back slowly and close to the ground (low). This will prevent you from starting in a bad position.
This swing thought can help you avoid the duck hook or the big slice!
#6: Hold The Pose
We all strive for a balanced golf swing. “Hold the pose” is a golf swing thought that can help you achieve this goal.
Here is the goal. Can you hold a balanced pose after each shot until your ball lands? It will take discipline, but if you can execute it you will hit better shots.
This is a great swing thought for more experienced golfers. It could be the key that helps you learn how to break 80 for the first time.
Focus on holding the pose and you will get to watch more high-quality shots.
#7: Smooth Transition
2021 Fed Ex Cup Champion, Patrick Cantlay was recently asked about his favorite swing thought. His answer was “smooth transition”.
Another way to describe this one is to “pause at the top”. Your transition from backswing to downswing is critical.
It is one of the primary differences between great players and players that struggle to hit the ball consistently.
The next time you visit the driving range, pay attention to your transition. Do you have a pause or is it too quick?
This might be the swing thought that will unlock your game.
Related Article: Learn How To Stop Pulling The Golf Ball With These 8 Tips.
Let’s Continue WOrking On Your Mental Game
we’ve come to the end of this article on golf swing thoughts, however they’re not the only way that you can improve your mental game . . .