Swing thoughts that actually work

Inspired by @Soly post about his Hideki pause and great play of late, what are some swing thoughts (not tips) that actually have worked for you in the past. I have 2:

  1. Practice Swings with your eyes closed (helps tempo/balance and gets me out of position A, B, C…)
  2. Grip pressure gets lighter during the transition

Looking forward to hearing some gems

Kinda weird but “efficient lag” is my go to swing thought. I tend to get a little loosey goosey sometimes and flip my hands at impact. Kills those two with one thought.

under pressure: like many, I get too quick in my transition and pullout of the swing too quick – leading to thin shots that are pulled left of the green.

So I to slow myself down I tell myself “get a good right hipturn & make sure to cover the ball with my chest”… (which I shorten into “good hipturn and cover, good hipturn and cover”.

As someone who struggles with a power fade (commonly referred to as a huge slice) I’m always telling myself to “swing all the way through, and turn over the ball”


More of a putt thought, but when I find myself strangling the life out of my putter on 3-5 footers, I have to remind myself that it’s not saying “choke me, daddy” and treat it like the delicate bird that it is: not so tight that you crush it, but just enough so it doesn’t fly away.

That’s usually the last thing that goes through my head before I take it back once I’m comfortable with the line.

On days when I’m rolling it well, this grip pressure seems to come more naturally.


I have a tendency to yank from the top and a game changer for me has been “soft transition” at the top to keep my arms/wrists/hands soft - when I do this with my normal tempo, I stay really well sequenced and by the time I get to the top and think “soft transition” the ball is gone before I’ve had a chance to tighten up.

More and more I think I really just need a “distraction” thought while I’m on the course - could probably be saying anything.

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Great topic!

My main issue is hitting my approach or chips thin/skully. What I have found to be a huge help is thinking ‘down’ as I draw back and swing through.

This conscious thought keeps my head down, shoulders square and avoids shooting a line drive over the green.

I don’t always have a conscious swing thought, but when I start getting wild off the tee with a two-way miss, I have often reminded myself to hit off a firm left side and it has helped cure a sway. Similarly, “pause at the top” helps when tempo is off.

The thought I have used the most, though, is from Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, and that is a reminder to “stay behind the ball” through impact - it refers to head position, and has helped me with balance on many occasions over the 20 years or so since I first heard it.

For me the phrase “slow down” helps during the full swing.

And “release the putter head” really helps my putting when I get in a funk.

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I think a lot of swing thought success has a lot to do with what your natural swing is. I’m a right-hander. My natural swing is a draw, my primary miss is an overdraw left, secondary miss is the dreaded straight ball right.

Swing Keys:

  1. On setup, “Ass out” - like I’m trying to shit on a wall. Gross, but it helps me straighten my spine and get more upright through the legs.
  2. Loosen my grip. I have a tendency to grip way too hard.
  3. “Hideki” - Helps me slow tempo down trying to pause at the top. I don’t really pause anything like Hideki, but the swing thought works.

I don’t really think much about the swing itself. If I do these three things, it’s pretty consistent.

If I’m overdrawing it a lot one morning, I first check my grip to make sure my right hand is on top of the club rather than behind it or sometimes even underneath. Another swing thought that helps is to imagine a 1-square-foot box located about 4 steps ahead of me and 1 step to the right, and I need to hit the ball through that box. In other words, if I’m drawing the ball, my ball flight needs to go to the right a little before it draws back, and that little mental note usually gets me back on track somehow.

If I’m blocking it right, it’s usually because I’m not getting my hips through on impact. A little drill someone told me one time is get in your normal setup and have a friend put the foot right in front of your club. Put the club against their foot (or a wall, or something that won’t move) and turn your hips and shoulders toward your “target” like you would finishing your swing (but your club is still on the ground in the “contact” position). You’re effectively doing a resistance training exercise to teach your body to get closer to that position at impact, and your body will more naturally do it when you swing.

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Some change over time for me, but I’ve actually had a few hold true since I truly became a competent golfer:

Driver: swing back until it feels like a 9:00 swing. With proper shoulder turn that is plenty for me to get a good crack on the ball

Chipping: TEMPO! Like a smooth putting stroke, I’ll only get the contact I want on a chip with slower, longer, more fluid chipping strokes

Putting: When my mind is done reading and lining up a putt, once at address, I pause for probably one second just to focus on a good takeaway. Without a good takeaway, the stroke will be off line for sure.

Keep it simple.

Athletic position (like you’re a baseball shortstop or you are getting ready to throw a big punch in a boxing match), smooth takeaway, cock wrists, left arm stiff, don’t swing too fast (87.6% of normal) on the backswing, slight turn of the head to the right for bigger backswing, hold backswing for 0.046 seconds, don’t forget to engage lower body at this point, fire hips, right elbow close to body on downswing, head still, club on plane, good foot action, remember rubber band effect, turn the club over after impact, keep balance on follow through, hold finish until ball lands.

That should keep your mind relatively free and able to just let your body take over intuitively.


Good to see some folks really taking hold of the 7-4-7. Needs more FLIP IT, though.


I am not advocating that you copy this thought, it’s not for everyone, but halfway through my downswing with a driver I usually think “water, trees, f*ck!”


I tend to get very quick in my transition / downswing – At some point I created this alter-ego called “Big Daddy Smooth” – When things go off the rails I remind myself of how he would swing (think Vijay Singh) in order to keep my tempo fluid and luscious.

This is not a joke. I actually do this.


4/10 grip pressure
Louis Oosty
Push and Pull

(Trying to replicate Louis’s Tempo)
(Push right hand down at take away and pull down for backswing)

Very simple and keeps me from overthinking things.

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Saying “ernie”hqdefault when I take the club back and “els” on the dowsnswing. It really helps with tempo!

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don’t decelerate & simple/rhythmic motion

If any you have ever read the book “Fearless Golf” by Dr. Gio Valiante (which I would highly recommend). The book suggests a swing thought that is simply, ask yourself “what is my target”. The idea of this swing thought is to think less mechanically and not have any swing thoughts which could cause a less fluid swing. I find this type of swing thought helps me have a more fluid swing than a swing mechanics based thought.

@ChillMickelson I haven’t read it, but love that theory. The way I’ve had it explained is that, for example, a basketball player doesn’t go through some sort of “shot thought” routine before he shoots. He focuses in on the target (hoop) and lets the brain figure out how to get it there.

The only thing I would add to this is that there needs to be correct fundamentals (grip, alignment, posture, etc) but once you have correct fundamentals, just pick a target (very small target I would suggest) and naturally let your mind/body figure out how to hit it there.

This seems to work for some, but not everyone. Some people are more technical than others, but when I am playing best, I’m just focusing on targets.