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Are you over-thinking the game?

Mental Game  

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  1. 1. Are you over-thinking the game?

    • Yes
    • No

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I play with a couple of retired pros and they both tell me constantly that the biggest problem with my game is that I am overthinking my game.  They are positive influences on me and I love playing with them, one is actually my instructor and says if I could only get that six inches out of the way I probable could drop ten strokes.   At 75, just hard to make those demons go away, but they are dead on.  Yesterday in playing with other pro, had four triple bogies, all out of our new sand traps.  He said they have my number and that it is all in my head.  Also had two birdies.  Take away those 12 strokes and I am in the low 80s, where I should be.  Over think is an understatement right now.  It will change. 

Our course underwent a major redesign this year and the bunkers and greens were made incredibly difficult.  For those familiar with Seth Raynor, his design, but his were on large greens.  This designer put them on very small greens which was insane.  When the USGA rated the course they agreed.  It is municipal course and not playable by all levels.  Our 2019 city Amateur Champion shot -12 for the three day tournament.  After the renovation, this years champion shot +6 for three days.  The bunkers and greens are some of the toughest you will find in SC.  It is now a one a done course for visitors.  Those of us who play it weekly still find it one son of a gun.  Kind forces us to overthink, sometimes.      

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22 hours ago, saz0418 said:

Not bad for a 62 year old, 9/10 HDCP. 

I could not agree more... but I still want that single digit index dammit! 🤣

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I developed a counting routine to keep my mind off technical thoughts other than my tempo... 

Once I have addressed the ball and am set I look at target and count 1-2
Then look at a spot on ball and count 1-2
Then begin backswing count 1 at top, 2 at or close to impact. 

All are done at the same tempo speed. I will also try to do a long exhale through the whole process.  

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On 12/17/2021 at 9:09 AM, fixyurdivot said:

Some truth to that, but just hang with this us for a bit longer and you'll see the error in that statement 😆.

What about our forum members "swing in progress" clips?

Well, my opinion on YouTube golf instructions is it is not all bad but there is a lot of garbage on there like everything on the internet.  I enjoy Me and My Golf for example.  Haven't seen the "swing in progress".  I'll check it out.


Since the topic is over thinking, I just think some of that YouTube content causes just that.


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On 12/18/2021 at 6:30 AM, singleta said:

Turn shoulders to line them up with the target line (I naturally stand with them very open), squeeze shoulder blades together, low takeaway, keep shoulder blades squeezed, keep lower body still (i.e don't slide back from the target) swing in-to-out (my natural swing is out to in so this thought helps to neutralise the path)

Then watch it sail down the fairway with a gentle fade 🤞

I’ve never heard any instructor at any level talk about squeezing the shoulder blades and many say the opposite. Look at GG and Monte as two who have very relaxed shoulders. Also find me a pro golfer who does that.

Still lower body also not recommended, especially with the trail side where the knee and angle should rotate in the swing and the hips should be moving back and towards the target.

Curious where you got these swing thoughts from?

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I believe there are two different types of 'overthinking'.  One that takes place prior to your preshot routine. And one that takes place at the after the end of your pre-shot routine before you begin your backswing and during your swing.

I think 'overthinking' prior to the pre-shot routine is OK (at least for me).  These are thoughts like, shot shape, where to aim (where to miss), taking wind and elevation into consideration, etc.  Now, it can be annoying to your playing partner, if you keep going back and forth between choosing your clubs.  But, for me this is a fairly quick process.

The detrimental 'overthinking' is the one that take place before you begin your backswing (perhaps even freezing some player for what seem like an eternity) and even worse, during your swing.   I try (not always successfully) to limit mine to just one.  "slow takeaway"   To empty my mind, I do 2 things. 

  1. Stick to my routine.  Once I set my club down, I make one practice take back and start my backswing without pause.
  2. I physically whisper "One one-thousand, eighty" during the swing.  This is true for driver swing down to putting stroke.   "One one-thousand in the backswing.  Eighty at the beginning of transition to downswing."  "One-one-thousand" is hard to say fast.  I found that I can say this at pretty constant time.  Fraction less than 1 sec.  'Eighty' I chose a couple years ago instead of saying "two."  I think originally to remind me to swing 80%.  The physical act of saying something outloud, keeps my mind empty

2 cents


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The shoulder blade squeeze came about by chance. I was playing with a bit of back pain and that was the position that I didn't feel any pain in. It also happened to give me a much more centred strike on the driver head so I stuck with it.

The keeping the lower body still thought came from a lesson. The coach told me I swayed too much in the direction of my back foot on the backswing so the intention of the thought is to minimise the movement not to eliminate all movement.

It's working for me though as I've gone from low 40s to mid 50s percentage of fairways hit and it's almost completely eliminated my short high fade miss.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe it is so easy to over-think golf.  I think that one has to do this to become a better golfer.  But when that process is over, it is time to play the game with all the things learned in the over-thinking stage.  That is when one becomes a golfer.  It is much like an artist painting with oils.  Learn the technique, then just paint.

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Sometimes I think about taking a sip of beer before hitting the ball... and sometimes the result is another sip or two before moving on and repeating.


No... I do not overthink golf. Life is too short to be bothered about something most of us will ever be so, so at. I just have fun when I'm out there.

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I’m seeing a trend here. Seems like this over thinking is just magnified by YouTube videos and instructional forums. What have you guys done to yourselves? I really read this stuff with my jaw dropping to the ground. I’m not treating any of this as a joke reading it. Just in awe how lost in the trees one can become at things. And many of you are lost in the deepest of forests. It’s almost like these online instructors revel off of confusion. And profit from it substantially. We aren’t professionals, and I would say the courses we play are very user friendly. The equipment now a days is the best available. And the ball itself goes straighter with less curve. I really don’t even know what to type anymore on this area of the forum. All I can say is I’m sorry for where some of you are in your games 

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