It’s been hard to miss if you’ve been watching end-to-end Masters coverage this week. Every interview with Brooks Koepka inevitably zeros in on his “think of nothing” swing strategy. I love it and find the psychological aspects fascinating. Having tried myself, I found it tremendously difficult. Nick Faldo said that he doesn’t believe he can do it. Readers, like Vet4golfing51, claim to be able to do it without issue. Can you do it?
Playing with no swing thoughts implies that you have 100% trust in your swing. Bob Rotella, famous sports psychologist, advocates for the “Train it Trust it” method. In Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect, he draws on examples of athletes throwing away mechanical thoughts and just thinking of shooting at a targets to free up their bodies for better performance. Makes perfect sense.
If Koepka can truly play and only focus on where to hit the ball, he has a tremendous advantage. The guy certainly has no lack of confidence and is building a track record of success. Maybe there’s an overabundance of some brain chemical that allows him to play that way, or maybe he’s not telling the truth, but the results speak for themselves.
On the occasions I’ve dabbled in the strategy, I’ve either made a conscious effort to just “think target” or have been so frustrated with my game, I threw out all swing thoughts just attempting to relax. The one planned effort lasted 16 holes during a round in Myrtle Beach. The experience was weird, as if I had lost all control of my game but was rather successful. I didn’t feel like I could control my shots but never hit one terribly off line. Then the inevitable swing thought crept in on the 17th hole and I returned to a normal state. Normal state would constitute working with a single swing key, and possessing enough knowledge about your own game to make mid-round adjustments. Jack Nicklaus was a proponent of this approach and certainly has the record to back it up.
How close can you get to playing with zero swing thoughts?