Take Dead Aim

It’s that time of the year again. The time to select my 10 Go-To Swing Thoughts for the upcoming golf season. This has been a serious and involved process that required a number of considerations, including my talent level, age, commitment to practice time and my mental state.

It also has been a long process given the fact that I have collected well over 200 swing thoughts over the years and still have 60 potential candidates. Given the fact that I have a tendency to worry and get down on myself, I have eliminated the swing thoughts that use words such as “don’t,” “never” and “no.” Also, being right-brained, I stay away from swing thoughts with words like “supinate,” “pronate,” “centrifugal,” “linear,” “torque” and “optimal.”

Even though Tom Watson said, “It boils down to one thought – a swing key, as Sam Snead would say, ‘If you think about two things, that’s too complicated,’” I am going to try to stick with Two Per Swing. In years past, I have had the tendency to go with “several.” Two seems like a reasonable compromise.

Okay, so here’s my plan, I am will come to the club with my Ready List of 10 swing thoughts on an index card. After my warm-up, I will select two to start the day. If I am playing well, I will stay with those two. If I am not, I will go to the card and look for one or two replacements. I just hope I never get to the point in any round where I have to re-start with my original two.

Below in boldface, are the Top 10 that I am going to start the year with. Perhaps you will find a few that could work for you. (Please note that these swing thoughts are primarily for the irons and woods.)

Release my hands. 

Swing down and through.

Keep my knee flex.

Focus on the target.

Make a full finish.

Clear the hips.

Turn, don’t sway.

Slow backswing.

Stay behind the ball.

Back to the target.

Turn left shoulder over right knee.

Slow transition.

A wee pause at the top of the backswing.

Grip the club with your fingers.

Swing under control.

Keep my eyes focused on the back of the ball.

Chin up at address.

Tempo. Tempo. Tempo.

Hips Initiate the downswing.

Increase my turn.

Steady head.

Turn with your chest.

Don’t look up until the right shoulder forces your head up.

Relax my grip.

“Finish with your belt buckle facing the hole.” – T. Watson

Hit the inside part of the ball.

Keep the right elbow close to the body.

Keep a soft grip pressure. Soft hands.

Deep Breath. Collect myself.

Commit to the shot.

Make a more deliberate backswing.

For irons: “cover the ball” with your chest at impact.

Get closer to the ball. (Andy is always telling me this.)

Low and Slow.

Swing to the target.

Keep your height.

“Smooth stroke, smooth stroke, smooth stroke …”

-- Ian Baker-Finch.

Get onto my left side.

Wide takeaway.

Keep spine angle constant.

Hit through the ball.

Elbows facing the target.

Keep left arm straight.

Keep the triangle.

For irons: lean shaft forward.

High finish.

Hold the tray.

Body leads the arms.

Get to my left side.,

Good, athletic posture.

Finish like a statue.

One-piece takeaway.

“In the grip, ‘light’ is right!’” – Gary Player

Stay down.

Feel tall.

Consistent rhythm.

Shut the face. 

Batter’s release.

Plant your left heel.


Last week, I asked Kansas City Country Club head pro Andy Fisher if he would like to share his favorite swing thoughts with us. I thought this was a simple ask as well as an opportunity for him to share his wisdom, a few simple tips. Instead, he sent a dispatch on the importance of taking a wholistic approach to the one’s game:   

After teaching many players of all skill levels over the years, I am astonished at the number of players that address, swing, hit and watch the ball fly. When I ask, “What were you thinking about there?” I too often hear, “I don’t know.” 


You may overhear kids in the sandlot in a huddle say, “Just go long.” But you will never hear an NFL quarterback get in the huddle and say, “Just snap the ball and we will figure it out.” 

Think of your body as a football team. The well-crafted play in football has 11 players working in unison, each member playing his role in a successful play.

The same is true in golf -- the back swing starts, the hips and shoulders turn (doing their part), the club is set at the top, the lower body turns to the target, arms drop the club into the slot, head on the ball impact and then follow through. Beautiful! First down!

No matter what your game plan (or swing thought), you create your thoughts/schemes on the practice areas the same way:

  • Identify your plan.
  • Run drills to perfect it.
  • Get into the game. 
  • Call your play. 
  • Swing away.
  • Success!

Andy Fisher

I understood Andy’s message. It was: First Things First! Sign up for a few lessons with a professional this spring. Then you can start collecting your 2021 swing thoughts!

Play Away!


1 comment

  • Barbara Chapman

    Smile at the ball. The fairway is giving you a big hug.

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