Here’s A Thought – Concepts Are For Practicing

I get a lot of questions along the lines of “what are you thinking of/feeling during the swing?”

The answer is, “Mostly nothing,” and that’s because you shouldn’t be trying to swing according to micromanaging (good word from Laser in a comment) the swing motion when you’re hitting balls, let alone playing on the course.

If you’re going to work on concepts, and this is important for everyone who has an MCS swing video or who is going to watch their first MCS video with the upcoming “E = MCS” video – the concepts are for helping you build your address and for practicing the swing.

When you’re hitting balls or playing, you shouldn’t be trying to “concept swing,” as I’d call it.

By the time you rack over a ball, you should have practiced these concepts without hitting balls, and then have no more than a swing thought or two in mind.


So, when I introduce the concept of pressure transfer in the feet, you want to be practicing this without actually hitting balls – swing a club or a swing stick and focus on the pressure areas and the transferring.

Then, hit balls trying to not to think of too much.

Likewise, if you’re going to work on the “One Major Move” concept – there will be the Wall Pivot Drill to help you along, but when you’re hitting balls, I would advise against using multiple concepts.

There is one exception to all of this – the Impact/Address measuring concept that I’ll be introducing, which is the original “Drop The Hammer” concept with a twist, is one you can use to practice setting up to the ball, when you’re actually hitting balls, and even on the course.

Concepts are tools to help one understand and perform the separate motions in a full swing, but focusing overmuch on one concept or another while trying to play golf is likely to make you end up looking like this on the golf course:

Look Familiar?

Right idea, but way out of proper position… try this:

pivot-model


The place for what Tiger Woods was doing here – back on the range, and not on the golf course.

This isn’t isolated to TW either – most pros I watch on TV are robots, swinging according to position and concept, and when things go wrong, they go from shooting 63 one day to 78 the next day – and really, if you’re a professional, you shouldn’t be so out of sorts that you can’t find the ball with the center of the face.

Amateurs, sure.  That’s why they’re amateurs.

But if you want to be proficient in your swing, you have to know what you’re doing, and if you’re relying on concepts or positions while playing – then you’re once again putting yourself at the mercy of your fine motor skills and the coordination you brought to the course that day.

And here’s the reason I’ve spent all of these years working on golf swing modeling – the closer your swing gets to being mechanically-correct (and even better, towards optimal action), the less it’s liable to break down, if at all.

The further away you get from it, the more inconsistency you will experience day to day swinging and playing.

There is absolutely no way you’re going to fix whatever is wrong with your swing, while trying to play for score – unless what’s wrong is in the stance and setup, in which case, the Address/Impact concept can go a long way to getting you back to where you’re supposed to be.

If you’re not swinging properly because of something else, and you’re set up properly – there is not much you can do except try to get that ball in the hole the best way you can.

Playing “concept swing” means you’re already out to sea.

So, work on the concept to develop that swing, don’t try to use the concepts to actually swing and play.


This extended weekend, Americans and Canadians will be celebrating our national birthdays – today, the 1st for Canada, and of course, the 4th for my friends to the South.

Happy and safe weekend, all!

canada-us flags.jpg

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6 thoughts on “Here’s A Thought – Concepts Are For Practicing

  1. peterallenby2013

    HAPPY CANADA DAY! To all our friends north of the border, I wish you all a lovely holiday – We salute this wonderful land and most generous, kind, and just people! Have a great day!!!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thank you, Peter! I’ll be returning the sentiment your way on Tuesday.

      It should be a great day, although the weather will be putting a damper on things.

      More rain and thunderstorm risk of course – I wasn’t planning on trying to shoot video today (on weekend and holiday, no way, it would be a madhouse at the range), just go to the range and hit some balls, but looking out the window…looks like a no-go.

      Perhaps tomorrow. At least it’s forecast to clear in time for the fireworks. We would have taken the kids to the beach at the local park, but overcast, and the high water levels in Lake Ontario have swallowed up the beach, so… bleh…

      On a positive note, I’ll be making fall-off-the-bone jerk ribs today, for some rib sandwiches, coleslaw and macaroni salad.

      Then if it has cleared up, perhaps some star-watching with the kids on my daughter’s telescope after the fireworks at the lake, which we can watch from the comfort of our apartment complex common area… either way, a nice holiday spent at home with the family and some Tuborg Gold to bring it all home 🙂

  2. Brandon

    HAPPY CANADA DAY GENTLEMEN!!!! Funny thing is I am in British Columbia on my honeymoon & I was at the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island for the celebration. Can’t wait to come back next year. Cheers fellas!!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Honeymoon, B-Dog?!?!? Congrats on the nuptials, my man!

      I have cousins from both sides of my family in the Vancouver area. Small world!

      We’re gratified that you chose us as your honeymoon destination – just make sure the next time you come up, it’s the Toronto area EH??

      1. Brandon

        You got it sir. We both realize that there is alot up north we want to see & Toronto is definitely on my list

        1. D Watts Post author

          You’ll remember Daddyo who came up in ’13 for a few days and spent some time with me while on vacation – he’s from Stillwater, and absolutely loved the Toronto area. See ya some time when you get up here, B – if I don’t see you in OK first! 😉

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