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Clear out those "swing thoughts" before you swing, instructor Chuck Evans recommends.
Clear out those "swing thoughts" before you swing, instructor Chuck Evans recommends. (Sarah DeVries)

Chuck Evans tip: Do you play golf on manual or automatic?

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor

Noted golf instructor and columnist Chuck Evans offers golf tips and lessons for WorldGolf.com readers on all aspects of the game.

Golfing is like driving: Some golfers play on manual, others on automatic.

So that's the difference?

First, only 1 percent of golfers ever play within their "style." When we hear the broadcasters say, "So-and-so is really in the zone today," all it means is that the player is being within his or her style. Tiger Woods could play in Ernie Els' style, but it would not be to his advantage.

Playing on manual means that you have dozens of swing thoughts going through your head every time you hit a shot. Playing automatic means you don't.

It's OK to have swing thoughts before you address the ball. But during address and swing, these thoughts can kill you!

Golf psychologist Carey Mumford created what he calls "clear keys." Once you have done your "manual" rehearsal, tell yourself you are going on automatic and start repeating your clear key until the ball is gone.

The clear key keeps your mind from being flooded by swing thoughts and allows whatever is your "habit" to take over. If you are working on swing changes, your dominant habit will show up until it is replaced by another habit. Under pressure, the dominant habit will always surface.

This is playing golf on automatic.

A lot of golf "gurus" will tell you to simply "wish" the ball into the hole. I can tell you this: That has never happened, and it never will. You can have a great mental game, but unless you have the mechanics to back it up you can "wish" all you want and nothing will happen.

When you are working on stroke mechanics, integrate the clear key into your practice and play - you'll really notice the difference.

I suggest you check out Carey's Web site. You can complete and online profile to find out what type of golf personality you are, and how to play in your own style.

The four types are Driver, Craftsman, Analyzer and Persuader. Which one are you?

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

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