Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 691 - December 22, 2021
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


"It is not the will to win that matters, everyone has that.
It is the will to prepare to win that matters." - Paul "Bear" Bryant

Tom's Featured Tip: Visualization, Repetitions, Automacity

Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
Sponsors & Affiliates:
The Divot Board
The Impact Snap
The Rypstick
Club Champion
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Buying a sponsored product through any of my affiliate links helps support this free newsletter, and I only affiliate with excellent products that I use myself.  Thanks, Tom

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Visualization, Repetitions, Automacity

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

Two Great Training Aids For Indoor or Outdoor Practice

The Divot Board

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Visualization, Repetitions, Automacity


To me, visualization in golf means looking at a target and imagining the flight of the ball towards the target in vivid detail - trajectory, curvature, landing, and the ball either rolling out or drawing back when it hits the green. For a putt it would be seeing the line of the putt and seeing the ball roll out and drop into the hole.

In my daily study of the game we all love, I often see visualization touted as the "cure all" for golf swings, and that it should be used to essentially erase all mechanical thoughts from your golf swing process.

I've heard "experts" at golf say "don't think about your swing" and "stay in the moment" as generic advice for all golfers.

That sounds good, but there are a host of other factors to consider before such advice should be given, and it should never be considered to be absolute generic advice for every golfer.

Among many other factors to be considered are:
  1. Which kind of thought process works better for an individual - verbalization (words) or visualization (imagery),

  2. And a persons working mental capacity.
Let's assume that a player has the personality and the type of mental capacity to allow good imagery. Even if that were the case, visualization and just "letting the swing happen" doesn't work unless the player has had sufficient practice repetitions to develop good technique.

Scientific research has shown that "while optimal performance may seem to occur when our level of swing thought is reduced, the opposite does not hold true."

In other words, merely reducing swing thoughts will not in itself lead to peak performance.

This is in stark contrast to previous academic research and the prevalent teachings of golf psychologists over the last two decades.

Automacity and Repetitions

Automacity in golf means that you can execute a swing without consciously thinking about the components (body movements) that are required to execute the swing correctly. The swing is basically automatic.

When a golfer has attained a level of automacity with their preferred swing technique, visualization has a chance of producing optimal performance.

That's what I mean when I say "own your swing" - practice enough so that your body knows your swing automatically. This level comes before mastery, which most of us will never attain for various reasons - time for dedicated practice and inherent talent being two of them.

So the big question is how much practice does it take to "own your swing"?

I wrote an article on how anyone can learn a skill in 20 hours,
Issue 682 20 Hours , and I've seen research that it can take up to 10,000 hours of practice to attain mastery.

I believe both assertions as they can apply to golf, and it's my personal belief that a person can practice enough to attain automacity in a less time than it takes to achieve mastery at a skill. Note that you can be very good without attaining mastery.

I saw this interesting quote, unrelated to golf, that I think can be applied directly to golf practice and studying golf:

Author Toni Morrison on how to get better at writing - or anything, really:
"I thought of myself as like the jazz musician: someone who practices and practices and practices in order to be able to invent and to make his art look effortless and graceful. I was always conscious of the constructed aspect of the writing process, and that art appears natural and elegant only as a result of constant practice and awareness of its formal structures."

What you can take away from this.
  1. Visualization, then removing your thoughts as you swing only works if your body has been well trained in technique.

    • There is one exception: Putting. Because it's such a small swing, and because putting technique is so individualized, visualization and/or verbalization may work to produce better results for you now. For example, a combination of visualization - seeing the line of the putt and imagining the ball dropping into the hole, and verbalization - the mantra "straight back - straight through" has helped me improve my putting.

      Experiment and see if it works for you.

  2. If you don't "own your swing" yet, do not be afraid of having a couple or perhaps even a few swing keys in mind when you execute your swing.

  3. If you do "own your swing", experiment a with visualization then verbalization - or both combined - to see what produces the best result.

  4. Last but not least - keep practicing!

Try it, you'll like it.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:


Sponsors and Affiliates

Buying a sponsored product through any of my affiliate links helps support this free newsletter, and I only affiliate with excellent products that I use myself.  Thanks, Tom

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Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY.
Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.
Tee times online or by phone in season.
FISH FRYS AT BCC and other delicious dinner specials with soup and salad bar - Fridays, 4pm - 9pm

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan