When we do let go and allow our body to swing without conscious thought we draw up the competence stored in our unconscious. The complex muscle and mind activities that become “mastered” require zero conscious thought. You experience this kind of mastery when you ride a bike or drive a car. Have you ever driven home and when you arrived you didn’t remember part of the drive? Your conscious mind was thinking of something else while your subconscious drove.
To get good at golf you have to practice. The practice is recorded in muscle memory allowing you to develop an unconscious competence. The whole idea of practice is to record into your memory a good swing. That’s the reason golf lessons and the coaching and feedback that accompany them are so important. What some golfers don’t realize is that another way to practice is to visualize. You can improve your swing by practicing it in your mind. If you imagine a great swing your subconscious can actually record that pictured experience and then apply it to your physical swing.
Once you have developed a good swing through coaching, feedback, practice, and visualization – you need the confidence that your subconscious can call up your “A” swing consistently while on the course.
When golf courses are designed the tees are positioned with psychological elements in mind. These psychological challenges can distract you and cause uncertainty. This uncertainty can prevent you from letting go enough for your best swing to be released through your “auto pilot.” This is the reason golfers can hit well on the driving range but often struggle on the first tee.
According to neuroscientists, we are aware of about five percent of our cognitive activity. Thus ninety-five percent of our brain actually goes beyond our consciousness. We utilize a bit of that 95% when we use a thing called the adaptive unconscious. The adaptive unconscious allows us to do things with high levels of complexity without having to think through every step. An example might be, turning a car through a corner without having to go through the calculations to determine the precise angle of the turn, steering radius speed, and velocity of the automobile. Once our adaptive unconscious learns the golf swing it can reproduce it with extreme accuracy, as long as we don’t interfere with it consciously.