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Does the Swing Create the Shot, or the Shot Create the Swing?

This is a thought-provoking quote I read the other day in the book The Lost Art of Playing Golf by Gary Nichol and Karl Morris.

I'll probably be sharing more thoughts as I complete the book because it is a game changer! At the time of writing this, I am only a quarter of the way through it, and I think I've worn out two highlighters.

*** Update, I have finished the book and I officially went through 3 highlighters and a blue pen.

Go get the book.




For today, the question at hand... Does the swing create the shot, or does the shot create the swing?

Before moving on and being biased by my thoughts, think about it.

Does the swing create the shot?

Under this thought process, the golfer is actively thinking about how they're going to swing the club.

Maybe they're thinking "I need to get my hips through the ball" or "I need to feel my shoulder turn away."

Both of these attentional foci are placing emphasis on the swing we are about to make.

Our hope is that this swing will then create the "ideal" shot.

I suppose this seems logical, right?

I mean, swing coaches are always trying to place our swing into "proper" positioning.

Announcers are always talking about how X players swing caused the shot they just hit, good or bad.

Under this thought process, the swing creates the shot.

Does the shot create the swing?

My next question...

How do you determine what the "ideal" shot is that you're after?

Even if you are focused on the swing, you are always seeking some sort of "ideal shot."

Whether it's dropping a putt, hitting a nuke down the fairway, or hitting a recovery shot from the trees.

How do you define what "ideal" is?

Well... it depends.

On the hole layout.

On the lie.

On the club loft.

On your emotions.

On your attitude.

On your goal.

On ALL of the context present.

Basically, what I am saying is that all of these contextual factors affect the shot you are trying to play, which will then affect the swing you are going to make.

A putt from 45 feet will look different than a 10 footer. Shot determines the swing.

A 50 yard pitch shot will look different if there is water in front or behind the green. Shot determines the swing.

An approach with the ball 5 inches above your feet will look different than one 5 inches below your feet. Shot determines the swing.

The swing you take will be created by your athletic, skillful body given the shot you are envisioning for yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously.

For example, let's go on the extreme side of this argument and say you are in the trees, and need to hit a punch out.

The shot (punch out) determines the swing (ball in line with the back foot, big shaft angle at impact, etc.).

Let's go less extreme and say you are in the middle of the fairway, 152 in.

But, the ball is 5 inches above your feet.

There is water right.

And a bunker long.

And you are coming off a birdie so you're feeling confident.

These conscious and subconscious thoughts will contribute to the swing you are about to take.

Your swing will change as a result of all of these factors.

Within this thought process... the shot creates the swing.

Chicken or the egg?

It's kind of a chicken or the egg situation.

What it comes down to is what thought process helps you play better golf?

For most, giving less attention to the swing you are making, and more to the shot you are about to execute will be best!

This is called having an external focus of attention, which has been proven often to be more effective than an internal focus of attention (1, 2, 3, 4).

What do you think?

Does the swing create the shot?

Does the shot create the swing?

Let me know what you think in the comments!!

Let's go low.

Carter Schmitz, CSCS, TPI






2 comentários

Andy Osowski
07 de fev. de 2022

The swing comes first to build consistency that you can reproduce when you need to create a shot. For example, my full 7 iron goes 150 yards, I also know at 75% goes 125 and 50% goes 100 when I have to go underneath trees. Same swing just different length of swing. And then adjust grip to draw or fade and you have a number of shots that you can hit with 1 club and same swing

Carter Schmitz
Carter Schmitz
08 de fev. de 2022
Respondendo a

Interesting... I appreciate your comment and thought!

Not one singular thought process/attentional focus is going to be optimal for all golfers.

Some will thrive with a swing first mindset, some will thrive with a shot first mindset.

I tend to be shot first... sounds like you are swing first. Neither wrong or right, just different! Thanks again!

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