|See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside
Third Edition Introduction
Welcome to the third edition of See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside. The first edition
was published in 1984. Those 500 copies were followed later that year by an expanded second
edition. Twenty years later, more than 25,000 copies have been purchased, and there are still
several requests a week for this book.
To be honest, I was surprised by the interest the golf community showed in this book based
on notes I had made from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s about learning to play golf.
I did not write See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside as a “how-to-play-golf” book. It
was compiled from a variety of valuable sources in the hope that it would provide readers
with insights and points of view for playing golf with an efficient golf swing. This third edition
is influenced more by research into the nature of learning than the first and second editions
were. Note: Any attempt to share information becomes more efficient when it takes into
consideration the nature of learning or how one actually goes from not knowing to knowing
and how lessons provided become lessons learned.
The information in See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside is a description of what has
happened (and I stress what has happened) during an efficient golf swing that has golfers’
large muscles moving their small muscles—what I refer to as the inside moving the outside.
The ideas and information in this book are not intended to be a blueprint for how to swing.
They are meant to help create insights about what-to-do through feels and images that are
personal in nature. I have found that the personal acts of how-to arrive through the trial and
feedback of swinging, observing the outcome, then making adjustments if needed—based
on past experiences and core golf knowledge.
One example of a what-to-do suggestion is “Swing the club shaft through impact before the
clubface.” Studies into the nature of learning show that a what-to-do concept is more useful
than focusing on how-to directions. This holds true especially if the how-to directions are
coming from a source other than your own personal self-discovery. The general requirementsof a particular event,
or its core knowledge, can come from a source beyond the
performer—for example, shaft before clubface or shoot the basketball up—but
studies show that receiving and focusing on detailed instruction about how to do
something can fragment progress.
Speaking of core knowledge, the elements that make up the short list of golf’s
core knowledge also make up the list of things to do. Golfers should
• Swing the weight of the club.
• Swing the weight of the club with a rhythm and balance that can be
• Swing the club with no emotional attachment to results.
• Swing the club based on a model that the shot you are about to play
• Swing the shaft of the club through impact before the clubface with the
shaft swinging parallel to the angle it occupied at address.
• Swing the weight of the club with the large muscles of the body helping
to swing the small muscles of the body and the club.
In my view, the most efficient approach for learning to apply golf’s core knowledge
is through self-discovery in a learning environment free of detailed directions
and corrections from sources beyond the self-discovering golfer. Sound
studies into the nature of learning support this approach to progress based on
self-assessment and self-development.
There are only a few possibilities concerning the golf swing:
1. Clubs are either swinging through impact on a plane that’s
too high, too low, or just right for the shot being played.
2. The club’s head and face are either behind or in front of the
left wrist through impact.
3. Clubs are either swinging in rhythm or they are not.
In my view, that is all there is.
I have found that it is useful to focus on the positive thought of what to do
with the golf club and not on trying to fix poor outcomes. Studies have shown
that trying to fix something does not lead to learning that lasts—but focusing
on what-to-do does lead to learning that lasts. Again, I would suggest that golf’s
core knowledge provides insight into what to do with a golf club. The design
of a golf club and the requirements of the shot a golfer is about to play dictate
what the golf swing should do with the club.
Your Mind’s Eye
I have always believed that if golfers could see a sound golf swing clearly in their mind’s eye before
they tried to take a swing, this would be useful for improving that golfer’s own game.
Ben Hogan told us, “The average golfer’s problem is not so much the lack of ability, as it is a lack of
knowledge about what he should be doing.” When you can mentally picture what you are trying to
do, or are being asked to do, the task is more than half done. With an understanding of your swing
in your mind’s eye, future lessons can be more helpful. In fact, the improvement can be dramatic!
This is not only true in golf but in any endeavor. I hope the information that this book gives you a
clear understanding of what you would like to do with when making your swing.
Bobby Jones talked in depth about the mind. “The one influence most likely to assure the
satisfactory progression of the swing is clear visualization in the player’s mind of movements. This
can do more for a player than anything else he can possibly do, and I stress this point.”
Jack Nicklaus felt that “Many golfers probably do not understand cause-and-effect factors.”
Alex Morrison, the most respected teacher of his time, wrote, “The excellence of your game will
depend upon the extent to which your mind takes charge, and the way your body responds to its
commands.” Alex’s book, Better Golf Without Practice, was devoted to the use of “the mind’s eye.”
The book was a top seller and considered a masterpiece. While reflexes and anticipation are the
tools needed in other sports, the main tools of playing successful golf are visualization and
conceptions. They are the two most important aids for playing successful golf.
It is the ability to use our reflexes and anticipation skills that makes our performances better in most
sports—for example, to anticipate correctly where an opponent will hit the tennis ball, to anticipate
where the ball is about to be passed in basketball, to anticipate the kind of pitch about to be
delivered, to anticipate the next play the quarterback will call…I could go on…but this does not
always hold true for golf. In golf, our ability to make a sound swing is based on visualization and
conceptions: It is how you “see” the movements you would like to make with your golf club—before
you step up to the ball—that can make the difference in your game, whether it involves a putt, a
greenside chip, or a tee shot.
Good golfers have a clearer visualization of what they want to do with their club before they swing.
They also remember the feel of the swing, good or bad. Our bodies do not move on their own.
Movement comes from one of three reasons: reflexes, anticipation, or the muscles receiving a
mental command message.
It is a mental message sent through the nervous system that is responsible for the actions and
movements that make up the golf swing. The basketball foul shot and the bowling motion work the
same way: As these two athletic movements start, the mind tells the body what to do. In golf, there is
no opponent causing movement. Instead, we create the swing based on the conditions for the
current shot. The opponent’s actions do not cause the movements. The movements are a self-
imposed creation, not a reaction or movement of anticipation.
Keep in mind that the message sent is based on the information stored in our mind. If you have
poor concepts and visualizations, your swing is performing under that handicap. When looking at
the swings many golfers make, it seems fair to assume that those golfers do not have the kind of
worthwhile concepts and visualizations that they should have.
I made some notes while having breakfast with the well-known golf coach Chuck Hogan, the author
of Five Days to Golfing Excellence (a book every serious golfer should own). Chuck was familiar
with my work, and I knew of his success in working on the mental side of the game of tour players,
including Peter Jacobsen, Johnny Miller, Mary Beth Zimmerman, and Barbara Mizrahie. Our
breakfast turned into a wonderful three-hour exchange of ideas. Here are a few of my notes from
that time spent with Chuck:
Golf Is a Creative Process …
Your understanding of the swing is what makes the proper swing. The proper swing does not create
You can create only after gathering information about a situation, reflecting on it, and then reacting
You can respond efficiently only when you remain receptive to information being provided by the
target. If you shift your attention to yourself, you remove your attention from the target.
Example: You should address the putt, look at the target, and then make your swing. Telling
yourself you have not made a putt all day as you stand over your next putt is not the correct
Golf is both mental and physical. The body only does what the brain commands. The eyes do not
see; the ears do not hear; the mouth does not taste; the fingers do not feel; the nose does not
smell. These body parts are merely receptors for brain information. It’s the brain that deciphers all
the information provided by the sensory organs.
Humans are biocomputers of sorts—the brain is the computer processor, the body is the print-out,
and images are the software program. Your body—and subsequently your golf club—will do what
the software (images) commands it to do. Body movements are always efficient. The body will only
do what it has been told to do by the brain. When your swing produces a shot you are not happy
with, please realize your brain produced that swing! The swing did not just happen, your body
efficiently responded to the message your brain sent out.
“It is not the golf swing that is responsible for a poor shot; it is the state of mind that created that
particular golf swing!” (Susan Berdoy Meyers)
In my view, the most important keys in golf are the useful concepts and visualizations of the swing
that are stored in the mind’s eye. After you have useful concepts and visualizations, they must be
put to use from a stance or posture that is useful and does not lose its balance during the swing. A
sound swing is being influenced by the laws of motion; a cha nge in the balance of a golfer’s
posture during a swing would interrupt that influence. A change in balance during the swing may
cause the angle of the spine to move, the center of gravity to change, or the base of support to be
altered (to mention only a few possibilities). Any of these changes will destroy an otherwise sound
swing by altering the plane or path of the club head. A useful setup that is not altered during the
swing should be the goal of every golfer: spine is tilted over to the ball, head or chin is up off the
chest, the knees are flexed, and the buttocks are out.
How Learning with the Mind’s Eye Works
You should think of your brain as a split brain. It is made up of a left hemisphere and a right
hemisphere, each with separate responsibilities when the brain is working correctly. The California
Institute of Technology is a leader in providing facts and information on the endless workings of the
brain, and some of their research follows.
The left hemisphere works with verbal information, while the right hemisphere works with visual
They are two separate forms of information—they are not alike. I suggest that we must learn to see
the sound golf swing without being misled by what we are looking at. You have heard some good
players say that they do not think (left side: verbal) about their swing when playing. Also, some fine
instructors will state that it is possible to think (left side: verbal) too much when playing. I strongly
agree with both statements.
But no one has ever suggested not to picture (right side: visual), feel, or visualize beforehand what
you would like to do when playing golf. What I suggest to my students is to stop playing golf using
words—up, down, fast, in, out (left side: verbal)—and start to rely on concepts, pictures, feels, and
visualizations, which are all right-side (visual) functions. This approach has been very successful
with students at all levels.
Learning to improve your golf game involves more than learning the physical skill. Learning to use
the brain’s right hemisphere will lead to lasting improvements—to see and to feel a sound golf swing.
In the realm of artists and painters, it is said that the great ones can see more than average artists.
They learn how to really see. “The painter draws with his eyes, not with his hands. Whatever he
sees, if he sees it clear, he can put down.” (Maurice Grosser)
“Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see, to see correctly—and that means a good
deal more than merely looking with the eyes.” (Kimon Nicolaides)
Betty Edwards tells us, “Artists say that they feel alert and aware yet are relaxed and free of anxiety,
experiencing a pleasurable, almost mystical, activation of the mind.” I think most golfers would like to
be in this state of mind when playing.
In my approach to helping individuals learn golf, I tell my students that a round of golf is not one
game but 70, 80, or 90 separate times the mind is subconsciously telling the body what to do; 70,
80, or 90 separate performances; 70, 80, or 90 separate pictures to be mentally drawn. The game
of golf is played by creating golf swings, and the better or more clearly you can see that swing
before you try to perform it, the better your chances are for success. Most of the education we have
been exposed to over the years has been geared to words and the left hemisphere—the analytical.
In fact, it has been discovered that the left hemisphere will take over the thinking process in most
circumstances. I hope this book will help you use and learn to trust your right hemisphere more
often than the naturally dominant left hemisphere. Keep in mind that the thinking process happens
in two modes—words and pictures. I suggest you learn to play golf by using mental pictures and not
verbal suggestions that cannot be turned into a visualization.
You should not concentrate, if it is taken to mean such a pulling of oneself together, such a fixing of
the mind on the task at hand, such a tight-lipped determination to do one’s best, that golf becomes
a trial of nervous strength rather than a game. I say that a golfer can only produce his true quality
when he can play without concentrating (in a sense), when he can make his shots without clenching
his teeth.… The good golfer feels his swing as all one piece. It is produced by a psychophysical
unison and its control is outside the mind of the player. Any control that is within the mind is subject
to the state of the mind and is therefore unreliable. … Good golf, consistent golf, depends upon
being able to shut out our mental machinery (with its knowledge of the difficulties of the shot, the
state of the game, etc.) from those parts of us that play golf shots.
For me to be of any help as a teacher, I must know what a student is trying to do when making his
or her swing. When I meet with someone for the first time, this is a must-ask question for me to ask,
because it is the starting point for a coach and student.
We have all heard “What you believe isn’t always what you get.” Contemplate this: A golfer may
describe a swing that in execution becomes a very different swing from the one he just described.
The way they actually swing is not what they perceive their swing to be (i.e., saying one thing and
doing something else). Then, too, after hearing students tell me what they think the swing “should”
be or what they are “trying” to do, I often find they are misinformed about the golf swing, and
therefore they do not have a worthwhile approach. If you were to write about your swing, I believe it
would help you more than you may think! Someone suggested that I write about my own swing very
early in my professional career, and it proved to be most helpful.
So let’s take a break here. Before you go on with this book, write down how you swing, what you
think about before you start, and what you think about during the swing.
Keep it short. Take the approach that you are giving someone instructions.
I further suggest that you refer back to your description as you read this book.