Sound Off!

Have you ever ventured to watch a golf tournament on television with the sound off? Try it, you may be surprised. Without the distraction and neurological stimulation of sound, we invite the opportunity to access and stimulate another part of our brain. I imagine that it would be similar to when people didn’t have television but had radio to listen to broadcasts and ball games. It became more of an active involvement in the presentation rather than the passive involvement that television brings. If you break down the word “tele-vision” you can sense how television “tells” us what to see and “feeds” us information – through sights AND sounds. Television actually dulls our senses.

The old-time radio broadcasts, and watching a golf telecast without sound, both stimulate a part of the brain where imagination exists. What I have found is that I am more kinesthetically involved while watching golfers’ preparations, golf swings and putting. I can often feel the movement in my own body. I feel like I am more of a participant than just an observer. I’m observing with my whole body not just my hearing, vision and mental critique. In effect, I’m more present to the experience.

When I’m not distracted by the verbal commentary or the background hum of the television blimp overhead it frees another part of my brain to observe. I think it awakens the body/mind connection and the kinesthetic senses in my neural/muscular system. Just by observing the pros’ differing swings – seeing some golf swings with rhythm, flow and finishing on balance and seeing others with effort-full swings and awkward finishes – I can often feel if the golf shot is hit purely and right on target, or pulled, pushed, hooked or sliced. I often experiment with the correlation of what I feel by my observation and what the actual result is.

Seeing a fluid, rhythmical golf swing and a solid, balanced finish sometimes stimulates my actually feeling the feel of pure impact in my hands and my body as if I had actually hit a golf ball purely. It’s not something I try to feel, but something that I invite, and allow myself to feel, by not having the distraction of sound. Try it. Mute the TV. Invite your mind AND your body to be involved. Explore, see what you might discover.

That’s the “benefit” of watching the telecast without sound. The downside is that telecasts often become more boring because of awareness of how few golf swings are actually shown on most telecasts. Seeing the beautiful green surroundings of the golf course and the various pros’ preparations between golf shots is nice – TO AN EXTENT. I begin to see how much “fluff” (and commercials) make up most telecasts.

I have found that the first two rounds of a telecast often show a greater number of pros with a greater variety of golf swings to observe rather than seeing only the meticulous, time-consuming pre-shot activity and in-tune golf swings of only those in contention on the weekend. I like to see a variety of golf swings. When I see more variety, I’m more stimulated, and I learn more.

Experiment for yourself. Watch part of a telecast with the sound on and part with the sound off. Allow your body/mind and your kinesthetic senses to get involved. Notice the two different experiences. Varying our experience with conscious awareness, is how we learn something new!

3 thoughts on “Sound Off!

  1. Hey, Jerry! Skip here.
    Another interesting perspective on “kiss” golf.
    I sometimes think we have the same motivations (simplicity) but approach it from different directions. Your direction tends to be more about developing “feel” while mine tends to be more about creating “habit” or the ability to repeat (like using a typewriter or playing a piano). I believe our approaches tend to merge and touch each other in ways I’ve never thought about and have yet to discover.
    For me, it’s about understanding how a straight shot is most likely to occur and then repeating certain fundamentals until the process of hitting any shot becomes so familiar that I don’t have to think much about it. It’s a gloriously relaxing way to play golf, or type on a keyboard (ASDF…), or play a song on my piano (in the key of C using a basic chord set),. My brain subconsciously just takes care of the physical actions of the task at hand while I just conjure up what I need to do and it just happens.
    All good stuff!
    Keep up your pursuit of simplicity and allow us readers/golfers to benefit from your perspectives!


  2. Good stuff, Skip. I like your perspective. I think that the difference between “feel” and “habit” is that a typewriter or piano is a static, nonchanging device we “operate” on, and requires both “habit” and “feel,” maybe habit being more primary. Both playing the piano and making a golf swing require involvement of the subconscious body/mind. The golf course presents unlimited variations in conditions requiring continual adaptation for our golf swing for the variety of golf shots required, therefore, “feel” may be more important than “habit” for the constant adaptation required.


    1. Hey, Skip my friend, Thanks for your insight, perspective and stimulation. As I’m currently working on a future Blog (The Feel of Pure Impact), I’m realizing that “feel” and “habit” (ability to repeat) are not really different. I think Skip describes it well when he states, “I believe our approaches tend to merge and touch each other….” Playing the piano, using a typewriter keyboard and making a consistent golf swing all require a merging of feel and habit. Learning a repeatable, consistent golf swing requires the HABIT of feeling the feel of pure impact and playing the piano requires the HABIT of feeling our fingers, wrists, arms and even feet to perform the movements that produce consistent performance. I think that the merging and commonality of the “different” approaches is the allowance of our subconscious body/mind to perform the mechanics to meet our intentions. So, to produce consistent golf swings and golf shots I encourage the habit of feeling the feel of pure impact in order to repeat the mechanics and fundamentals called for.


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