When I talk with people about the automatic principle and tell them that the golf swing can be engaged at the habit level the same way one rides a bike or drives a car....i.e. "once you learn it you never forget it"; They object by saying the golf swing is too complex, you constantly need to practice it, why do you think the pros spend so much time practicing, it is way more complex than riding a bike, etc. Then they proceed to point out that if that were true you'd never hit a bad shot, if you really can play on automatic.
My standard answer to this has always been "we're not robots, we're human". But in the back of my mind, there was always this "that's not good enough" thought lurking. Then something happened the other day - I bit my lip. Son of Bitch that hurt! And how the hell does that happen anyway, why do we bite our lip? I mean how is that possible? I've been chewing solid food since I was three!
It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a glitch. The habit of chewing food without biting my lip is one that I pull off daily, usually without any blood. But occasionally I bite my lip, or tongue or cheek. Chewing - A habit that is very deeply ingrained and part of my daily activity, something I do all the time without thinking about, somehow malfunctioned. Unexpectedly, without warning. Why? I don't know. I was just sitting at my computer, waiting on my next call, chewing gum and then ouch!
I thought to myself, if a habit that resides at a very deep level and base of my daily life is able to malfunction from time to time, then I shouldn't be surprised if my golf swing, which I have worked very hard to get it to the point where I don't have to think about it, occasionally misfires. Though I employ great techniques to turn off conscious control of my swing and allow it to function and play out from sub conscious execution, there still will be glitches...then it's time to go look for the ball on the left side of the fairway! ( my usual glitch)
And try again.
The good news is I play without swing thoughts now, or a worry or concern about my swing. I simply trust that all my work has paid off, and my best swing is simply waiting there deep within me in that safest of places, far out of reach from my conscious mind, waiting there as habit to be called upon at the appropriate time. This frees me to enjoy all the other aspects of the game that make it such a wonderful pastime.