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POLL: Who Has The Best Golf Swing?

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Carl Spackler Caddyshack Golf Swing

Recently, I was working on some new DVDs for Swing Man Golf. During the process I reflected back on my journey, and noticed how my choice of a favorite golf swing has evolved over the years.

I forget exactly when I started playing golf — maybe junior high or early high school. But I do remember in those first few years that my Dad would take me out with him several times per season for 18 holes and I would mostly shoot between 110 and 120.

During my junior year in high school, breaking 100 on 18 holes was my barometer for having a good round, and those scores were actually good enough to play in the fourth or fifth slots on my high school varsity team.

Also during that period, Dad and I would watch a lot of sports together on TV. Depending on the season, it was mostly baseball, basketball, and football, but we would also take in other sports like golf when they came on, especially for a tournament like the Masters.

For some reason the swings that always stood out to me in those early years were Fred Couples and Greg Norman, the “Great White Shark.” I didn’t really know much about golf or technique at the time, but I could still appreciate how carefree Freddie looked with his buttery rhythm and super smooth swing.

As for Norman, I suppose parts of what made him noticeable to me were both his long blonde hair as well as his nickname, but I also really liked how confidently and aggressively he would go after the ball while still managing to stay in balance. With him, it seemed to be no-holds-barred when it came time for a full swing.

When I got in to college, Ernie Els was coming on the scene, and much for the same reasons I liked Couples’ swing I really loved watching “The Big Easy” swing. Again, with my knowledge back then, I didn’t really understand what was going on from a technical standpoint, but I sure enjoyed how pretty and effortless looking he was to watch.

Then after five years of working as a computer engineer, I quit my corporate job in Kansas City and moved out to California to pursue a golf career. Shortly after I arrived, I had the good fortune of having Dan Shauger take me under his wing and introduce me to his friend Mike Austin. At first mention, I didn’t know who Austin was but for some reason his name did sound familiar.

Later on, I remembered that as a young boy I had flipped through an old edition of the Guinness Book of World Records and that I had read about Austin’s 515-yard drive that he had hit in the 1974 U.S. National Senior Open in Las Vegas. Almost unimaginably, he was 64 years old at the time of the drive and he used a steel-shafted persimmon wood driver and balata ball to do it.

In a way it was magical for me to get to meet this mystical legend that I had read about as a kid. Shortly after, Dan introduced me to Austin and showed me some old VHS tape video footage of Mike’s swing, I had found my new favorite swing in Austin.

I’ve always been a naturally curious person, and in the years since my initial meeting with Dan and the now late Austin, I’ve spent a great deal of time studying many other great swings as a swing scientist of sorts, and I tried all kinds of different methods in and out of competition. Little did I know it, but both my background in anatomy, kinesiology, physics, patient case analysis, etc., from pharmacy school and also my work as a computer engineer would come in great handy.

In recent years, as a by-product of my research, the person whose swing I found to be my favorite evolved again. This time it would belong to PGA Tour player Ryan Palmer. In fact, some of the primary things I liked about Ryan’s swing are actually many of the same things that helped me go from 14-handicapper to professional golfer.

To me, it’s a low maintenance type of swing that doesn’t require great flexibility that you could just get up out of bed, head to the first tee, and put balls in play all day long. Overall, if you’re looking for a full swing to mimic, I think his is a great choice for both amateurs and professionals. Perhaps in a subsequent article, I’ll talk in more detail about why I like Ryan’s swing.

Anyway, all of that reflection about my favorite swings over the years and why I liked them got me wondering what swings other people liked the most.

As I couldn’t recall any significant poll ever being done to determine who has the best golf swing according to popular vote, I thought it would make for an interesting and fun article. So I did some initial research by asking my friends on Facebook and checking in with those on the Swing Man Golf mailing list to come up with a good list to vote on.

As expected, I got back a lot of nominations for guys like Fred Couples, a younger Ernie Els, Steve Elkington, Greg Norman, Luke Donald, etc, but I also was surprised at the diversity of other responses that came back in as well.

Of course, some of the golfing greats like Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Sam Snead came up.

Tiger was mentioned too, but different people favored certain swings of his over others (Ex. Pre-Harmon, Harmon, Haney, or Foley)

There were also home grown swings from guys like Bubba Watson, John Daly, Miller Barber, and Tommy Gainey.

From the women, Annika Sorenstam, Mickey Wright, and Na Yeon Choi got nominations.

A number of long drivers got the nod including Jamie Sadlowski, Landon Gentry, Mike Austin, Mike Dobbyn, Mike Dunaway, and Pat Dempsey.

Several teachers were mentioned, like Martin Chuck and Stack & Tilt’s Mike Bennett.

Count Yogi and Moe Norman made the list…and even yours truly got votes.

Carl Spackler, from Caddyshack was also suggested, which I thought was hilarious, but in all seriousness I decided not to include his weed whacking excellent-ness in the final poll below. It did, however, make for a great title picture for this article.

Interestingly, what became really apparent to me from everyone’s feedback is that people have very different definitions of what constitutes the best golf swing. Their favorite swing could be from someone who is smooth and rhythmic, it might look pretty or ugly, it could be powerful, it could have certain swing fundamentals or mechanics, it could be more or less optimal from a mathematical or scientific standpoint, etc.

It doesn’t even necessarily have to belong to a great player because there’s more to achieving a good golf score and winning than just the full swing. You could have a wonderful player with a terrible full swing and at the same time have someone that doesn’t play that much and/or isn’t even on Tour who has a lovely and very desirable golf swing.

All that being said, this article is about doing a poll, so let’s get to it without further ado.

Below are 72 choice for your favorite golf swing, which is absolutely crazy for any normal sort of poll. I thought about hand picking ones that seemed to get the most votes in my initial research to narrow it down to maybe 5 or 10 options, but I didn’t want to limit the selections to those of my own personal bias and/or marginalize someone else’s choice of best swing. And who knows? Maybe the results will also yield some surprises. Plus, we’ll actually be able to determine by popular vote which golfer has the best golf swing and be able to rank them accordingly.

Perhaps there are some other swings that deserve to be on this list, but at the least this is as inclusive of anything that’s ever been done before.

So…what about you? Who do you think has the best swing in golf?

Cast in your vote and feel free to comment below about whom you chose, why you picked him or her, if you think someone else deserves to be on the list, etc.

What golfer's swing is your favorite?

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Jaacob Bowden is a Professional Golfer, PGA of America Class A Member, Top 100 Most Popular Teacher, Swing Speed Trainer, the original founder of Swing Man Golf, the co-creator of "Sterling Irons" single length irons, and has caddied on the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS. Formerly an average-length hitting 14-handicap computer engineer, Jaacob quit his job, took his savings and moved from Kansas to California to pursue a golf career at age 27. He has since won the Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a televised 381-yard drive, won multiple qualifiers for the World Long Drive Championships including a 421-yard grid record drive, made cuts in numerous tournaments around the world with rounds in the 60s and 70s, and finished fifth at the Speed Golf World Championships at Bandon Dunes. Jaacob also holds the championship record for golf score with a 72 in 55 minutes and 42 seconds using only 6 clubs. The Swing Man Golf website has more than 8,000 members and focuses primarily on swing speed training. Typically, Jaacob’s website members and amateur and tour player clients will pick up 12-16 mph of driver swing speed in the first 30 days of basic speed training. You can learn more about Jaacob, Swing Man Golf, and Sterling Irons here: Websites – JaacobBowden.com & SwingManGolf.com & SterlingIrons.com; Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf & @SterlingIrons; Facebook – Facebook.com/JaacobBowdenGolf & Facebook.com/SwingManGolf & <Facebook.com/SterlingIronsGolf; Instagram - Instagram.com/JaacobBowden YouTube – YouTube.com/SwingManGolf – More than 2.8 million video views

104 Comments

104 Comments

  1. Cody flowers

    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Bobby jones is by far the best ever. Anyone knows that the he who uses the least effort has the most efficient swing. No one knows what a good swing look like anymore they are all gone, all the pure swings. There may be a couple here and there but I don’t see how any of the modern players are very good when true lag cannot be created without the lifting of the left heel. People also do not have the proper take away anymore and they do not know how to achieve it. Most of these peoples perception of the game is all twisted and wrong. It’s sad really what has happened to this game. If everyone just watched those old bobby jones instruction tapes everyone would turn out to be a bubba Watson so that would be no good. This is all lost knowledge.

  2. Ron

    Nov 19, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Ben Hogan had the best golf swing.Words can’t make someone the greatest golfer but the actions of Ben Hogan’s swing did make him the best ever.Even Jack Nicklaus said that Ben Hogan was the best.That’s coming from a man that had one of the greatest careers in golf.A very humbling thing to say of someone else in the same field of work.Others have said as much as well.

  3. charles

    Jul 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    TOM Purtzer WAS VOTED AS HAVING THE BEST GOLF SWING BY THE P.G. A. PLAYERS WHEN HE WAS ON TOUR . THEY WOULD KNOW,AND I AGREE.

    CHUCK

  4. charles

    Jul 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    tom Purtzer was picked by the PGA tour players as having the best golf swing on tour at one time. they would know and i agree.

    CHUCK

  5. Jace

    Jul 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I like Gary Woodland. Simple, smooth and enormous power.

  6. Shaun

    Mar 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Mike Austin hands down. If I couldn’t have that swing, give me Tiger in 2000.

  7. Matt

    Sep 7, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Billy Horschell and Adam Scott have the best swings on tour at the moment! How Horschell is not on the poll amazes me.

    See it for yourself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81zd65QgfnY

    Matt

  8. Chris arrand

    Aug 14, 2013 at 6:18 am

    What about faldo. His swing looked great shame about his putting

  9. Johan

    Aug 5, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Henrik Stenson ought to be on the list. When he has a good year his swing and his game is so good and so versitile. Mybe a bit quick but still

  10. Peter Reich

    Aug 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I can’t believe that the mechanical swing of today has out shined the fluid and graceful swing of previous eras. I see Bobby Jones as having the best swing of all time! He has no wasted movements (a large leg kick on the backswing or an exaggerated dip on the down swing) like the swing choices above and he has the power and accuracy without being robotic or aggressive towards the ball. Overall when a lawyer from the 30’s addresses a golf ball with a slightly open stance, a posture that is at ease, and fluid controlling hands and then allows physics and gravity to coil the club back and then drop and release the club through the ball it can be nothing other than extraordinary!!!

  11. Clayton

    Jul 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I really like Martin Kaymer’s swing

  12. Evan

    Jul 24, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Henrik Stenson is a really nice modern swing for a bigger frame/ bigger guy… many swings that are personal favorites or are being modeled need to have similar body types. One thing I always look at when comparing swings is taking body size/ type into account. Best big guy swings (6’2″+): Tom Weiskopf, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Davis Love 3, Nicolas Colsaerts (very similar to DL3)

  13. Sébastien

    Jul 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Great, really great article Jaacob!

    Do you play in Otelfingen?…I had to laugh when I saw the range and thought wow, really?? 🙂

  14. viper

    Jul 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Sergio

  15. aliceryder

    Jul 15, 2013 at 12:52 am

    It doesn’t matter if who really had the best golf swing. What’s important for me is that my faves on the list! Adam Scott being on top and Tiger Woods!

  16. Jim.

    Jul 14, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Totally agree with JJMule…. Robert Rock has a fantastic swing in so many ways not least aesthetically.
    Another vote for Rocky here

  17. Dolph Lundgrenade

    Jul 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Why wasn’t I on this list? I have the best swing of all these jokers

  18. Nicholas

    Jul 13, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Rickie Fowler**** not “Ricky”

  19. Sky

    Jul 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Who the heck voted for Tommy Gainey? lol

  20. Boda

    Jul 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Hubert Green?

  21. Sean

    Jul 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I’m not really interested in who has the best swing, what impresses me is who has the lowest scoring average. It doesn’t matter how the club head gets to the ball, as long as it gets there the way it’s suppose to. 🙂

  22. John

    Jul 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    There’s a lot on that list that aren’t great ball-strikers, and a ton of great ball-strikers that are on the list. Maybe update it?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      How are you defining someone as a great ball-striker or not?

      Of the 60 million or so golfers in the world, every one of these guys could be considered an upper 99th percentile ball-striker.

      But anyway, this piece was more about determining and ranking everyone’s favorite swings regardless of ball-striking skills. 😉

  23. Paul

    Jul 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Sam Snead – Timeless and won more tournaments then any other player in the US. Not as many majors as Jack but proved he could win – over and over again…!

  24. K Biebs

    Jul 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    No love for Geoff Ogilvy?

  25. Ryan williams

    Jul 11, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Carlos Franco’s double eagle such a smooth epic swing.

  26. kiko

    Jul 11, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Frankie Minoza

  27. franc

    Jul 11, 2013 at 6:54 am

    jim mclellan

  28. David Schultz

    Jul 11, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Jim McLellan

  29. Lee

    Jul 11, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Noh Seung Yul. Hands down.

  30. Blaise

    Jul 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    tom watson!!!

  31. Rusty Cage

    Jul 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    No love for Lydia Ko?

  32. dario

    Jul 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Where Is Hunter Mahan ?? He is definetly a top ten in that list !

  33. jjmule

    Jul 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    My personal all-time favorite is George Knudson (Hogan also loved his swing…)

    Recently, I’ve really been impressed with Robert Rock’s action – the best I’ve seen on any tour. Sort of a cult has grown up regarding his swing – check YouTube if you don’t believe me.

    He should be on your list

  34. dg7936

    Jul 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Tom Purtzer has a great swing. Not many wins but a classic move through the ball. Stuart Appleby has a solid simple swing that lets him crush the ball. Lots of different ways to hit it, a lot depends on your body type.

  35. Joel

    Jul 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    How about a Canadian in the Mix, Graham Delaet, he swings the club so good! I believe if people mimic’d his shoulder turn alone, they would find themselves hitting further and with more consistency.

    • steven

      Jul 11, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Good call with Graham. I was following DL3 at The Barclays last year and Graham was in the group, little guy, but has some muscle to him, the kid hit it forever

  36. Jaacob Bowden

    Jul 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Some great diversity in favorites here. Good learning.

    The “Other” category is sitting in 12th…and looks like it would now be filled up with a combination of Hunter Mahan, Tom Watson, Billy Casper, Raphaël Jacquelin, Marina Stuetz, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Bruce Lietzke, Billy Horschel, Robert Rock, Ryo Ishikawa, John Merrick, and Vaughn Taylor.

    So I’m guessing none of these golf swings would individually crack the top 10, but certainly still worth including in the overall poll.

  37. freddy

    Jul 10, 2013 at 9:52 am

    sam sneed. played longer than anyone. and everyone loves syrup!

  38. Steven

    Jul 10, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Billy Horschel or John Merrick

  39. Max

    Jul 10, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Ry? Ishikawa!

  40. Martin Chuck

    Jul 10, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Honored to be on the list. My mom must have voted.

  41. Ryan

    Jul 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Robert Rock???

  42. Tom Miller

    Jul 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    If you didn’t pick Ben Hogan or Byron Nelson, then you are not a student of the game. I picked Ben. They should be tied for first place.

  43. John M

    Jul 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Jeev Milka Singh… JUST KIDDING

    But seriously, justin rose or oostie

  44. Brian

    Jul 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I’m going with Billy Horschel right now. Just about perfect.

  45. Jerry Crowell

    Jul 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    1950’s Mike Austin. Jack Nicklaus 2nd. DJ Watts 3rd.

  46. DJ Watts

    Jul 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Jack Nicklaus. Nearly flawless and didn’t crack under pressure. 18 majors. My choice for best swing.

    • John

      Jul 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Your equating success with ball striking ability. Doesn’t work that way

  47. terry

    Jul 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    So are most people here picking the best swing based on what top instructors think is the ideal swing…? The best swing is one that produces the best results, especially under pressure. The best swings are ones that you don’t have to think about to execute, alla Jim Furyk. According to Trackman, Furyk has delivered the club head into the ball on all the proper angles more consistently than any other player on tour. Before trackman, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Bruce lietzke come to mind. and finally, Moe Nornam deserves a mention. Not only were these swings consistent, they were poetry in motion, not like all the robots you see today. when i think of best swings, i think of poetry and art, not robots.

  48. Aeron Bowden

    Jul 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    My vote is for Charles Barkley!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxLkEPb5DzI

  49. x125

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Retief

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Retief’s another good one from South Africa.

      Oosthuizen, Els, Shwartzel, Immelman, etc…what are they putting in the water down there?

      This list was 72 but it could’ve gotten to 75-80 good choices.

  50. JC

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I’m always mesmerized by Freddie Couples’ swing. At 53 he can still poke it out there 300 yards and he’s just so smooth and fluid. The club head looks like it’s moving through quicksand…and then he makes contact and the ball just ignites. Fantastic.

  51. Omar

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    No Phil?! Such a beautiful swing, and the only lefty swing that doesn’t look awkward to me

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 9, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Phil has a crazy amount of club face rotation down through the hitting area…I think that’s one reason why he’s so streaky.

      But yes, it is a beautiful looking motion and not as awkward as many other swings.

      Weird that no one mentioned him either in my initial polling research. I probably should have put him in anyway.

  52. GCC

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Ol’ Neil Wilkins will be one proud dude when he sees this!

  53. anom

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    LPGA rookie Marina Steutz has an absolutely beautiful swing. Currently it has to be her so I’m going with other

  54. Rob hogan

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    John daly has to get my vote with Bowden just behind!!

  55. Sean

    Jul 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    To me, it’s not who has the best looking swing, it’s what is the best swing. The best swing is the one which will not injure your body over a period of time. A good instructor will not force/make you swing a certain way, just because the instruction book says to do it this way. A good instructor will help you develop a swing based on your body type and physical limitations. It may not look pretty, but it will be effective and not cause you to injure yourself. Yes, Fred has a great looking swing, just don’t ask him how his back is doing. Obviously golf is not a physical contact sport, but just look at all the pro’s who have to take time off to recover from injuries. If it wasn’t for
    golf, a majority of Chiropractor’s would be serving happy meals.

  56. Antonio

    Jul 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

    From Booby Jones, Byron said ” Bob´s golf swing was quite elegant – it was a long swing with great rhythm and it had a wonderfull pace -“

  57. Tommy

    Jul 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

    “Swing YOUR swing”
    Arnie, 2013

  58. Darrren

    Jul 9, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Id say GOD would be envious of Adam Scott, there no question his is the best, 2nd would have been woods.

    • G

      Jul 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

      You couldn’t be more wrong.

      • JC

        Jul 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

        Based on the voting so far G, I’d say you’re pretty clearly in the wrong here!

        • G

          Jul 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

          Ha! This is just opinion, not fact. Technically, Oosty has a better swing. So does Bill Haas.

  59. Cris

    Jul 9, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Really? No Hunter Mahan? You can’t be serious.

  60. Andy

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:14 am

    How in the world is Ben Hogan sitting outside the top 5…? What are you people doing?!?!?!

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Haha, certainly some surprises here, eh?

      As it sits right now, I would never have guessed Adam Scott would be #1. Top 10, yes…but I didn’t expect #1.

      It’s also interesting to see how the different versions of Tiger’s swing are rating.

      Fun poll. 🙂

  61. Gregor Reeves

    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:04 am

    When Ryan was in high school his parents were members at Tascosa CC in Amarillo. It is fun watching a nice kid grow up and become a great man. He hasn’t had many tweeks to his swing since high school.

  62. DJ King

    Jul 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Ben Hogan has the best swing of all time, he makes it seem so fluid and simple

  63. tyler brooke

    Jul 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Modern player I’d probably go with Adam Scott. Vintage would be Hogan

  64. Emilio

    Jul 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I like Byron Nelson. Basically he design and redesign his swing to make it one of the most reliable under tournament pressure. Just 11 wins in a row, one of the biggest streak in history of any sport, made him enough money to retire early in his life. Even the golf club designer named their testing robot Iron Byron!!!

  65. Scott

    Jul 8, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Where’s Hunter Mahan.

  66. Jim

    Jul 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I didn’t see Tom Watson? Great swing with longevity, yes?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

      That’s true, Jim. I think Tom Watson should be on here as well.

      Similarly, to what I said above about Hunter Mahan, I’m surprised he didn’t show up in my initial polling.

      Thus far from the comments, between him and Hunter Mahan, it looks like those are the only two that were missed as significant voting options. Not bad!

      So far, with the “Other” category currently in 13th place, I would think those votes would mostly be taken up by Watson and Mahan.

      Although, perhaps Billy Casper would have been a good addition too.

      Anyway, I’m pleased at the comprehensiveness of the list. It’s a great list to choose from and I think it was covered well.

      We got almost everyone!

  67. Chris

    Jul 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I didn’t look carefully. Elk is clearly on the list. My apologies!

  68. Derek

    Jul 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Adam Scott. I think even God himself wants his swing

    • G

      Jul 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

      I totally disagree. It’s such a forced, showy swing. Bill Haas, all the way – totally natural and fluid.

  69. Chris

    Jul 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Steve Elkington should be on the choice list. Flawless swing.

    • tyler brooke

      Jul 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      Agreed, was looking for him on the list.

    • Dolph Lundgrenade

      Jul 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      agreed

    • Peter Reich

      Aug 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      He is on the list. I’m amazed so many people can’t find him, lol.

  70. Adam

    Jul 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Gotta have Hunter Mahan on here, it’s the swing that Foley says is the model for TW and JR to strive for.

    • dingleberry

      Jul 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      He has to much face rotation in his swing.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 9, 2013 at 10:21 am

      He’s not my favorite swing.

      However, I agree with you, he would’ve been good to have on the list. I’m surprised in my initial polling that his name didn’t come up.

      The “Other” option in the poll is currently ranked 13th, so it’s feasible he could finish that high in the voting.

    • Joel

      Jul 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Couldn’t Agree with you more Adam!

    • c

      Jul 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      Chad Campbell over Pat Bates all day, I bet he’d be in the top 30 if you made him a selection

    • John

      Jul 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Completely agree, one of the top ball strikers consistently. If you look, boo, hunter, and dufner have similar “foley,s&t,hogan,turn in a barrel” type swings, though with there own style and subtle differences.

    • Dolph Lundgrenade

      Jul 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Seriously… the modern swing model is not even on the list? pssh.

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Sweetens has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and if you are at all interested in course architecture I’m sure it has been on your radar for a while too – great piece on it here from WRX Featured Writer Peter Schmitt (You’ve Never played Anything like Sweetens Cove).

Sweetens Cove

When I first heard of this event, I knew it was something I HAD to do. I’ve been playing persimmon clubs (not to be confused will full hickory) for a couple of years now and in case I haven’t made it clear in the past—I love blade irons. To be able to play with a bunch of other “golf sickos” made this something I really wanted to do, and to let you in on a little secret I’ve been hiding for a while, before this I had never done a real “golf trip” before.

Problem: Being in the Great White North puts me a long ways away from South Pittsburg, TN and a golf trip like this with air travel and a rental car was out of the question. So what’s the next best thing? load the car up with a bunch of old wooden clubs, some blades, three golf bags, lots of balls, gloves, enough clothes for a few days, a cooler, and a passport: BOOM my first golf trip.

I-75 was my route for an entire day. 14 hours total with stops: It was an easy drive to Chattanooga, where I filled up on BBQ and stayed the night. From there, it was a simple 40-minute drive over in the morning and with Sweetens Cove in Central Time (just across the line, I should add), I even got a much appreciated extra hour of sleep. The golf course was ours for the whole day and beyond the for fun scheduled matches it was a playground. Groups of 12 people playing the same hole, three-club mini loops, trying out impossible putts on the rolling greens—we did it all.

A few years ago, if you had told me I would drive 28 hours round trip to endlessly loop a 9-hole golf course with persimmon clubs and a bunch of “strangers,” I would have probably called you a total idiot. Now, I can’t imagine not doing it again.

Speaking of long golf trips, how does a 2,700-plus mile round trip to play Cabot Links and Cliffs Sound?

It started with an already planned two-week road trip, Toronto, Boston (to see Fenway), Portland, Halifax then finally to Inverness, Nova Scotia home of Cabot Links—and at the time, only open for “lottery bookers” and resort guests Cabot Cliffs. We had times booked for the links course but Cliffs was another story. Since I’m not one to take no for an answer, and although staying at the resort was well beyond our road-tripping budget, I had a little tip that if you call very early the day you are hoping to play they could potentially find spots for players when resorts guests cancel. Cliffs was still under preview play and tee times were 20 minutes apart so the chances we’re slim but a 5 a.m. alarm and some not-so-subtle begging and bartering got my wife and I an afternoon tee time on the best new course in the world!

It was an amazing experience made even better by the beautiful weather and fun we had that day. I have, still to this day, never had an experience like that on a golf course.

The Must-Have Wedges

I’m an obsessive club collector and builder. There I said it. Not only do I love clubs, but I love the idea of making things, or taking things that are considered less desirable and making them better than ever before.

This all stems from a piece I wrote this spring about a HUGE used club sale about an hour from where I live, Check it out here: Hunting Used Clubs at Fore Golfers Only

Although I did get some fantastic deals at “The Sale,” as the locals call it, there were a few wedges I could not get out of my head after visiting the accompanying retail store after the sale. As I was driving home, in a bit of a snow storm, I couldn’t help but think about the potential of the raw Nike Engage wedges I left behind. I wanted them for a number of reason including the fact that I hadn’t had the chance to work and grind on raw wedges in a while and these were the last Mike Taylor-designed Nike wedges before Nike decided to shut the doors and Artisan Golf was born.

By the time I realized I had to have them, it was already too late to drive back and they were closed, so first thing the next day, I called and asked if they 1) Still had the two exact wedges I remembered seeing  2) if they would hold them for me until the Monday morning after the sale—the only chance I would have to get back there in the next month. Why did I need them when snow was still on the ground? Because I’m a nut!

Monday rolled around, I got out of bed bright and early during another not-so-fun snowfall to shovel the driveway, gas up the car, and drive three hours round trip to pick up two rusty used, Nike Engage wedges for the grand total of $120. But when I finally got the chance to work my magic, it’s hard not to say the effort was worth it.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: You and your wedges (survey results part 2)

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As I promised last week when I presented the first layer overview of the GolfWRX/Wedge Guy survey, today I’m going to dive into the section of the survey where you shared your thoughts and feelings about wedges and your wedge play. I’ve made a study of golfers and their wedges for nearly 30 years now, and have always found it fascinating. It also has helped me immensely in breaking from traditional wedge design to address what golfers have told me about where they need help most.

I’m proud that this insight gained from golfers over those years led me to develop “the Koehler sole,” which I patented back in 1990, and have brought to market as both the “Dual Bounce Sole®” and the “V-SOLE®”. That insight also guided me to begin to introduce higher and higher CG in wedges since the mid-90s (which almost all wedge companies have finally begun to do to one degree or another), and to create the first progressively weighted wedges with the SCOR™ line in 2011.

But this is about you and your wedges, so let’s dive right into what you all shared in the surveys.

First of all, you GolfWRX readers are way ahead of rank-and-file recreational golfers in the respect you show for your wedges, with 70 percent or more of you carrying at least four wedges, counting the set match “pitching wedge” that came with your set of irons. I’ve long been an advocate of having more wedges in your bag to give you more options in prime scoring range. As manufacturers have continually strengthened the lofts of the set-match pitching wedge, down to as low as 43-44 degrees in some models, it just makes sense.

Partly as a result of this attention, you GolfWRXers rated your wedge play much higher than golfers at large, based on my prior research. What I found interesting is that fewer of you rated your wedges play outside 75-90 yards as a strength of your game (26 percent) than you did on your wedge play inside 75-90 yards (30 percent). Almost 30 percent of you said your wedge play outside of 75-90 yards was “not as good as it should be,” but just 21 percent said the same about your wedge play outside 75-90 yards. It is generally accepted that full swings are harder to master than the partial swings those short-range shots require.

I have an intern student at University of Houston-Victoria diving into these surveys to cross-tabulate all the answers to reveal more interesting insight for all of us to share, but that is going to take a few weeks, I’m sure, as there is a lot of data here. But what my takeaway from this question is that the vast majority of revealed you have lots of opportunity to improve this segment of your game, as 70-75 percent of you rated your wedge play in both categories as average or below-average. One way to do that is to re-allocate your practice time to hit more wedge shots of different distances, really focusing on distance control. Which brings me to the next couple of questions.

Two questions are very closely linked, as proven by the answers you shared. Nearly an identical number of you responded that your full-swing trajectories were “about right,” and your distance control was “pretty good.” But the majority of you said your trajectories trended too high and your misses come up short almost all the time. You are not alone—my experience with wedge design and golfer feedback is that this majority of you GolfWRX readers is actually much better than the majority of all golfers.

The harsh reality is that this is not all your fault. While mastering wedge play is probably the hardest part of the game, the design of wedges aggravates these two problems. Robotic testing of wedges indicates that essentially all models on the market are very unforgiving of impact moving around the face. We all know that low-face impact, nearly bladed wedge shot is going to fly low and have lots of spin (i.e. “thin to win”). And that likewise, that shot you catch high in the face is going to fly high, come up short and have much less spin.

Tour professionals spend countless hours working to perfect their wedge impact point to be low on the face, a goal helped by the very tight-cut fairways they play. But for the rest of us playing higher-cut fairways, the ball is sitting up more and we are much more likely to catch the ball higher in the face, which—by design—causes the ball to fly higher and have less spin. Conventional wedges have as much as a 20 percent lower smash factor when impacted just half an inch above the “sweet spot.”

The fact is that consistent wedge distance control requires a consistent impact point, lower on the face. One way to try to improve in that regard is to focus your eyes on the forward edge of the ball when you are hitting any wedge shot, but particularly on full swing wedges. From a technique standpoint, your left (or lead) side must be more influential on these shots. In other words, try to make impact with your hands ahead of the clubhead. I’ll dive into that whole subject in a dedicated article soon.

I believe that this challenge of wedge play is aggravated by when and where the majority of you purchase your wedges—let me explain that reasoning.

The vast majority of you are playing relatively new wedges, with 36 percent having purchased them in the last year, and another 43 percent playing wedges that are 1-3 years old. That’s the good news—your wedges are relatively fresh. But now for the bad news.

Almost 45 percent of you said you purchased your wedges at a large off-course retailer, which means you most likely purchased wedges with a heavy, stiff steel shaft—but how does that compare to the shafts in your irons? Is it a match or even close? If not, I’ve learned that the wrong shaft is a huge factor in wedge play, as it creates a feel disconnect in prime scoring range. My experience is that, for most golfers, a thoughtful re-shafting of your wedges to produce the same weight and flex as in your irons will make a huge difference in your wedge-range performance.

This is getting a bit long so let me share another interesting takeaway from this survey, then leave you with another question to sound off about.

Less than 18 percent of you said your last purchase was of a different brand with the goal of improving your performance. I find that puzzling, as I’ll bet nearly 100 percent of you chose your last driver, putter or irons specifically with that goal in mind.

I can only take that to mean that you have relatively low expectations of improvement when you buy wedges—can you all share some thought with me to help me understand why that is?

Thanks, and I look forward to some lively dialog this week. I don’t chime in often to your comments, but I will this week if you want to have a discussion. Should be fun!

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