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Twitter showdown: Billy Horschel takes on Brandel Chamblee over swing theory

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Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, who seems to abhor any “modern” swing theory, lowballs TrackMan and other swing-radar technologies, and seems to openly refute modern ball flight laws, offered one of his traditional “everything-you-need-to-know-about-golf-you-could-have-learned-50-years-ago” takes.

Billy Horschel, who doesn’t seem to be any great fan of Mr. Chamblee, and is one of the few refreshingly unguarded Tour pros on Twitter, offered his own perspective.

Earlier this week, Horschel (a friend of Woods) took exception to Chamblee’s claim that Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods lack real passion for the Ryder Cup, and thus ought not be considered as future assistant captains.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 4.58.59 PM

So that sort of establishes the baseline of antagonism between the two.

First, here’s Chamblee’s tweet (with support from Peter Kostis).

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.01.07 PM

Chamblee then bashed (what he perceives to be) the current thinking.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.00.01 PM

Horschel responded to Chamblee referencing a biomechanical/data-based perspective grounded in the Titleist Performance Institute’s work.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.02.06 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.03.05 PMChamblee responds, and Horschel offers his perspective.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.05.03 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.05.24 PMTo take things further, Horschel responds to a few similarly minded individuals, further sticking it to the Golf Channel analyst.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.05.41 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-17 at 5.05.52 PM

So, WRXers, check your cards. Who won this showdown? Do you agree with Horschel’s TPI-based thinking or Chamblee’s legal pad scribblings?

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50 Comments

  1. Frank arko

    Dec 25, 2016 at 3:47 am

    Chamblee’s advice helps stop over the ball for coming over with your shoulders bigger hip turn alone is bigger shoulder turn helps keep shoulders back on downswing I find his advice helpful I also been listening to keep the heel down for 30 years 30 years

  2. Annette

    Aug 7, 2016 at 8:01 am

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    I say to you, I definitely get irked at the same time as people consider concerns that
    they juset don’t recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects ,
    other people could take a signal. Will probably be back
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  3. Mike

    Feb 14, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Mr. Chamblee does lack tact and substance in many of his comments regarding players but on this old school golf tip he is spot on. This is extremely beneficial for people who have a limited backswing due to injury, physique or who have lost the suppleness of youth. If you have the flexibility to turn back and come from the inside like most PGA players can than you will not need to do it. They also workout much more and have people helping them keep their flexibility and mend their wounds. Whether, lifting the heel guards them against injury is something time will tell. I think his mistake is to assume it will help everyone but lets not crucify the guy for trying to help the masses.

  4. Frank McChrystal

    Nov 5, 2015 at 6:44 am

    It’s a generational thing. Yes, at some point in history the new equipment ALLOWED the elite player to get the distance required while keeping the lower body somewhat quiet with the perceived benefit of becoming more accurate. What has followed is thirty years of non body friendly instruction that can take partial responsibility for mortally wounding the game of golf. U.S. Open set ups prove also how the perceived benefit of producing more accuracy with a quiet lower body was a pipe dream. The older generation was in touch with their instincts. They got up the next day and did it again because they weren’t beating up their bodies everyday. What Brandel is saying is pure heresy in todays’ world and heaven forbid it is true because that would hurt too many too much. So the beat goes on. The modern player spends hours in the gym “getting ready to play golf” because he beats up his body everyday and he will never attain real accuracy because the instinctive body will never cooperate with a swing that is trying to do it harm. The Emperor Has No Clothes comes to mind.

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  8. RJ

    Oct 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Like boxing here is the Tale of the Tape!!!!!
    Chamblee – PGA Tour Wins 1
    Horschel – PGA Tour Wins 3 Horschel Winner!!!
    Major Record – Chamblee Entered – 14 Cuts made – 6 – missed 8
    best finish T-18 1999
    Major Record – Horschel – Entered – 12 Cuts made – 7 – missed 5
    best finish T-4 2013 Horschel Winner!!!!
    Chamblee – Starts 369 Horschel – Starts 130
    Cuts Made – 191 Cuts – 94 – Horschel Winner
    Cuts Missed – 178 Cuts Missed – 36 – Horschel Winner
    Percent of Cuts Made – 52% Percent of Cuts Made – 71% – Horschel
    Career Scoring Avg. 71.51 Scoring Avg. 70.80 – Horschel Winner
    Career Money – 4 Mil. Career Money – 11 Mil. Horschel Wins!
    Before I get raked over the coals….. The point of this is about showing passion in relation to winning per Mr. Chamblee.
    So by his own metrics because of his inferior career to Billy Horschel’s he had more passion when trunk slamming. Or more passion when he had more middle of the road to lower in the pack finishes.
    Like the older grandparent that is against a “hello” text message Mr. Chamblee likes to live in the past. I can not deny his education, his research or his conviction in which he speaks. But loose the corded rotary phone attitude and let technology into your mind. BTW, I find it funny that he is now promoting a golf swing ideology. Tathata Golf training – HMMMMM Chin Rubbbbb on this one.
    Just sayin’!

  9. Darryl Rekemeyer

    Oct 27, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Brandel Chamblee never matured beyond the sight of a sunny day being deemed by bible belters and Carolina Basketball “Hangers On/Alumni” as the “Work of A God who Loved North Carolina so much he MADE THE SKY CAROLINA BLUE! ”

    Whether he’s from NC or not, his whine is as familiar as the departed Charley “CHOO CHOO” Justice hanging aroud the “UNC Quad ” while suffering OLD AGE waiting to catch his last pass – some attractive Carolina Co-ed most likely! Brandel is wont to look with deep affection at the female to his right in the ad for a golf resort in the southwest who apparently has hired Brandel as a Marketeer?

    He’s as worthless as Ms. Sonders first husband (?) and original “Golf Channeller”

    Keep trying Brandel even a blind squirrel will find him a NUT!

  10. Clemson Sucks

    Oct 26, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Happy Gilmore lifts both feet during the swing. So there’s that.

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    Oct 21, 2015 at 11:15 pm

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  12. Gil

    Oct 21, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Right or wrong, I find Brandel Chamblee’s comments to be always interesting and he adds a lot to the telecast. Who’s right and who’s wrong is irrelevant.

  13. ooffa

    Oct 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    As soon as Chamblee comes on the channel gets changed. He is bar far the most annoying person on TV today. I am including all of the Kardashian’s in that statement.

  14. Charles

    Oct 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    What is the difference between Brandel’s comments and a bucket full of s**t? You can use the content of the bucket as fertilizer!

  15. other paul

    Oct 19, 2015 at 1:07 am

    A lot of TPI players have back pain. So what they are teaching will probably be different in 10-20 years. There must be things that the dont know yet about the spine. Maybe some other internet gurus have it figured out ????
    I tried doing what TPI teaches and it hurt my back to. Now I dont follow their suggestions anymore and my pain is gone and I hit it farther now.

  16. other paul

    Oct 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

    I have been reading that in order for the hips to turn level which is something that most elite golfers have done in history, the heel must come up. Try turning your hips 45* with both feet flat on the floor. Pretty darn close to impossible without the forward hip dropping. So I agree that the heel should come up. I also have certainly noticed that I hit the ball worse if I push my hip up with the forward leg, but hit the ball better if I pull the hip level with my oblique’s. And by better I mean longer and straighter.

  17. marcel

    Oct 19, 2015 at 12:25 am

    haha Brandal got it from a pro. everyone is different and everyone who wants to play golf needs a proper coaching lessons by a pro. I have achieved in short time 3 years playing 15 handicap and straight drives about 280yrd+ and i am short man. because I can play golf? no because i spent money for AAA+ golf coach. so do yourself a favor and get proper lessons with proper practice before u learn bad habits. cheers

  18. Steve

    Oct 19, 2015 at 12:16 am

    If he was still with us maybe Moe Norman could tell us about that left foot lifting or not (NOT).

    • Ash

      Oct 29, 2015 at 11:52 am

      right on. I would say he had a shorter than average backswing, something which has become my current focus. Plus he kept the right foot down until well after impact.

  19. Sean

    Oct 18, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Ben, I like what you write, but in this case your dislike of Chamblee is readily apparent (for example: “…legal pad scribblings.”) Since your article was lacking in objectivity, it’s a bit difficult to make a fair assessment.

    In addition, a few tweets cannot readily determine which theoretical construct is correct in a topic as complex as this one.

  20. other paul

    Oct 18, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I like the idea of lifting the foot on the back swing. But I think it depends how. If you lift the foot and have all that weight on the toe, you are screwed I think. But if you lift your pelvis with your oblique muscles in the backswing then more distance follows because you can really throw that extra leg weight into your rotation. Anything that helps you rotate faster will make you swing faster. I picked up 19 MPH of club head speed since trying to rotate as fast as I can. Longest drive is now 320 according to my laser. Flat ground no wind.

  21. Mike

    Oct 18, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Whatever the Twitter exchanges were they ere so disconnected and chopped up that they made no sense.Anyway who cares what a neer do well former player and a yet do do much current player have to say…there are much better opinions to listen to from high achieving players or world class coaches.

  22. mo

    Oct 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    How many winning students does Brandel have?
    If anyone should be giving legit swing advice are guys like Harmon, Kostis, Haney, Jordan’s coach, Rory’s coach, others who who do it for a living. Also my bet would be on Billy Ho rather then Brandel on swing advice.

  23. Ho Hum

    Oct 18, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Has everyone noticed that whenever anyone “reports” on how someone else has wasted their time using this pointless web app that it because they have fallen into the trap of scribbling out some bit of pointless, petty, mean-spirited nonsense?

    So let me see if I got this straight – Brandle Chamblee is a heel and Billy Horschel is just one of over a hundred and forty narcissistic characters that has a Twitter account.

    Is that about it?

    I guess if I really cared, I might actually bother to create my own Twitter account and stalk all of the worlds narcissistic losers all on my own.

  24. Alex

    Oct 18, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Orrrr, mind blowing concept. Maybe they win more if they don’t lift heel but it was a hinderance only they were able to succeed with.

  25. Roger

    Oct 18, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Does the heel really matter? Perhaps, especially of you lack flexibility. Certain swing types have been in “vogue” at various times in the past……..this may be a greater impact. I remember droves of golfers going “one plane” and soon after “stack and tilt” so who really knows? If lifting the heel does not help Horshell………fine, maybe when his career ends he will have NO majors BUT he may have 10. Let time tell this story.

  26. jcsPGA

    Oct 18, 2015 at 9:54 am

    At times I agree with Mr. Chamblee, however it usually goes the other way. In this instance I think that you have to take other factors into account when looking at what players were doing 50 years ago or even 20 years ago versus today. There are too many variables such as equipment and course conditions to say that they did it right and players today do it wrong. Strictly from a swing standpoint lifting the left heel is fine as long as you put it back down in the same spot and have proper sequencing, but if you are looking for more consistency day to day and you have the flexibility to get a good turn away from the ball with the heel on the ground then in my opinion that is what you should strive for.

    • jerseychris

      Oct 18, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Jack did not put his left heel down in the same place…….moved it 2-3 inches forward.

      • benseattle

        Oct 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

        This a great catch…. and very true. Nicklaus started with both feet “flared out” but after raising the left heel, it came down AHEAD of its original position. The result was a “square brace” that let him go all out against a firm left side. Very interesting quirk of his footwork and probably not something that anyone would want to teach. (Along with his fictitious “flying left elbow,” a move that let Jack take the club back square for a longer time; just another reason he was the Longest Straight Hitter — or the Straightest Long Hitter — of all time.)

      • gvogel

        Oct 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm

        Which is a secret to some great golf. Bobby Jones was another who planted his left heel closer to the target than it was at address. Coincidence?

        Look at your average slicer, and it is just the opposite action.

  27. CD

    Oct 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

    “If it stays on the floor, fine; if it comes up an inch, fine. I pay no attention to it.”

    That’s old school Mr Chamblee. The other thing is by his own standard (major wins) having ONE player that has won multiple majors let alone TWO disproves his own rule.

  28. LL

    Oct 18, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Attention Golf Channel: please fire Chamblee. Nobody likes him, and “controversial” comments are not good for ratings or for golf.

    • other paul

      Oct 18, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Discussion isn’t controversial when it comes to swing theory. I was finally starting to think he was getting better at it…

    • Bert

      Oct 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      I like him, brings much attention and thought to the Golf Channel even if you don’t agree with him. Much better than Charley Reimer’s continuous yelling.

  29. Jeff Palmer

    Oct 18, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Both are limited in there scope. There are well over 46,000,000 joint combinations in the swing and if you get into core regions and balance the potential combinations is in the trillions. Which means if your telling someone what to do, chances are the advice from a fortune cookie could be more accurate

  30. Dennis Clark

    Oct 17, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Hip turn or the lack of it does not hit the ball. Debates on biomechanics are only relevant if they affect impact. If I wanted a student to hit the ball more from the inside AND if the were capable, I’d ask for more hip turn. If They had a +5 path on Trackman or are hitting big hooks I wouldn’t advise hip turn. It’s individual based solely on impact.

    • Adam Yizzle

      Oct 18, 2015 at 7:19 am

      “Nailed” it

    • Pete

      Oct 18, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      So if a student is averaging 6 degrees or more in to out you suggest restricting hip turn?

    • other paul

      Oct 18, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      If you rotate the upper body faster to catch up the fast hips, doesn’t that fix the problem? Worked for me. Now I swing faster to, and no back pain.

    • RG

      Oct 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Dennis you are a voice of reason. BB King is not Beethoven and Bethoven ain’t BB King. But they both make beautiful music.

  31. Jay

    Oct 17, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    If Billy were to lift his left heel, what does Brandel think would be improved in his golf swing? More distance? Improved accuracy? I agree that there is probably no one absolute way to swing a club.

    I think this article should have been written with a more neutral tone. Instead of trashing Brandel and obviously siding with Billy, you should have presented both sides and simply stated what happened.

  32. BIG STU

    Oct 17, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    I am not going to get in the argument thing because I am old school myself. I will agree with one thing said. Everyone is built different and swings different and everyone cant swing the same. I have heard it said many times and Tiger even said it before himself “There is no one absolute way to swing a club or hit a ball”

    • HeelLift

      Oct 18, 2015 at 2:42 am

      That’s not what he’s saying, either.

  33. Benseattle

    Oct 17, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Of course, by that reasoning Butch Harmon shouldn’t even bother trying to chime in here…. just one Tour victory. How about we stop insisting that every discussion have a winner in a loser? Can’t both opinions be valid? It’s like watching a debate: how about we watch for the information disseminated rather than determining – – like any six grader – – that there is a “winner” and a “loser.”

    • DJ

      Oct 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      According to chamblee, he’s the only one that is right. The guy is brutal to listen to

  34. Mat

    Oct 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    There’s a difference between theory and orthodoxy. Chamblee is of the old-school orthodox. So be it. Old wives’ tales are usually true, but they don’t represent doctors, scientists, and scholars.

  35. KK

    Oct 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Complete nonsense for Chamblee to correlate winning with passion. Do the Spurs have more passion than every other NBA team of this generation? How about the Royals? Floyd Mayweather?

  36. GDP

    Oct 17, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I’m going with the player that has won more than once or twice on tour. And has the better fashion sense.

    • Rwj

      Oct 18, 2015 at 8:20 am

      That’s not fashion sense, that’s a cry for attention. You think he wears that nonsense while shopping for groceries with the family. I imagine more casual fans know him for his loud clothing then for his fedex cup and tour championship.

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