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The Feeling vs The Look of Greatness

The Feeling vs The Look of Greatness

Louis Oosthuizen was recently asked about his five favorite swings. Louis could have just said “Mine”. Nobody would have questioned it (he apparently had to exclude himself).

Louis’ list and explanation of their relative ranking:

  • Retief Goosen, Rory McIroy, Fred Couples, Ernie Els and Adam Scott
  • Pretty solid swings, the only issue in a potential mash-up is who can putt in this group

A recent random poll of PGA Tour players had many of the above, with additions:

  • Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama

Other best of lists look remarkably similar, with the most pleasing swing going to Anne van Dam (no relation to Jean Claude van Damme, amateur disc golfer)

  • The LPGA is full of great swings, Lydia Ko as a prime example
  • These are actual swings to emulate for the everyday golfer who isn’t a plus-handicap

While the process of assessing and ranking swings is usually an “eye of the beholder type of thing”, a listing of all time great swings is littered with the usual suspects, including all-time rhythmic swings from folks like Payne Stewart, Gene Littler and LPGA icon Mickey Wright.

Golf is certainly an aesthetic sport, but one’s swing need not look good, ideal nor perfect in order to place a small ball in a slightly larger hole. In fact, some very successful golfers have made a good living swinging a club in odd and unusualways.

Current players with “distinctive” swings - Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Matt Wolfe, Hung So Choi

Dipping into the archive of professional golf, we really get to see some nuggets:

  • Eamonn Darcy - looks like a man picking a five-pound note from a grate with tongs
  • Jim Thorpe - a swing with “more moves than Kung Fu” according to Johnny Miller
  • Allen Doyle - hockey start in college, brought his slap shot to the Champions Tour
  • Miller Barber - swings resembles a man trying to open an umbrella in the wind
  • Nancy Lopez - she said her swing was “no uglier than Arnold Palmer’s. Ouch!

We’ve saved the best “own your swing” master, Moe Norman, possibly the greatest ballstriker of all time.

  • A technical description: club gripped in the palms not the fingers, legs spread wide apart, very short backswing and follow-through - not the prettiest, but very repeatable
  • Moe’s description: Pure as the driven snow, no effort at all, the swing is only three feet long (the business area), “The Master Move, The Feeling of Greatness”

We tend to agree with Moe and “the feeling of greatness”.

After all, if you required an attractive swing to play golf, we would likely get charged double the green fee rates to even be able to set foot on a golf course.