Re-Post – Remember Charles Barkley?

charlesbarkleyOriginally published on January 11, 2010 after the airing of the first “Haney Project.”  Just as relevant today, 5 years later, with the MCS swing theory and mechanics/athletic motion…

The only edit is replacing “Mike Austin” with “MCS” in the body of the posting. /update

With all due respect to Hank Haney and Charles Barkley himself, his problem with the golf swing is not a psychological thing. It had nothing to do with his head.

It has everything to do with the fact that he is a former world-class athlete.

That’s it…  

Barkley is a future NBA Hall of Famer, and the reason he can’t hit a golf ball to save his life is because he’s been taught the conventional golf swing, which is not for athletes.

Any athlete depends on hand-eye coordination and reaction to earn his money.

Barkley didn’t get all of those rebounds being a klutz.  He was a superb athlete in his day, and there is no reason he shouldn’t be knocking the cover off the golf ball.

Charles Barkley Trying to Hit a Ball


Unfortunately, he’ll probably never get the chance.  His athletic ability will never allow him to swing a golf club the way most golfers have been taught, because he’s made his fortune relying on his athletic skill and hand-eye coordination.

When I see Charles Barkley standing over a golf ball, I think what I think when I see most people standing over the ball. I think, “How’s he going to hit the ball standing like that?”

Charles can’t swing the club without that hitch in his downswing because his eyes tell his brain and his body, “There’s no way you’re going to make contact with this ball standing like this and making a back swing.”

His problem starts right from the moment he stands over the ball. His eyes tell him, as an athlete, “You can’t hit the ball standing like this.” The rest is ugly history.

This is what happens during his swing:

As Charles stands over the ball, his eyes transmit the dis-connect between his stance and the athletic swing his body wants to make.

As he takes the club back to the top, his eyes and brain are screaming to his body, “You can’t hit it from here! You just can’t!  You’re going to miss the ball completely!”

So halfway down, Charles’ body completely shuts down as his hand-eye coordination tells him that he isn’t going to make contact.

Finally, he makes a lunge at the ball when he’s stood there in mid-swing long enough, and everyone laughs at the guy who’s probably got more athletic talent in his pinkie than 90% of the guys on the entire PGA Tour.

Charles Barkley Realizing He Can’t Hit the Ball From Here



What Charles experienced during his “Haney Project” time was what I call “Drilling to Fail.”

I went through it myself when I took up the game.  I came from a lifetime of sports, from baseball to hockey, track & field and basketball, and I excelled at all of them.

The first time someone taught me how to hold a club and swing, I missed the ball completely and nearly fell over.

So, during the “Haney Project,” Barkley was swinging with that unnatural swing and stance thousands and thousands of times, almost like learning how to hit a ball blind-folded or in the dark.

That’s fine for the driving range, where it doesn’t matter where the ball goes and you can hit a dozen bad shots before you hit a good one.

You’re just going through the mechanical motions, and as long as you train your eyes to overcome what they’re seeing and follow all of the little adjustments to overcome the flaws in your stance, grip and ball positioning, you’ll begin to make contact.  You might even hit some solid shots.

But the swing and the stance are flawed, and the minute you get out on the golf course, where every shot counts, you forget about all of the drilling and the little positions you were taught, and you revert back to athletic instinct and hand-eye coordination, as you would have done in a basketball game, or baseball, or whatever sport you played.

And disaster follows hard on your heels.

What Charles needs more than a head-doctor or a swing “guru” is a lesson on how to stand athletically over the ball with the proper grip and ball position.

No “pep talks” on how he can do it.

No “mind” analysis or sports psychologists.

No hitting a million balls from a flawed address position.

Just a proper stance and grip and ball position

Charles Barkley hitting a ball using Mike Austin’s MCS swing theory would out-drive every guy he played with including the pros at the pro-ams he loves to frequent.

We’re talking drives of 350 plus, easy. He’s 6’5″ which makes him a good four inches taller than me, and he outweighs me by who knows how much. If I can drive a ball 350 yard playing golf and not at some driving range competition, Barkley would slam it past me with ease, using the athletic swing theory he should be using.

He’d probably be a single-digit handicap within weeks of learning the proper stance and motion, being the athlete he used to be.

And, man, what I bet he’d pay to make it reality.

I’m so sick and tired of watching him make a hash of it.  So much talent, and no one knows how to show him the proper way to swing a golf club.

I just had to say it. I’m done.


4 thoughts on “Re-Post – Remember Charles Barkley?

  1. buddhabob

    you know if you try DJ you could get in touch with him either via his agent or at an exhibition. I doubt anyone else has seriously considered teaching him. The upside for both him and you would be terrific and there is no downside. You could start by writing him a simple fan letter. If he doesn’t read it his secretary might. You mail him often enough and eventually he will find this blog.

    incidentally Obama has a terrible swing. He looks like a girl when he swings. The swing is completely devoid of power and actually says a lot about his personality imo.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I once asked Big Toilet if he knew any Barkley people in So-Cal, but I’m not a high-profile swing guru, so I doubt the inquiry would go far. These guys travel in their own circles, of which I am far from being part…

  2. chiefcowpie

    At times out on the golf course, I feel this existential angst of pain coming from all the golfers out there executing these flails from misbegotten positions as might be had from observing Sir Charles where folks are trying so hard and failing miserably so with unmentionable language accompaniment which was also at one time my predicament until I stumbled across this lonely (hopefully not for too much longer) corner of the internet universe known as Waxgolf.

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