I had a fun Twitter exchange yesterday with 3-Time PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel, a PGA Tour player who didn’t care for my declaration that if one disagreed with Brandel Chamblee’s upcoming book on the Classic Golf Swing, then one shouldn’t be teaching or analyzing golf swings.
Mr. Horschel is a Modern Golf Swing man, with a planted heel back swing and a torso-twist to get the shoulders turned against the restricted hips, and this is exactly what I advocate against doing for health and longevity reasons.
This move is what broke Tiger Wood’s back (combined with Sean Foley’s center-biased model, which is death for a power swinger, and if you disagree with that assertion – how’s Tiger doing these days?), and although Horschel has here-to-fore avoided injury with it, my precise point is that most people will not.
Horschel is a player, not a swing analyst or instructor, so I don’t mind his objections – his business is playing golf, not analyzing swings.
Billy Horschel’s Modern Golf Swing
And, if in his own logic, he hasn’t yet injured himself swinging in this manner, then it’s perfectly fine, I’m here to say that just because Horschel can do it and not suffer injury – you are likely not anywhere near as athletic and flexible as he is, and you will pay a price.
And although Horschel believes that his ability to swing without a floating heel is due to his flexibility, you can see plainly below that he doesn’t have that flexibility:
– he’s separating the torso from the hips to complete the shoulder turn, and anyone can do that – I just beg people not to… or… you may end up like this:
Bear in mind as well that Billy’s still in his 20’s and Tiger’s back was fit as a fiddle until the Foley years – so any damage he’s doing to his lower back with this move may just have yet to manifest itself – it’s the incremental damage that is the most insidious and damaging, because by the time you realize it – it’s too late to do anything about.
Some people find out pretty quick:
Others find out in their 30’s.
How many warning signs did Fred Couples have before the big “crack?”
I doubt Horschel is in a grave danger however, as he’s not a “power swinger” – he has a narrowish stance and fairly square feet to the target line, which allow a freer turn without the hips following.
He also spins out on the left heel through the follow – you have to have timing to swing this way, and you certainly aren’t going to be “going after it” with this setup and action.
However, there’s no natural leverage at the top, and you see the aggressive lower body move he has to make just to get through the ball from the top position:
And though he doesn’t realize it, Billy has paid a price as well for this move, but it’s in accuracy and consistency.
At 29 years of age and 6′ in height, he’s an athletic player, but was 53rd in driving distance in 2015 and hit 63.77% fairways (69th).
And just a side note: If the Modern Golf Swing is designed for power, where is Horschel’s power?
If it’s designed for accuracy and consistency, how is less than 2/3 fairways hit any marker of accuracy and consistency?
Just to compare, in 1980, a classic golf swing year of persimmon and balata, the leading driver in accuracy was Mike Reid at 79.45% and 63.76% in 1980 was good for 75th overall.
So, I don’t see the argument about consistency and accuracy.
I don’t know. Just asking.
Still, Billy Horschel made $1.7 million last year, so he’s not hurting by any means in the pocketbook stat, which is likely the most important to a player.
I’m just wondering how much money he’d win with 300-305 yards avg driving distance, 70-odd% fairways and 70-odd% greens hit, with a more mechanically-correct swing.
As a golfer, he’s among the best in the world.
But I deal strictly with the swing, and his golf swing however is a modern golf swing, and not mechanically-sound.
If he wants to add more Tour wins and/or higher major finishes to that bulging pocketbook – the answer is in changing that swing to take better advantage of his size and athleticism and hitting the ball longer and straighter.
So, I don’t slam Horschel for swinging this way if he sees fit – but I will repeat my original tweet that anyone analyzing or teaching swings, who says this modern swing is either mechanically-sound or superior to the classic golf swing – should not be analyzing or teaching the golf swing.
If they weren’t, Tiger Woods would still be playing golf right now, would likely have passed Jack Nicklaus, as if JN were standing still, on the majors list.
I say Jack Nicklaus is the greatest ever.
And even if you want to argue that Tiger Woods is the greatest ever – Jack won more majors and lasted longer, because he had a mechanically-sound if not awesome swing – and Tiger didn’t.
Best of luck to Billy Horschel in 2016, and it was fun talking swing yesterday, BH!
Wanna learn the MCS methodology and swing like the greats did in the classic era?