Billy Horschel’s Modern Swing Move (Could Be Longer)

horschel topI 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

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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:

horschel top

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– 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:

tiger_woods_injures_back_at_the_barclays_2013_-_pga_tour

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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:

michelle wie pivot

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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:

horschel seq

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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!

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Wanna learn the MCS methodology and swing like the greats did in the classic era?

You can start with the “Secrets of the MCS”video shorts series or jump right in to the whole thing with the “Kinesiology of the MCS Golf Swing” video.

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15 thoughts on “Billy Horschel’s Modern Swing Move (Could Be Longer)

  1. bigtoilet

    3 of the most hyper flexible players in PGA TOUR history: Sam Snead, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods. I know this because I have had conversations with Dr. Rob Mottram (look him up). Flexibility is NOT a get out of jail free card to swing however you wish!

    1. D Watts Post author

      I don’t know BH, but I have all the respect for him as a pro golfer in the Top 100 World Rankings – that is some serious player.

      But there’s the player and there’s the swing – Jordan Spieth is finding out this year that the two are not the same, but one can seriously impact the other, wouldn’t you agree?

      1. buddhabob

        I look occasionally at the MLB sluggers who have enormous power and who swing a big,heavy stick for many,many years thousands of times yet this lower back stuff is really not an issue for them at all, why?

        Not only do they float, they actually lift the lead food very often entirely off the ground.

        If they were sticky planters and merry cranksters they wouldn’t last one game with all their power and with the weight of the stick coming thru. I teach yoga to people mostly over 40 and some over 70.

        You never in your life allow or teach anyone to twist with a ballistic move, this will shred the disc at L4-L5 and others as well in the vicinity, you can have students move into a twist slowly but the hold is usually for less time and I will never teach a deep twist to anyone who is either a beginner or compromised by advancing age.

        What modern cranksters are doing is not only very ignorant but its careless beyond comprehension and shows a willful disregard for basic principles of anatomy.

        The teachers themselves, many of whom are way over the hill alcoholics, marketers and self promoters should be sued for gross negligence imo.

        1. D Watts Post author

          buddhabob, we have had issues in the past with your choice of words and memes, but in this comment, I can find no fault.

          You are voicing the same sentiments that Chamblee has in his upcoming book and that I have at various times.

          But I’ll just quote your own words (edited slightly) back to you:

          You never in your life allow or teach anyone to twist with a ballistic move, this will shred the disc at L4-L5 and others as well in the vicinity… marketers and self promoters should be sued for gross negligence imo.

          And that, my friend, is the crux of my thoughts on golf and the modern planted-heel restricted-hip industry.

  2. buddhabob

    I would add that any MLB slugger has to be incredibly accurate as well when putting real wood on a ball traveling at upwards of 100mph down the pike and just outside their person. they must be far,far more accurate in swinging at a rapidly moving object than at swinging at a stationary and innocuous golf ball.

    Do any MLB sluggers ever say that they would never lift their lead foots because this would deter their accuracy? God no. It frees them up easily to place their bats on a rapidly moving ball in fractions of fractions of a second. It in effect makes them far,far more accurate and available to last second decision making.

    Incidentally, it may be forgotten but when Nicklaus missed a drive it was rarely out in the woods or swampland across a stream somewhere out among the rabbits,skunks and crocodiles. Compare that to the greatest garbage golfer of all time, T. Woods. J. Speith doesn’t hit very far at all especially for a guy his size but he even manages to scatter shot into opposing fairways.

    That kid with a proper pivot could increase his range of motion dramatically and get 30 more yards easy, he’s 6’1″ for gods sake and he’s from Texas. with a full turn of the hips he could almost be hitting a 1 iron as far as he pampers his driver now and he might even eliminate his Kentucky Fried Chicken wing.

    1. D Watts Post author

      You don’t know what you’re talking about, buddhabob…in fact, the next posting might have been addressed to you as well, courtesy of Modern Golf Swing 😉

  3. buddhabob

    yes it is true, my unrestrained love letters to the Wiester in my halcyon days may have disturbed a few but soon enough Haney will have drained dry all the hay in that once lovely field of summer glory and I shall move on to a homestead elsewhere, greener pastures they say for such as myself, all is fair in love…

  4. targettom

    I enjoy your perspective as a kinesiology expert Buddhabob makes total sense to me. When a top player revolutionizes his swing via MCS and dominates, the rest of the pros will jump ship and scramble to Get the attention of MCS instructors

    1. D Watts Post author

      buddha has very good insights on kinesiology, and I can’t remember him telling I’ve been wrong about any of my own conclusions on athletic motion.

      So, I’ve got that going for me… Gunga-Lunga… 😉

      1. major tom

        big hitter, the lama! I looked up horshel and he’s 4/46 for drives 320+. I’m a weekend hack (way past my 20s) and nearly drove a 340 y green yesterday (stock sldr no fitting, stiff w/ neutral settings, 9.5, prov1x). had uphill apron or maybe it would have rolled on. I’ve tried the restricted hip thing and it flat does not work. as we say in telemark skiing, “free the heel and the mind will follow.”

  5. Ken Joersz

    This is my first post. I’m a PGA member and a friend of Jerry Crowell. My experience is identical to Brandel Chamblee’s. I was naturally a long hitter as a young adult but, as I became serious about the game, I adopted the modern golf swing.

    I immediately lost some distance but was told that is the trade off if I wanted to hit more fairways and lower my scores. Actually, the only thing I did was lose distance. I’m happy to say that, with the help of DJ and Jerry, my distance has returned and I’m pain free.

    Don’t sue me though. I never taught the modern golf swing. I reserved it for myself as I arrogantly thought, being young and extremely flexible, I could do it while others could not. By abandoning the modern golf swing, the physician has finally healed himself.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hey Ken! Thanks for dropping in to leave a comment.

      Trust me, a PGA member and Head Pro with a story about changing his game and saving his back by returning to the classic swing principles of yesteryear – that is good stuff.

      Keep spreading the word!

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