Is Butch Harmon Going Classic?

I only ask this because a long-time WAX Nation citizen (thanks, KC!) forwarded me a post from Andy Plummer’s (of Stack & Tilt fame) that seems to suggest that Butch Harmon may have begun to have second thoughts about the Modern Golf Swing.

I say “may have” because this is the ultimate in hearsay, but I would imagine that Andy Plummer either heard this directly on a Sky Sports broadcast (Ewen Murray is a broadcast analyst with Sky, as is Butch, for that matter) or someone told him of this.

That said, this is what I saw when I went to the Stack & Tilt Facebook Page:

For those who can’t read the picture, the conversation is quoted thusly:

Ewen Murray, Sky Sports

Ewan (sic) Murray: Butch, how have your teachings of golf swing changed over the last 20/30 years?

Butch Harmon: I’m not a fan of the modern golf swing, restricting the hips and turning the shoulders. Puts too much pressure on the spine. 23/9/17

Butch Harmon

From this, I would infer that the above exchange took place on Sky Sports’ Saturday coverage of the Tour Championship (PGA Tour event) this past weekend.

And while I heartily agree with Butch’s reported assessment of the Modern Golf Swing, I haven’t seen or heard anything aside from this blurb provided by Plummer to indicate he’s had a change of heart on it.

Still, it would be very interesting to hear that Tiger Woods’ coach from his teen years to his late 20’s (TW switched to Hank Haney in ’04) now doesn’t buy into the Modern Swing philosophy.

Sadly, it would be far too late for one Tiger Woods, whose left knee woes I would attribute directly to his planted-heel and restricted-hip golf swing action, which would also later destroy his back under Sean Foley.

It is also suspicious to me when golf instructors/analysts who have made untold amounts of money pushing the Modern Golf Swing start talking about how they disagree with it.

Peter Kostis comes to mind, who while he stated on Twitter that personally, he hates the restricted-hip swing, can be seen weekly on CBS golf broadcasts praising modern swing model after knee-snappin’, foot twistin’ modern golf swing model.

I am still waiting for that tide to turn, for that pendulum to swing back from the madness of the Modern Golf Swing back to the proper mechanical action of the Classic Golf Swing.

Judging by the comments on the Stack & Tilt page, Harmon’s words were as much a surprise to just about everyone as they were to me!

Word of advice for anyone taking up golf – if you can find an instructor who teaches the swing in the classic style of the way Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer used to swing (and the way modern players Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Bubba Watson became multiple major winners), do your back and body a favor and go with that!

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video


5 thoughts on “Is Butch Harmon Going Classic?

  1. peterallenby2013

    The “driver” of swing instruction theory for the pros is….money. Specifically, tournament and endorsement money, NOT the fees of instructors. I see it this way: Young touring pros using the modern swing learned this methodology while in college or whatever other proving grounds they may have toiled in learning their craft.

    But where did this swing originate? There had to be some cagey marketing done by a few enterprising professional teachers of golf to convince the first golfers to give up classic to go modern. Initially, I suspect that those cagey instructor types found wiling marks – Imagine you are a marginal pro looking for an edge to ascend into the upper echelon of pro tour golf. Would you not grasp at another methodology to stay in the game if the alternative was to have to get a real job? When a few of the marginalia began to experience some success, viola! a modern golf swing boom was born.

    Instructors flocked to the new product, a new swing hadn’t been unveiled in about forever, and pro golfers, thinking there was something to this new swing, began hiring the gurus.

    Fast forward to this new generation of stars – Young bodies that will absorb the strain and abuse – up to a point. Why, we ask rhetorically, If a swing motion results in injury, is it good? The young pros show you their bank accounts and the answer is , “Heck yes!!” But the young pros are falling…

    So, what do we know now? Does the swing motion work? Yes! Will it break your back? In time, yes!

    So are today’s instructors now coming down with a case of guilts at seeing their prize proteges crumble? Well,we know a broken tour player isn’t generating any teaching revenue and any fame or notoriety for the guru instructor…

    And enough of the youngsters are breaking down early enough in their careers that even marketing machines like Harmon and others are re-considering their “belief” in the modern swing. Oh, and it won’t hurt to get all of the golfers they had been “converting” to modern to “convert” back to classic! There’s money in this game, I tell you…

    Ringing the cash register is the name of the game…NOT teaching a lasting, safe, golf swing! That is merely a by-product of the quest to line the pockets of the teaching professionals…

    I read recently that Tiger Woods, ready to make another come back, is biding his time as he considers a swing type that will not ruin his back…Hmmm..and Harmon NOW doesn’t like the modern swing?! I sense the tide turning…

    DJ is about the ONLY person I have seen who will say it as it is: The golf swing does NOT have to complicated and if properly learned, you do NOT need continual tune ups with your pro. Easy to learn and lasting without continual maintenance.

    Imagine that….NOT something the PGA of America will likely promote anytime soon – that is, until their young guns start to declare the modern swing as dangerous!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, Peter – it took about seven years from my first model (July 2010) to get the MCS model to it’s current and simplest form. So, my journey has been the polar opposite of modern golf swing philosophy – the simpler I got the model, the better my own swing became.

      Like all athletic motion, the simpler it is, the more efficient!

  2. Mike Divot

    I read the comments that go with the facebook entry.

    Wow, Plummer is really cut up about it and taking various of Harmon’s previous comments/advice/tips and laying into them. Many of them don’t seem so outrageous but when taken out of context ….

    Gives every impression of having a raw nerve hit. For some reason.

    Some of the other posts on that page are wild. There’s a video of some poor chop who has been showered with praise for “improving” into something resembling a horse on roller skates.

    1. D Watts Post author

      …Plummer is really cut up about it and taking various of Harmon’s previous comments/advice/tips and laying into them… Gives every impression of having a raw nerve hit…

      That was my impression too, MD!

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