Sam Snead – The Greatest Self-Taught Swing Of All Time

I caught sight of a great Sam Snead swing on Twitter today, and I have to tell you all, I could watch this man swing all day long and some nights to boot.

I’d say that Sam Snead has the best self-taught swing of all time. It would be hard to argue, because I would actually rate his swing as on par with Jack Nicklaus’ swing, just that Nicklaus had a better over-all game to go with the swing.

But when you look at Snead’s swing, which he taught himself hitting rocks in the fields of Virginia, I would challenge you to find a better swing, period, let alone a better self-taught swing.


Of course, because he learned it by himself, it was a Classic Golf Swing action, because that is what you will do when learning how to swing naturally.

Here he is at 51 years of age, and imagine a Modern Golf Swing player being able to put the club on the ball at that age:


Aside from a slight bias complaint from a pure point of optimal mechanics, you can see Snead’s swing is a near-carbon-copy of the MCS swing model:


So many good things here:

  • The free-swinging hips and lifting leading heel,
  • The “Swinging Gate” of the left knee and thigh, past vertical,
  • The head over the right side (a little more bias would have made me proclaim this a perfect setup and swing),
  • Full and free release through impact and the swing bottom

Let’s look at the “3 To 9” phase, or just after the “Drop” going into the “And Pop,” and it is particularly tasty:


What some swing “gurus” might call “a little flippy,” is the proper mechanical action for releasing the club down and through – and this “flippy” action got Sam Snead 82 PGA Tour victories, including his last Tour win at the age of 52, meaning it was after this swing was shot on video!

All in all one of the greatest all-time swings and by far the greatest self-taught swing action you will ever see.

I didn’t invent the MCS Golf Swing model, you’ll all remember – I built the current model taking the swings of Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Mike Dunaway and other great swingers:

Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus


… and simply taking out their personal idiosyncratic things – what was left over was the model.

You will find all of the greatest swingers swinging more or less the way the MCS Golf Swing model has been built  – because motion is motion and the principles of motion are universal.


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

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10 thoughts on “Sam Snead – The Greatest Self-Taught Swing Of All Time

  1. Mr. McJohn

    He had longevity for sure. I don’t know that even other players who had good swings had that kind of longevity, nor dominance for as long as he played.

    Most of my swing is self taught, so most of my mechanics are extremely similar to MCS. What killed my swing was the planted heel, and center bias, which I’m still in the process of removing from habit. Every now and again I find I get back to center bias and a planted heel, because it’s ingrained in muscle memory. I only swing maybe 4 times a week for 30 minutes a day, so it’s tough to get it down. But it’s getting there.

    But Sam being self taught with a swing like that is insane, and I not only admire his swing but his career.

    1. D Watts Post author

      He was one of a kind. I remember him doing the ceremonial tee-off with Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson on Masters Thursday back when the 3 of them could still do it, in the late 90’s, and when I was new to golf.

      Imagine modern swingers trying to swing a club in their 80’s!

      1. Mr. McJohn

        Sarazen was a hell of a player, self taught as well. In fact most of the greats were self taught. Hilarious how that works out…

        Curious how many people are beginning to take to the classic swing. You’re seeing it more and more on tour as more people do it, and I would make a prediction for the next golden age of golf IF every tour player adopted the classic swing. Might be another 15 years, but we’ll see.

        1. D Watts Post author

          … I would make a prediction for the next golden age of golf IF every tour player adopted the classic swing. Might be another 15 years, but we’ll see

          I hope it doesn’t take that long! The fact is that it will have to come back because it’s proper mechanics, whereas the Modern convention is under fire and a flawed concept that never should have last this long to begin with.

          But sooner is much better than later, for the sake of those still being taken in by it.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I wouldn’t have touched that swing with a ten-foot pole, Brandon! However if someone with that exact same swing action had asked me my opinion, I might suggest a little more spine tilt on the setup. But really, you won’t see better mechanical action than that from anyone, even Nicklaus.

      1. Brandon

        I started out copying Tiger’s 2001 swing, then as time progressed i started to really like Sam’s swing about 4 or 5 years ago because our body types were similar. I remember when you said that is pivot was a bit off due to his setup and around the time you did the Hogan project I was hoping that you would go over how to perfect Snead’s action. I have always love Sam’s swing

          1. Mr. McJohn

            Sam didn’t drive the legs like Hogan or Nelson. But he was still the more powerful of the three.

            Video I found:

          2. D Watts Post author

            Brandon and Mr. McJohn – correct, very quiet looking legs, because of that action you see in MMJ’s down-the-line view of Snead here. Look at the right leg extension on the pivot and the nice tight top position.

            That is leverage personified, and if you do it properly, you don’t have to “drive” the legs. When you get that much “swinging gate” with the leading knee and that nice right leg extension, the simple shift of weight to the leading foot creates all the leverage you need, and more.

            Notice as well the Dunaway-esque flat impact trailing foot – Snead was longer than anyone in his day with the exception of Jimmy Thomson:

            I’ll do a little more of Snead in the future if you all are interested in it. But look at the stance, the pivot, the motion down and through – MCS stands for Mechanically-Correct Swing, remember – and Snead’s was that – in spades!

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