Backswing RoundUp

Who is the best tour player that amateurs can emulate?

Who is the best tour player that amateurs can emulate?
It's a tour player's job to play and practice everyday. They have access to the best equipment, fitness routines, and mental game coaching. That's why it's tough for most amateurs to emulate what they do. So we wanted to find out who on tour amateurs can actually emulate without the need for hours and hours of practice.

J.B. Holmes Short & Simple

I would like to see more amateurs emulate J.B. Holmes. I have seen too many amateurs with long, loose backswings. This often causes a lack of control, consistency, and power. While a long swing can create power, it only does so if the correct kinematic sequence is performed in your downswing. The proper kinematic sequence in the downswing starts with the hips, followed by the trunk, arms, hands, then club. Amateurs with long swings often want to start their downswing with their hands first, which greatly reduces their ability to generate clubhead speed.

J.B. Holmes has one of the shortest swings on tour, but has regularly been one of the longest hitters. The key is not as much in the length of the swing, but rather the proper sequencing of his body as he turns through the golf ball.

Benjarong Murray

Assistant Golf Professional

PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

There isn't one!

Tour players are physical freaks with great flexibility in ways the normal golfer can’t match, and core strength that most golfers don’t compare too. As a teacher I would say look at anyone of them from a purely face on view, find one with a similar grip to yours, and copy their impact position. Look at their lead wrist at impact. It’s flat! Yours is likely cupped or bent where the back of your wrist is facing the sky more than the target. If you could learn to hit the ball with a flat lead wrist you’d be on your way to better golf.

The Golf Center at the Highlands

Mark Maness

PGA Director of Instruction

The Highlands Performance Golf Center , Carrollton, TX

Anyone who allowed their lead heel to rise in the backswing

It has perplexed me for many years that golf instruction has gone away from copying the amazing footwork evident in most all of the players in the hall of fame. One of the hallmarks of the great players is superb footwork. Nearly EVERY great player has allowed their lead heal to come up as they complete their backswing. This allows for a full wind up / range of motion as well an excellent trigger to sequence the downswing. Keeping the left heel down has caused more harm than good in my opinion. I believe many players have suffered injuries due to excessive torque from trying to create resistance early in the back-swing. This flawed theory has the players believing that this “torque” will have a rubber band / spring effect where the muscles will “snap back”. Muscles only expand and contract. They don’t snap back.

Too many players to name but I’ll list a few: Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan Sam Snead, Billy Casper, George Knudsen, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus. Ladies: Mickey Wright, Babe Zaharias, Nancy Lopez. The list goes on and on. Most of these players had LONG careers and were not injury prone as young men and women. Today’s we are seeing many young players with devastating back and hip injuries.

Let’s start teaching our players to use their feet! Superb footwork is the hallmark of most sports. Golf is no different!

Rockville Links Club

Philip Cardwell

Teaching Professional

Rockville Links Club,

Charles Howell III

Without Question it’s Charles Howell III. A can’t miss kid with early success, but can you believe he’s been on the PGA Tour for TWENTY years? He only has THREE wins (his last two were twelve years apart), but over $38,000,000.00 in tournament earnings. The reason for this selection is that golf is HARD. Anyone can play, but only 1% are great. It’s hard to compete at that level, it’s hard to consistently play well, it’s hard to grind out your career, it’s hard not to be relatively unsuccessful and continue, and it’s hard to persevere for so long. Not everyone will succeed in golf, but the relentless pursuit and endless hours of practice to be “average” is what makes his story one of the finest in golf.

He provides a story that reflects 99% of Professional golfers, generally unsuccessful in his own mind but always grinding to stay alive in the game.

Lebanon Country Club

Christian Sheehan

Head Golf Professional

Lebanon Country Club, Lebanon, PA

Learn the fundamentals and make your own personal swing

I have studied thousands of swings over the 22 years. I realize that they are ALL different, yet effective in their own way. I don’t believe that amateurs should emulate any tour player. Do you think Nicklaus, Hogan, Snead, Trevino, Besselink, Jones, Palmer, Floyd, Casper, Darcy, Wolff, Furyk or any other great player that figured out a system emulated someone that had a swing like theirs?! Absolutely not!!! They figured it out. They dug it out of the dirt, did research, and learned to trust it. They made (and in some cases, are still making) wonderful careers out of what they call their own. They weren’t like these Trackman jockeys that are addicted to their numbers and constantly worried about how their swings look. They learned how to transfer a thought to a feel to achieve the outcome they desired. They had faith in their system and refused to let anyone change it. We need more of that in today’s world. Too many gurus and tech junkies ruining natural players that already have the talent, drive, and determination to make it without those clowns.

As a teacher and a coach, I believe in teaching the basic fundamentals and helping a player to understand the sequence and dynamics of a great golf swing. But I will not correct a player if they have a quirky swing that is consistently producing power and accuracy. I believe their is an infinite number of styles to be effective. I don’t recommend any player emulate anyone but the player they see in the mirror each day. They have to believe in THEIR talent, not covet someone else’s talent.

If you want to emulate ANYTHING from these players I listed or any other top player, let it be their minds. How they played the game, not how they swung a club.

Kevin Dorsch

PGA Golf Professional

Gateway Golf & Country Club

NBC Golf Channel Academy w/ David Impastato, Ft. Myers, FL

Why Justin Rose is a guy to emulate

Justin Rose has been on tour for many years now. He broke onto the scene in 1998, after an incredible finish at The Open at Birkdale. Just initially struggled and missed 20 something cuts in a row and then over time came back to win a European Order of Merit, a US Open, FedEx Cup, #1 in the world and many additional tour events. Not only are Justin’s fundamentals and swing technically sound, but he is a great student of the game and never stops finding ways to get better. I would encourage amateurs to emulate Justin on his technique, tempo, work ethic and mindset that challenges him to better himself everyday.

Milburn Golf & Country Club

Luke Smith

Director of Golf

Milburn Golf & Country Club, Overland Park, KS

Emulate The Same Body Type and Personality

I think it is very important to emulate a tour player who is the same stature as you and also the same type personality. Body type is important because different body types have different swing tendencies that suit their body types.

A scientific or methodical person does not benefit from trying to emulate a feel player. An example – Someone who walks fast, talks fast and a lot like a Lee Trevino would struggle trying to play the style of golf that Jack Nicklaus played.

Mattawang Golf Club

Mahlon Dow

PGA Golf Professional

Mattawang Golf Club, Belle Mead, NJ

Be a Furyk, Be a Lopez

Too often people try to emulate the golf swing of a player for no good reason. Yes, its a nice swing, but everybody has a different body type, a body that moves differently and at a different speed than anyone else. In addition, many try to correct unorthodox moves because “they aren’t correct”. Well, if the move does not cause a corresponding ball flight issue, who is to say it’s wrong? So be like Jim Furyk or Nancy Lopez and be yourself. They have their own unorthodox moves, but those moves got them to the Hall of Fame.

Moses Lake Golf Club

Owen McClain

PGA Golf Professional

Teaching Professional

Moses Lake Golf Club, Moses Lake, WA

Monkey see...Monkey do...

I think an amateur can emulate an attitude that a players has…He will not be able to emulate the tour player’s swing…So if the amateur can concentrate on attitude and composure that would be the start to a bit more success on the golf course…I think all tour players exhibit this trait, so my answer is all…They would not be on the tour if they did not have this quality…

Frank Panetta

PGA Golf Professional

Teaching Professional

CordeValle Golf Club, San Martin, CA

That’s easy- Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus

That’s easy- Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, they are the best because they are the best at combining the physical and mental aspects of the game, they played to win!

A friend of mine once told me if you’re not good performing a task, then copy one who is better than you.

Peter Krause

PGA Golf Professional

Director of Instruction

Wisconsin Club, Milwaukee, WI