Five Greatest Swings

With golfers today, everything seems so mechanical. These guys have found a way to blend power and fluidity.

Trap Five LogoWith golfers today, everything seems so mechanical. Although a certain amount of repetition is necessary for one to develop the correct fundamentals and be able to repeat them, the golf swing is like a fingerprint: everyone has one and they are all different.

I took a look at a ton of different swings for this week’s Trap Five and tried to find one’s that were not only fundamentally sound, but had an originality about them that can’t be replicated. Here are my picks.

Number Five: Dustin Johnson
At six feet, four inches he’s generally someone you would expect to find on a basketball court instead of swinging a golf club. But, with his height he is able to generate an enormous amount of clubhead speed, an extremely fluid swing, and excellent stability.

Number Four: Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington to Golf Digest on swing changes made with his coach Bob Torrance.

One of the best compliments I have ever been paid came from my fellow Irishman and Ryder Cup teammate, Paul McGinley. He said I must be the first person since Nick Faldo to completely change the physical look of my golf swing. And he’s correct, at least about the extent to which my action has changed. If you compare pictures of my swing today with the one I had as a Walker Cup player 10 years ago, you’ll see that I don’t look like the same person.

Padraig Harrington

It’s work for Padraig so far, as he regained his form at the end of the 2009 season.

Number Three: Alvaro Quiros
Just an inch shorter than Dustin Johnson, this Spaniard is noted for his prodigious length off the tee. Quiros averaged 310 yards in 2009 and had the longest driving average on the European Tour in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Number Two: Ernie Els
Said Ernie to Golf Digest:

I’ve never been a very technical player. I don’t get caught up in swing positions and mechanics. When I work on my swing…I’m looking for feels. You’ll get better results—and often more distance—if you swing at eighty percent effort. I get all kinds of people telling me I have the best swing in the world—it’s beautiful, it’s effortless. But I know when that isn’t true.

Ernie Els

The Big Easy’s three-year plan may have come and gone, but he’s still got a sweet swing.

Number One: Fred Couples
Absolutely, one of the most beautiful swings in golf. It has everything. A great set up, fluid tempo, a fast clubhead speed, and a smooth finish.

Your Thoughts?
Who else do think should be up here?

15 thoughts on “Five Greatest Swings”

  1. Adam Scott and Luke Donald…no idea how Harrington is on this list he is definitely NOT one of the people that come to my mind when I think of a pretty golf swing. And I hate to say it but Tiger has a pretty damn nice swing too

  2. definitely have to have Freddie in there. Ernie is pretty fluid too.

    A couple of other worthy picks:

    Bubba Watson

    Paul Stankowski

    Steve Flesch

    Geoff Ogilvy

  3. It’d be a helpful contrast to see which 5 players have the worst swings, however you choose to define “worst.”

  4. Hmmm. Your five “greatest” swings include Johnson, Harrington and Quiros? I know this article wasn’t about technical greatness, but that’s strange.

  5. I reckon Adam Scott has to be in there. IMO the best swing out there. You’ve also got to love Jeev Milkha Singh’s swing. Only joking.

  6. dustin johnson? are you really serious?
    i mean, i know that fred couples’ swing is overrated and people keep telling each other how sweet it is, but dustin johnson? c’mon, have you looked at it?

    you’d definetely have to look at michelle wie or stewart appleby

  7. I think we’re talking power and uniqueness here.

    Sergio’s definitely got a unique swing with lots of power.

  8. Love watching Ernie Els and Fred Couples (although with all Fred’s injuries, perhaps not one to copy) but I would also support Rory McIlroy, Geoff Ogilvy and the Michael Schumacher look alike Martin Kaymer.

  9. You absolutely have to put Tiger Woods on this list. I can’t stand Tiger Woods, but even I recognize the beauty of his swing. It is unquestionably the best swing on tour. The lack of his name on this list discredits the entire article.

    The randomness of these 5 picks is bogus. The “Trap 5” is a great idea, but it would be better if it were based on reality instead of amateur opinion.

  10. I love watching the fluidity of Lucas Glover’s swing. I’d be hard pressed to think of a more smooth and original golf swing.

  11. Boys, boys. I know this is a discussion of current players. But to me, that’s just too limiting when you’re talking about great swings. Thus, from my perspective, these are some pretty unstudied selections. While it must be granted swing styles have evolved to address the current equipment characteristics, we are talking about the visual confirmation of an effortless, efficient athletic move. Poetry in motion, if you will. From the view of one who has lived through at least a couple of swing/equipment evolutions, I can’t stop at a top 5, so let me give you my top 10 all-time:

    1. Mickey Wright. Sam Snead agreed with me. Look it up.
    2. Sam Snead. Was there ever a more effortless, ballet-like move at a golf ball? No.
    3. Gene Littler. They called him “Gene the Machine.” But it was prettier than that.
    4. Tom Purtzer. If only he could putt. And have the guts to believe in himself..
    5. Bobby Jones. Watch those old Movie Tone clips of him and tell me that he was not a picture of rhythm and grace.
    6. Tom Weiskopf. I was never a fan of the man. But his swing was so much better than Nicklaus’ it wasn’t funny.
    7. Fred Couples. I remember talking to Michael Bonallack, secretary of the R&A some years back who, himself, had been a great player. He was just in awe of Couples’ move. So am I.
    8. Luke Donald and Jeff Maggert. A tie. Both are mechanically perfect but without power. But they are certainly fun to watch. (See Gene Littler, above.)
    9. Steve Elkington. He often reminded me of Weiskopf with his height, perfect positions and power angles.
    10. Moe Norman. Don’t laugh. It was pretty ugly I’ll admit and probably shouldn’t be included in a list that includes adjectives like “grace” and “effortless.” But his savant-like motion was perhaps the most effective and efficient move any human ever made at a golf ball. So he makes my top 10.

    With Moe Norman in mind, I address the Sand Trap staff. It might be interesting to pen an article on the ugliest, but most efficient swings in golf. Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer might make such a list. Just a thought.

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