Cameron Doan is the PGA Head Golf Professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Texas; the place hosted the Byron Nelson Classic every year between 1968 and 1982 and is generally regarded as one of the finer courses in America. He's worked with 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem on his golf swing for several years and once shot a 60 (-11) at Spring River in Roswell, a challenging course. So when our man Rick Reilly referenced the atrocity that is Charles Barkley's golf swing (check it out here visually as well) in his latest column, we turned to Doan for some more information.
The Mag: Barkley's played at Preston Trail, apparently. Ever seen him live?
Doan: He has, but no, I haven't seen him in person. I've seen him on TV and the Internet a couple of times.
Out of everyone you've ever seen at your club or worked with, where does Barkley's swing rank?
It's the worst. The absolute worst. There's no question. The fact that he can even make contact at all is a tribute to his athletic ability.
What are the main things he's doing wrong?
You take a guy who is obviously a world class athlete, and he's swinging a golf club like that? He's obviously thinking too much. That's the main thing. Physically, when a right hander swings a golf club, you wind up into the right leg, shift weight to the left leg, and unwind back through it; the weight shift has to happen before the winding stops. He doesn't do that either.
What can be done here?
Because of how good an athlete he is, I would say the over-thinking is the biggest issue. If I was giving him a golf lesson, I'd run the Catch and Shoot drill. You put three balls on tees, near each other. You tell him to take position about a foot away from the first ball, then give him one second to hit the first one. He's got another second to hit the second one, and then one more second to hit the third. By the time he hits that third ball, he's just reacting. You're helping them build reaction rather than thinking into their routine. The basketball analogy would be: if you see a good basketball player in the flow of a play, he gets the ball and shoots it quickly. They're way better that way than if they have time to sit there, gather in the ball, think about what they're going to do. You just want them reacting.