Do you want to be a better golfer?
What kind of question is that. Of course you do 😉
To help you on your way we’ve worked with a PGA professional to analyse the swings of ten celebrities from film, music, politics, and beyond.
We’ve looked closely at their technique, and stripped out ten top tips to improve your golf game, quickly and easily.
In this blog post we will:
- Put ten celebrity golf swings under the microscope.
- Highlight each of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Tell you how to incorporate the strengths into your game to get a better golf swing, a better posture, longer distances, and more enjoyment from the game.
- Tell you how to iron out their weaknesses from your game.
Let’s get started!
Golf Swings of the Rich and Famous
With their vast wealth and influence, celebrities can work with the best golf tutors in the world to perfect their swing… Right?
It’s easy to think so when you look at players like Justin Timberlake or Matthew McConaughey, who rock near-perfect golf form.
But when you look elsewhere, at people like Jack Black and Ray Romano, you realise that celebrities are just like us: Fallible, flawed, but ripe for improvement.
With this in mind we’ve lad bare celebrity golf swings to show that wealth doesn’t determine how good your golf game is, technique does.
Because by understanding what makes the good players good and the bad players bad, you can begin to understand and refine your own technique.
We’ll start at the top…
Matthew McConaughey: 9/10
Matt has a very powerful golf swing that is slightly across the line at the top. This means the club is pointing to the right of the target line for a right-handed golfer.
Ideally, the shaft should be parallel to the target line at this point in the swing. Being across the line is not a fatal flaw, however: Plenty of good players do it as well.
In the video you can see the power stored in the backswing. This is mainly thanks to Matthew’s wider backswing, with a firmer lead arm and sturdier leg action that helps him to produce more clubhead speed.
Perfect balance and proper tempo gives him enough confidence to be the top golfers on our list.
Justin Timberlake: 8/10
Justin’s swing is is very elegant and technically correct.
It all starts when he sets up with the perfect address position and proper alignment at the beginning of his swing. These basic elements help him to drive the ball straight towards the target.
Justin might have a lack of distance thanks to his early weight shift forward throughout the downswing. His weight is pretty much all on his left leg at the moment of impact, which is a distance killer for longer clubs.
The tempo of Justin’s swing is also very smooth, possibly due to his musical nature.
Donald Trump: 7/10
US president Donald is an avid golfer with a very powerful swing.
At the address position his golf club is not really square with the golf ball which is probably compensation for the rest of his swing. As he takes the club away from the ball he is slightly inside under the plane, making his backswing flat.
On the other hand he achieves perfect position at the top of the swing. His right elbow against his right hip on the way down gives him enough clubhead speed. As he swings through, his spine posture is well maintained and the extension through the ball is pretty good.
Donald has a unique but consistent swing.
Samuel L Jackson: 7/10
Sam has a good looking “handsy” swing, with the ability to manipulate the club with his hands through both the backswing and the downswing. This allows him to easily curve the ball from right to left, and he’s trying to get the most out of it by aiming slightly right of the target.
He also moves his pelvis closer to the ball at impact, meaning his body gets in the way of his arms and his club. It almost looks like he jumps right after hitting the ball. This swing movement is called Early Hips Extension, and causes loss of posture as the hands try to deliver the club to the ball.
The result of this early extension can basically be any poor shot. This swing compensation is sometimes caused by certain physical limitations or previous injury. This swing might not be extremely consistent but it works for Samuel who is a decent and experienced golfer with plenty of low scores.
Will Smith: 7/10
The position of Will’s hands at address could be more ahead of the ball in order to easily hit it down on the ball with his irons. Having his hands in front of the ball is mandatory for a solid ball strike at impact, and that is the main reason why good players set up this position at address.
In Will’s address, the butt end of his shaft should be pointing close to his left shoulder or at his t-shirt logo, and not at his belt buckle.
Will’s correct grip helps him to achieve amazing hand action throughout his swing and more consistency with every club in his bag. The nice looking, balanced follow through is another advantage that makes his swing great.
Barack Obama: 6/10
A nice and wide takeaway with amazing body rotation gets Barack into a good position at the top of his swing.
But things break down once he starts moving towards the ball, especially due to lack of hip clearance. By not using his lower body properly to bring more hand action to the moment of impact and follow through, the swing suffers. As he hits the ball his right knee must remain flexed in order to keep his balance and his posture.
Pretty decent swing for the former US president who is playing golf left handed.
Clint Eastwood: 5/10
Clint is proof that golf is a game anyone can play, no matter their age. His nice and smooth takeaway means his swing looks very easy without too much effort.
Clint’s biggest struggle is not having a straight back at address, which limits his ability to properly turn his upper body, and also leads to many swing compensations. There are many good players with slightly rounded shoulders, but this one might be too much. If his back was angled properly at the start Clint would be able to turn more effectively, and to gain more clubhead thanks to more room between his chin and his chest.
Clint is an experienced senior golfer with short and slow swing.
Jack Nicholson: 5/10
Jack’s grip looks pretty well equipped to help him steer the club during his swing. Lifting his left heel in the backswing helps him to turn even more, so he can create enough power to hit the ball further. But he is sliding a bit too much from the start until finish.
This extreme weight transfer can cause quite a lot of inconsistency to his game and his unbalanced finish proves that. He might be trying to swing too hard in order to get the distance.
Jack is generating quite a lot of unnecessary movement throughout his swing, making it look wild.
Ray Romano: 4/10
Plenty of wrist action in Ray’s swing makes it challenging for him to bring the club down correctly in the downswing.
His body and the club are aligned perfectly to the target, but it all goes wrong with the first move. The key is to move the club back and away from the ball and not up using his hands only. He should keep his hands quiet and let the big muscles in his back and shoulders do their job during this early stage of the backswing.
Ray is probably trying to help the ball in the air by scooping his wrists before he hit the ball but that usually lead to many poor shots. He might need to spend a bit more time on the driving range.
Jack Black: 3/10
Jack is obviously a golf beginner. To play golf well he needs to understand and perform the basic fundamentals first. Understanding golf swing mechanics is the key to a consistent and effective golf swing for him. Grip, posture, address, and not trying to hit the ball hard are first things to work on for Jack.
His alignment looks pretty decent. At address his body (feet, knees, hips, forearms, shoulders, and eyes) are perfectly positioned parallel to the target line.
With a little bit of practice Jack soon be hitting those balls with ease and really enjoying the game.
Ten tips to improve your golf swing
So what have we learned?
- Matthew McConaughey‘s swing showed us that a firm arm and a sturdy leg are required for a strong backswing.
- Justin Timberlake taught us not to shift our weight too early on the downswing, as this can be a distance killer for longer clubs.
- From Donald Trump we learned to keep in line with the plane to avoid a flat backswing, and also that you can still play a good game with an unorthodox swing.
- Samuel L Jackson‘s loss of posture caused by his early hips extension taught us the peril of this technique.
- More posture education came from Will Smith, whose misalignment of the butt end of the shaft caused problems. This should be aligned with your shirt pocket, not your nose.
- Barack Obama‘s swing suffered from not using the strength in his lower body to the moment of impact. This highlights the need for consistency throughout your swing.
- Clint Eastwood‘s swing is clear proof of the importance of keeping your back straight. Doing so keeps your posture strong, and this translates to a more consistent swing.
- By transferring his weight too hard, Jack Nicholson brings a lot of unnecessary movement into his swing. Pay close attention to your address and follow through.
- Ray Romano is guilty of too much wrist action. To optimise your swing, let your shoulders do the work.
- And Jack Black reminds us of two vital things: Good golf relies on an understanding of the fundamentals, and you can have a good time without having a pro swing!
And there you have it…
To get better at golf, look to players who play well and have fun doing it. In the age of Youtube it’s easy to find footage of people playing golf – whether tutors, professionals, celebrities, or anyone else – and you can learn something from almost any swing.
The golf swing tips in this guide can help you to improve your game. Studying golf swing technique will boost your understanding of your swing, your posture, and the game in general.
See you out on the green!