|The Charles Barkley Dilemma!!!
Copyright 2006 EA Tischler - New Horizons Golf Approach. All rights reserved.
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I am sure many of you golf fans found it interesting to watch the Haney Project with Charles Barkley. Just as it is
difficult to watch any great player fall from grace, it is just as difficult to watch the recreational golf struggle
tremendously with the game they love.
To me Charles Barkley is a wonderful personality and at one time was also a decent golfer. It seems to me that
when he took up the game he did what seemed natural and athletic. In doing so he developed a stroke that was
very functional and even effective. At that time I remember Charles standing very tall at address, turning in a
relatively flat manner with a relatively flat swing plane. During that period in his golfing career he employed what I
would categorize as an On-Top, Low-Track & Front Anchor biomechanical package. That basic biomechanical
package served him well and got him to a single digit handicap.
Unfortunately that package is often scrutinized by traditional instructors. It has some of the characteristics that
Justin Leonard possesses as well as some of those that Peter Lonard uses. The main criticisms are that the
posture is too vertical and needs more primary tilt, the shaft plane is too flat and needs to be more vertical, they
come out of their posture too early and need to maintain it longer and they close the clubface down too much
It is my belief that as Charles received instruction he was told to push his butt back and bend over more at
address. Additionally I believe he was told to keep his head either down or still during the backstroke and down
stroke. What this did was eliminate all the room Charles needed for his swing to properly extend through the ball.
Golfers with On-Top, Low-Track and Front Anchor feature/options need to make more vertical room for their
extensions. That is because they need the more vertical extensions to help launch the ball in the air. The means
their arms and club extension for vertically downward, as compared to outward like Under golfers due. When
Charles began playing he simply stood tall to the ball making most of the vertical room he needed for extension.
When he was encouraged to bend over more and keep his head down his problems began. As we can all see in
his swing his head stays down as he tries to stay in posture during the down stroke. At about half way down his
subconscious mind know there is too little room to perform his natural delivery action (which is more vertical in
nature). As that happens his head begins pumping upward until it is high enough that he has enough room to
perform that vertical delivery action.
Though most instructors scrutinize keeping the postural angles vertical, and even though they argue you must
maintain your posture to the full follow-through, many great golfers release their postural angles through the ball.
Rocco Mediate and Peter Lonard are two golfers that do so very effectively. Even players like Tom Pernice Jr and
Annika Sorenstam tend to come up out of their postures much sooner than what is traditionally taught. With this in
mind, it seems to me that the best improvement Charles made during the whole show is when Hank held Charles'
head in a high position and ask Charles to keep it there as he swung. Indeed, when Charles stood taller and kept
his head higher there was more room for him to make his natural release. Though there are other things Charles
could do the improve his action, the first thing he needs to do is learn how to stand taller and keep his head up,
instead of down during the down stroke.
In my opinion Charles needs to get back to what worked naturally for him, and then find a way to improve
performance without changing those natural actions. Every golfer has a natural form and it is certain that the
golfer's biomechanical make-up matches that natural form. The key is understanding how those biomechancial
feature/options make the natural form both proper and effective.
It seems to me that instructors are often looking for the ideal system, one suited to all golfers. And when they
encounter students that possess a natural form that seems to defy their systems they criticize the natural form and
try to make the golf conform. I prefer to understand the golfers natural form, test the golfer's body mechanics to
understand how his or her unique golfing machine is built and then to understand the stroke shape that uniquely
fits the individual.
I know there is much discussion as to where there is one set of fundamentals or more, whether there is one best
swing for all, or simply a best swing for each individual. In my experience, there is a one set of fundamentals, and
each golfers biomechanical make-up must perform those fundamentals. What this means is that though all each
individuals stroke needs to be fundamentally sound, strokes will look different from golfer to golfer. Sometimes
they will look different in minor ways and sometimes in major ways.
Therefore, Charles Barkley may just need to find out how his swing works instead of trying to conform to some
instructors belief of how his swing must work. With the Power-of-Three Golf system we strive to help each golfer
understand their own unique swing puzzle. In doing so we help each golfer learn to own his or her own swing, and
the byproduct of that become better and more consistent ball striking.
I am sure that Charles Barkley can find the answers he is looking for in the New Horizons Golf Approach and I am
sure you can as well.
Founder of the New Horizons Golf Approach
The following observations about Charles Barkley's Swing are written By EA Tischler. Copyright 2010, all
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