My esteemed colleague Katie Heindl is ever-vigilant on her Summer Vacation Watch, scouring player social media pages for the best in offseason vacationing excellence. Recently, more and more players have taken up golfing — although, only the bravest have ventured into the world of competitive college golf — and she alerts me to new golfing NBA players for some analysis.
The most recent of these golfing hoopers is JaVale McGee, who seems to be using his offseason to get ready for being in Phoenix this coming season, where you are never more than a stone’s throw away from a golf course. McGee is vacationing somewhere on a beach and got Cobra to send him some sticks to enjoy the resort course nearby. He posted a video of his barefoot golf swing that had some, like Kyle Kuzma, appalled.
Barefoot resort golf is absolutely the way to go, so salute to JaVale for the pro move here — if you don’t believe me, ask Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Justin Thomas — but being the doldrums of August, I can’t help but want to breakout the Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision camera to show the good and bad from JaVale’s swing.
The big thing is that, JaVale, my friend, you’re an athlete, so let’s swing like one. This is all arms and shoulders, and we need to get the lower body more involved. Let’s start with the backswing, which is very short because of the lack of hip rotation. If we can keep turning those hips and bring the club a bit further back (with his length he doesn’t need a particularly long backswing to create power) we could really be in business.
That said, I like a lot about where we are at impact. The feet are nice and quiet, which is an impressive feat given he’s not wearing shoes, and look how he’s kept his head still and behind the ball. This is good stuff, we just want to keep this same base with more hip turn around it to really be cooking with some gas.
The follow through, however, has plenty to clean up because it’s pretty clear that he’s trying to scoop the ball to get it in the air by how quickly his trail arm collapses here. We want a long, elongated follow through to make a big, sweeping circle, not to be folded up like this after impact. I get the natural inclination to try and lift the ball up, but that’s what the club’s loft is for and we want to be hitting down on the ball to make it go up and then finishing with extension and high hands. This’ll also be easier if you have more hip turn on the backswing to generate natural power rather than trying to manufacture it on the follow through by pulling with your arms.
Overall, there’s some good foundational things here, but plenty of room to grow, which is really what golf (and life) is all about.