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Should the Happy Gilmore swing be USGA/R&A legal?

The Happy Gilmore  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the Happy Gilmore swing be considered a legal stroke for USGA/R&A regulated tournament play?

    • Yes
      12
    • No
      2


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We've seen Bryson's transformation in pursuit of distance, and at least right now, it seems to be paying off (even on a course that isn't set up for bombers). I would be surprised if we don't see more players aggressively pursuing radical speed improvements in the next couple of years.

After that, what's the next move? My guess (seriously) is the Happy Gilmore swing. Here are the current USGA rules that govern what is permitted as a "stroke." As best I can determine, nothing here would prohibit a Happy Gilmore swing: https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=10

There's an old Sports Science episode where Padraig Harrington picks up 30 yards of distance with a Happy swing:

The full episode is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I5a5y2aOJ0

My prediction: someone works hard on this and makes it a controllable shot. Then the governing bodies step in and define a stroke in such a way that your feet are not permitted to fully leave the ground at any point before impact (or something like that). It would also ban something like Kyle Berkshire's move:

What do you guys think? Will someone try this? Should it be a legal swing?

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I think the modern pros are hitting the ball super far already. The USGA needs to make some changes to courses ie. growing the rough longer and narrowing the fairways to make miss hits more brutal to play from as well as growing the fairway a little thicker to slow down the roll. Some of these guys will get 60-100 yard roll out on a downhill hard packed fairway. If the pros keep adding distance to their already amazing abilities I could also see the USGA regulating balls in the PGA at say 80% distance like a range ball.

As far as the happy gilmore swing I don't think many people would go this route because it can't be possibly be accurate.


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Bryson’s body has the ability to handle that mass which isn’t the case for many pros. Guys like JT, Hadley, Rory, Spieth wouldn’t be able to bulk up like that. The guys like DJ, Rahm, Wolff were hitting further than Bryson was so the needing to bulk really isn’t there and they may not want to add more distance per se. 


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3 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Bryson’s body has the ability to handle that mass which isn’t the case for many pros. Guys like JT, Hadley, Rory, Spieth wouldn’t be able to bulk up like that. The guys like DJ, Rahm, Wolff were hitting further than Bryson was so the needing to bulk really isn’t there and they may not want to add more distance per se. 

Do you think the added bulk has hindered his flexibility? Bryson being he scientist he is has prob "weighed" the pros and cons of adding that much mass to his body. If you look at the longest drivers in the game right now especially Rory they don't need the mass to add distance. Correct me if I'm wrong but Rory hit a 411 yard drive last year and he cant be more than 170lbs soaking wet. 


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1 hour ago, StrawberryShortCake said:

Do you think the added bulk has hindered his flexibility? Bryson being he scientist he is has prob "weighed" the pros and cons of adding that much mass to his body. If you look at the longest drivers in the game right now especially Rory they don't need the mass to add distance. Correct me if I'm wrong but Rory hit a 411 yard drive last year and he cant be more than 170lbs soaking wet. 

There is an interesting video about this on TXG.   Look at long drivers;  they are typically pretty big and muscular;  the mass is for strength and to create a stable core to support the increase in speed.  

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1 hour ago, StrawberryShortCake said:

Do you think the added bulk has hindered his flexibility? Bryson being he scientist he is has prob "weighed" the pros and cons of adding that much mass to his body. If you look at the longest drivers in the game right now especially Rory they don't need the mass to add distance. Correct me if I'm wrong but Rory hit a 411 yard drive last year and he cant be more than 170lbs soaking wet. 

I don’t think it hinders his flexibility and lifting heavy weight doesn’t either. What hinders flexibility his not doing things that strength joins and muscles and not doing mobility drills. Bryson has a very regimented training program and he incorporates lots of various things that are geared towards his swing. The 2 part swing expedition with him Chris cuomo on golf channel details some of it.

Under the right conditions pros hit extremely long drives. DJ almost aced a long par 4 in Hawaii a couple years. Rory has a really good swing that allows him to generate lots of force they the ground that helps produce lots of speed but so does every pro. JT is 145 pounds and is pretty long. 
 

John Rahm has a very short swing but proper mechanics allows him to generate a lot of speed.  

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Literally, there's a thread already about Bryson, strength, bulk, and fitness. I'm not trying to restart that discussion 🙂

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11 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Literally, there's a thread already about Bryson, strength, bulk, and fitness. I'm not trying to restart that discussion 🙂

The thread was kinda hijacked, It was originally about happy gilmore type swing. I don't ever see that happening, a normal golf swing is hard enought lol.

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15 minutes ago, StrawberryShortCake said:

The thread was kinda hijacked, It was originally about happy gilmore type swing. I don't ever see that happening, a normal golf swing is hard enought lol.

The thread started off talking about Bryson and guys possibly chasing techniques for chasing distance. Bryson was short compared to other top players which is why he went the route of more mass and it worked. The comments about others was they didn’t need to make changes because they were already long and even if they went the Bryson route most can’t handle that extra mass.  Guys also want control which is why the average aoa on tour is around -1. If guys wanted more distance they wouldn’t need to chase anything crazy like happy Gilmore swing or the added mass but rather make a sloth change in their swings to get a positive angle of attack. Tony Finau can add distance simply by making a longer swing. There’s video of him getting 200mph ball speeds. Guys that hit faxes can add yards by hitting a draw but that takes away some of their control because the draw spin tends to run and it’s hard to control how far it runs
 

Guys are doing things more conventional to gain distance thru staying healthy and working out, finding the shaft and head combos that fit their needs on the course. Superspeed training is another way guys are doing it.

We see what happens to those who are purely focused on distance. Spieth lost his swing, Luke Donald dropped off the map, smylie Kaufman is off the map.

Long distance drivers don’t do anything crazy on their swings but they also don’t have to worry about accuracy they only need one long one in the grid. 
 

Golf is about distance and distance control. 

 


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If someone can find a fairway with it, why not? 

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I'm not sure with different conditions, rain and wind, if you could get consistent enough to even think of trying it. There's too many variables.  Plus you'll be tearing up the tee box. Superintendents might not appreciate it and then amateurs trying it more then they already do. 

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For my part, unless something specific is done (and honestly, I'm not sure what it would be), up and coming players are going to continue to change what we think is normal and even possible in golf. Even since the turn of the millennium, the number of 3-point shots taken per game in the NBA has more than doubled. Previous generations considered the 3-point shot inefficient; it was, until a generation of players came along who were so good at it that now many players take more 3s per game than both teams used to when it was introduced.

Why would it be impossible for the ceiling to be raised in a similar way in golf? A Tour average player hits about 60% of his fairways. Last week, Bryson hit 58.9% of his fairways while averaging 340 yards per drive! The idea that it is impossible to add crazy swing speed while also still controlling the ball makes sense to us, because we're not superhuman. But just as the gulf between a rec league basketball team and an NBA team is such that they're hardly playing the same sport, the athletic and power increases in golf will (I expect) continue to make the pro game played by people who have virtually nothing to do with the game we're playing.

Like what Bryson's doing, switching to a Kyle Berkshire swing (or ultimately, a Happy Gilmore swing) is only going to be done by someone who is willing to do something totally different in pursuit of being better than anyone else.

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Rickie Fowler on the distance talk

“It’s been really impressive to see what he’s done over, say, the last year or so with his transformation and obviously some serious gain in speed and power … [but] where does it become almost counter-productive as far as too much speed, where dispersion becomes too great?” Fowler said. “There has to be some sort of peak in there. It seems like it may be around the 190 [mph / 305km/h] area. It gets tough to control the ball going straight once you get to the 200 [mph]-plus area (322km/h).

https://www.google.com/amp/s/coupler.foxsports.com.au/api/v1/article/amp/golf/ricky-fowlers-warning-over-bryson-dechambeau-weight-gain-pga-tour-news-golf-charles-schwab-challenge/news-story/f88e2c7a04ca4bf6544827d69bb77edd

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Not sure about the Happy Gilmore swing as all of the moving/walking creates too many places for inconsistencies to creep-in. A swing more like Zuback, Berkshire, Donbyn, Burke, Sadlowski, etc? Yep. 
 

One thing that TXG pointed out in their video about Bryson’s swing was the “science” behind angle of attack and effective launch (?). Back when I did a fitting with John Nakashima in 2015, John had done all of the math and had come-up with a combination of the two numbers that would allow someone to max out their distance with driver. I had never seen or heard of it before. In the fittings, he PROMISES an additional 15 yards or your fitting is free. Turns-out, by doing the swing he’d devised, that was where we picked-up the yardage! 
 

TaylorMade came-out with the “17 launch and 1700 spin” when they introduced SLDR. Similar idea. 
 

So, I don’t think that the swings will change drastically like a Happy Gilmore, but I do think more will pay attention to the launch and AOA and copy what Bryson’s doing.

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If you can hit it? Why not? Golf is a risk reward game. If you can hit that shot God bless. Need to outweigh the risk and rewards in my opinion, that’s the difference between golf and other sports I think.

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Golf swings are built on a stable foundation.  This is what Bryson built.     The Happy Gilmore swing requires the player to have perfect timing and hope that he can land in the same spot and not slip if the ground is wet or muddy.   Too many things that can go wrong for it to become mainstream. 

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While I voted yes, I'm honestly hoping this never comes to be - at least on tour play.  There is a guy I play with in Yuma that just loves trying this shot.  Quite often, if we're waiting on a tee, he'll grab a water ball and smack one out into the desertscape. He loves to bet and will pick a marker in the distance then ask who wants to bet whether he can clear it 🙂.  He actually hits them pretty well.

The clip of Padrig is hilarious.  Also, it's quite amazing how similar it is to his normal swing.


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