I received an e-mail (Richie3Jack@yahoo.com) from a blog reader who liked my 'Top Ten Golf Training Aids' post and wanted me to do something with top 10 all time golf swings.
First though, I think we need to get an idea of what makes one swing 'better' than others for me. So here is my criteria.
ALIGNMENTS - Simply, how good are their alignments in their swing. Most PGA Tour golfers have excellent impact alignments, so in that sense I am looking at not only their impact alignments, but other alignments in their golf swing.
COMPENSATIONS - Obviously, impact is what's really important and is what 'counts' in the golf swing. However, if a golfer has weak or flawed alignments in other parts of the golf swing, this will likely result in compensations in order to get good alignments at impact. And the more compensations you make, the more the golfer is relying on hand-eye coordination and the more precise their timing has to be. That's fine if you have impeccable hand-eye coordination and can duplicate that move over and over, but for the average person that's a problem.
DYNAMICS - It's one thing to have excellent alignments, it's another to do it with a very dynamic motion. Somebody like Tiger may not have the greatest alignments and may make plenty of compensations, but his dynamics are off the charts.
RESULTS - I've seen plenty of Nationwide Tour golfers with good mechanics, few compenstions and good dynamics, but still fail to strike the ball anywhere as good as say Kenny Perry or Jim Furyk. If the results are pretty much the same, then look at the dynamics, compensations and alignments. But, it's always important to look at the results FIRST, because in the end that's what truly matters. And when I say 'results' I mean ballstriking skill, not scoring average, majors won, etc.
Anyway, here's #10.
Mac O'Grady has excellent alignments and amazingly enough can do it both right handed and left handed and make each swing look almost exactly like the mirror image of each other (I've got his right and left handed swings in a scrapbook). There's also no major compensations in his swing. I don't really care for his low hands at address as that straightens the arms at address, but that's neither a 'flaw' or a 'compensation', just a personal preference of mine.
His dynamics were phenomenal. One of the 'complaints' I often heard about TGM and MORAD when I first heard about in the mid-90's is that it created 'short hitters.' O'Grady who learned personally from Homer Kelley, was extremely long off the tee, like a top 5 in distance on the PGA Tour. His driving accuracy wasn't great, but that's often a misleading statistic because PGA Tour fairways tend to bottleneck and when you're that long you can still hit a pretty accurate shot that finds the rough. But if you have the choice between finding the fairway with a 7-iron or finding the first cut of rough with a PW, you usually take the latter.
That being said, his 'results' are somewhat arguable amongst his critics and supporters. Reportedly (from good sources), he can certainly do some things with the golf and do it with power than most of us could ever mention, and let's not forget he can do it right or left handed. But his GIR stats were never overly impressive. That doesn't quite mean he isn't a great ballstriker in my eyes, but in other people's eyes it does.
Anyway, here's a swing sequence of O'Grady's, you can click the picture to enlarge it.
And here's a video of Mac O'Grady back in 1988 (he's the guy on the right)
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM O'GRADY'S SWING?
It's easy to see that Mac's lower body action is about as good as it gets, particularly looking at the right foot at impact. Footwork is so often ignored in golf that while you don't need a flat right foot at impact, that's usually a good point to start with when it comes to improving your footwork.
I also think the average golfer can learn from this position, called P6 in MORAD and S&T terms (or P3 in John Erickson's terminology) and the alignments O'Grady has.
The alignments here are beautiful as the club comes down parallel to the ground, the shaft is parallel to the target and the toe is pointing straight up at the sky, dictating a square clubface and a good club path.