Golf Swing Analysis Rickie Fowler’s “Minor Changes” Part 1

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Ricky Fowler has decided that if he is to be a great player he can’t do it on his own and he can’t do it with the swing he grew up with, and that he needs the help of Butch Harmon to enable him to achieve his goals. Ricky brought the new swing to Torrey Pines and we have a nice shot of a 4 iron to compare with Fowler’s 2010 swing. Fowler has missed both cuts this year, and before the Arizona tournament he was interviewed by a local magazine. Here are some interesting quotes made when asked about the changes he was working on with Harmon: “Just taking what I have and tuning it and cleaning it up and making it the best that it can be. I’ve never been a player where I’ve been very mechanical or anything like that, so I wouldn’t say it’s any major swing changes, just taking what I have and cleaning it up and making it consistent and more repeatable”. “As far as the basics, cleaning up the takeaway, getting myself started in the right position, trying to shorten up the backswing. My tendency is to get a little long and the club gets stuck behind me. So very minor things.”

Huh? Really? If anyone takes a look at this video and says “oh yeah, just minor changes, no big deal” I would be surprised. The changes in the backswing are huge. It is totally different, and since it was idiosyncratic to begin with you can guess that the idea to “fix” it would be to make it conventional. I would say “be careful when you mess with a talent oriented swing”. Fowler knows what his swing does and he is a wonderful player. His move is all his own and he is making a nice living. It seems that 4 years is too long to wait to be amongst the greats, so he is going to tear it down (and trust me, when you change any backswing this much the rest of it just begins to feel totally new) while pretending that he is not making “any major changes”. Yikes. If he believes that he’s not as smart as I thought he was. And as you will see here, half a new swing and half and old swing don’t balance out very well and unintended technical consequences are bound to happen. And they do. One thing is for sure: this will be interesting to watch. Fowler may be good enough to actually do well with this but I would say that the probability is low. And the other thing that I am saying is that I don’t know if Butch Harmon has the chops to help Fowler if it gets complicated. I like Fowler and hope he succeeds, but I have a bad feeling about this. As soon as somebody hears that he is “going back to his old swing” please let me know.

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  1. Hi Wayne
    Would love to see your analysis of Thomas Pieters' swing. I'm a tall player and I've noticed how steep his plane is. Good swing to try and copy?