Katie Heindl, one of my excellent colleagues, is always on the lookout for the best in offseason vacationing on her Summer Vacation Watch, which involves scanning player social media sites for the best in offseason vacationing. Recently, a growing number of NBA players have taken up golfing — albeit only the boldest have ventured into the world of competitive college golf — and she informs me of new golfing NBA players for analysis.
The most recent of these golfing hucksters is JaVale McGee, who appears to be utilizing his offseason to prepare for his next season in Phoenix, where golf courses are never more than a stone’s throw away. McGee is on a beach vacation and has requested that Cobra bring him some sticks so that he can enjoy the resort course nearby. Some, like Kyle Kuzma, were shocked when he released a video of his barefoot golf swing.
Salute to JaVale for making the pro move here — if you don’t believe me, just ask Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Justin Thomas — but with August upon us, I can’t help but want to whip out the Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision camera to illustrate the good and bad from JaVale’s swing.
The important thing is that you’re an athlete, JaVale, so let’s swing like one. This is all about the arms and shoulders, and we need to incorporate the lower body more. To begin, consider the backswing, which is quite short due to the lack of hip rotation. We might be in serious business if we can maintain twisting those hips and bring the club back a little farther (given his length, he doesn’t need a particularly lengthy backswing to generate power).
That said, there’s a lot I enjoy about where we’re at in terms of impact. The feet are quiet, which is impressive considering he isn’t wearing shoes, and look at how he has maintained his head still and behind the ball. This is great, however we’d like to keep the same base but add a hip turn to it so we can really cook with some gas.
The follow through, on the other hand, needs a lot of work because it’s evident that he’s trying to scoop the ball into the air based on how quickly his trail arm collapses. We want a lengthy, prolonged follow through to create a huge, sweeping circle, not a folded up circle like this. It’s natural for me to want to lift the ball up, but that’s what the loft on the club is for, and we want to be hitting down on the ball to get it to go up, then finishing with extension and high hands. This will also be easier if you have more hip turn on the backswing to generate natural force rather than trying to create it with your arms on the follow through.
Overall, there’s some good foundational things here, but plenty of room to grow, which is really what golf (and life) is all about.