(Editor’s note: This first appeared at ARMCHAIR GOLF in January 2008.)
THE GREATEST GOLF SWINGS of all time. Who’s on your list? How do you even determine such a thing? Beauty? Effectiveness? Wins? Majors?
It’s subjective, a matter of opinion, which I think will make it a fun subject to explore as an occasional series.
Here’s a quick list off the top of my head: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Harry Vardon, Mickey Wright, Gene Littler, Moe Norman, Gene Sarazen, Annika Sorenstam, Johnny Miller, Vijay Singh, Lee Trevino, Steve Elkington and today’s subject, Sam Snead.
The graceful, athletic Snead had a drop-dead gorgeous golf swing and was a splendid ball-striker. Wrote Al Barkow in Sam, “The sound heard when Sam Snead hit an iron shot was like the door of a Rolls-Royce slamming shut.”
“I know many of us pros would go out and watch Sam hit balls,” Jack Fleck said. “It would help our rhythm, timing and balance immediately.”
“He is, in a word, an athletic wonder,” wrote Herbert Warren Wind when Snead was in his 60s.
As for getting any clues from the man himself, Snead once said, “Golf is played with the arms.”
The File on Sam Snead
Nickname(s): Slammin’ Sam
Era: Late 1930s through 1960s
Tour wins: 82
Major wins: 7
Other: In World Golf Hall of Fame. Played on seven Ryder Cup teams. Won Greensboro Open eight times. Honorary Masters starter. Never won the U.S. Open. Balky putter throughout his career.
Case for swing greatness: Power, grace, tempo, balance and longevity. Snead’s first Tour win came in 1937; his last in 1965.
−The Armchair Golfer