Golf Digest editors picks

TOP 150 ATHLETE GOLFERS
Swing Sequence: Michael Jordan
NO. T- 35 / 3 HANDICAP*
* ESTIMATED

November 2009
Swing Sequence: Michael Jordan

In 1984, Michael Jordan came into the golf shop at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) to ask if I'd give him lessons. I had no idea it would lead to a 25-year teacher-student relationship and such a lasting friendship. Michael is intensely loyal to UNC. He even stuck with this UNC alum when, in 1988, I became the general manager and PGA director of golf at rival Duke University.

As his schedule permits, Michael comes down for lessons a few days at a time several times per year. This year, we spent extra time together leading up to the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at Bethpage. Our routine is to work things out on the range and then apply the lessons on the course. As much as Michael loves to play, we often get in 36 or more holes a day.

Michael takes a cerebral approach to the game and has an uncanny ability to learn visually. He'll play a round with Fred Couples and come back with a little of Freddie's outside takeaway. Same thing when he's been with Tiger: You see the focused routine.

In the past year, we've worked hard to keep MJ more centered over the ball and keep his shaft on plane (frame 3). This has improved his consistency and sharpened his ball-striking. He sustains the clubhead lag beautifully on the downswing (4); you don't see the typical (amateur) clubhead throwaway here. And look at his flat left wrist at impact (5), similar to a tour player!

-- Ed Ibarguen
MJ's Teacher (pictured above, third from right)

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