Putting aside President Trump's policies and ideas, his personality and Twitter account, at the end of the day, Trump is a golfer. And we’re Golf Digest, so let’s just focus on that.
We called in golf swing coach Martin Hall of the Golf Channel to take a look at Trump’s swing and give us his take. Trump boasts a 2.9 handicap, so his swing is certainly worth watching. We were at the opening of Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, and took a video of his swing there. We sent that video to Hall, and overall he pretty impressed with Trump’s swing.
“Needless to say he’s an interesting man,” says Hall. “In keeping with his character, he has an interesting golf swing.”
At first glance, it looks like Trump should hit a slice – but he doesn’t. Hall says that he’s closing the face down at impact with his shoulders to avoid the dreaded slice.
Hall hasn’t ever talked to Trump about his swing, but he doesn’t think Trump has had much formal teaching. The swing lacks that sort of polish that’s usually a sign of professional instruction. But that’s not a bad thing.
“He has an effective-looking golf swing,” says Hall. “He’s a player.”
Hall said the nonconformist move in his backswing is refreshing. We’re in the middle of an era of instruction where people are looking for the perfect swing, trying to take it back on the perfect plane. Trump doesn’t follow that trend.
“In some ways,” Hall says, “he has similarities in the way he moves a golf club to Bobby Jones and Sam Snead. His backswing is rounded, he has a very flat shoulder turn, and he sways off it. His downswing comes over the top, but he traps it very well on the way down. It isn’t pretty, but it’s reliable. It says something about having skill rather than style.”
There are plenty of golfers with pretty swings that can’t score. Wouldn’t you rather be the kind of player that can score, but might not have a swing that makes people stop and jealously stare?
“The job of the golf swing is to repeat an effective ball flight,” says Hall. “And Trump has that. It’s a very big muscle swing. It’s a free swing. His body releases through the ball, there’s no handsy flip. That’s why it works well.”
In one of the best compliments a teacher can give you, Hall said that if Trump came to him asking for lessons – a scenario Hall admitted will likely never happen –Hall would send him away. The move Trump puts on the ball isn’t perfect, but it’s been working for him and there’s no reason to think it’ll stop working for him. It’s not a swing Hall would have players copy, but Trump has it so grooved, it’s not worth messing with.