LeBron James is a man of many talents. He’s one of the (if not the) greatest basketball players of all-time. He was an immensely talented football prospect in high school. However, we have found the sport that he does not excel in … yet.
I say yet because I’m here to help fix LeBron James’ golf swing, which we got a glimpse of in a video that hit the internet of him taking some cuts at TopGolf in Las Vegas.
— Hoops ON Tap (@SONTHoops) October 6, 2022
Look, it’s not great, but we’re going to break out the Konica Minolta SwingVision camera and get to work. I believe we can get LeBron’s swing right if he’s willing to step into the lab with me. I wish we had a better video here that showed contact, but we can address some things even with this grainy cell phone footage.
First, let’s start with the backswing, where’s two things that concern me most and they’re going to be connected to the thing that stands out, which is how short his backswing is.
The first is the left arm, which we want much straighter on the way back to create the length needed to get that swing speed up. As you see, there’s a considerable bend at the top, which makes it much harder to consistently get back down to the ball and is also keeping him from creating the speed we want. Thinking about keeping that arm straighter is gonna naturally give him more width (and get that right arm from being so stuck inside) and get him higher hands which will clear him to get a more full turn.
Compounding the issue is the lack of hip turn here. Look at that right hip, it barely opens up. I know James has to have the flexibility for this part, it’s just about letting the hips turn. He wants to think about that hip opening up and feel like it’s turning behind him, which will, again, allow him to turn back through and create that speed.
Once we get that squared away, we can talk about the downswing and impact. It’s hard to critique a lot here when the backswing is causing most of the problems, but let’s hit some positives. For one, there’s not too much head movement and his eyes stay on the ball at impact, which is good, and there is an effort to rotate the hips and transfer body weight through impact — but again, we need more backswing rotation to make that really work.
There are some things to work on, though. For one, as an athlete he knows everything starts with the feet, and that back foot slippage is not what we want. We want to rotate and pivot off that foot more and slide it less — Scottie Scheffler is the exception, not the rule here for golf footwork.
Also, if you notice that lead elbow is really bent and pulling through at impact, which I’m guessing leads LeBron’s miss to mostly be to the right. We’ll get to the followthrough in a moment, but that front side is bailing out at impact and pulling the club through from outside to in, which is going to put cut spin on the ball. We want that to be more of a driving action down and through the ball, holding that shoulder in there a bit longer and attacking down, rather than pulling it through and around the body.
You can really see how that looks on the followthrough as we want these hands much higher, making an arcing swing down to the ball and then up and out with extension. Instead, you can see how LeBron comes much more flat and around himself, which is why that left elbow is so tight to the body instead of being out and up.
In short, LeBron’s swing, like many golf beginners, has some flaws but I find it hard to believe he couldn’t figure it out with some more time spent on the range with the right teacher. (LeBron, if you are reading this: That means me, call me, I got you.)