Those pretty little swings - Part 3

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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but Editor Mark Flanagan thought he would give it a go anyway, picking his all-time 18 best-looking golf swings.
Posted on
February 25, 2023
Mark Flanagan in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

6) Fred Couples

How can you not love Freddie Couples' swing. That gorgeous languid takeaway, creating a powerful move which led to the American being nicknamed ‘boom, boom’.

Technically you can pick a few holes in what he did. Couples was incredibly upright at address but critically had great hands and, like every big hitter, he came on the inside to wonderful effect.

Couples also, arguably, had the best-looking follow through in all of golf. Just poetry.

5) Retief Goosen

There must be something in the water in South Africa. Between Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen came Retief Goosen, who was elegance personified.

Goosen had a golden period in his early 30s, winning two US Opens in 2001 and 2004, built on the back of tremendous hard work as he grooved his action.

His swing was almost as perfect-looking as Oosthuizen’s and with more of the languid beauty of Els.

4) Steve Elkington

When you are making a list of the best-looking swings in golf, Steve Elkington’s name is one of the first you think of.

Visually it looks more textbook than textbook… the perfect speed, arc… everything in fact. You begin to wonder how he ever hit a bad shot.

The Aussie always looked in so much control. He made the considerable effort of hitting a golf ball long distances look nonchalant.

3) Louise Suggs

When nobody took much interest in women’s golf, Louise Suggs was swinging the golf club just about as well as anyone ever has.

Born in 1923, Suggs won 61 LPGA Tour events and was the rock which the women’s game was built around in the 50s.

Aesthetically it is a thing of real beauty. Suggs was obviously loose-limbed, the clubhead flowing around her body with sublime grace.

2) Tom Purtzer

For quite some time in the late 70s and early 80s, Purtzer had what is widely-regarded as the best-looking swing in golf. It is a wonderful combination of understated athletic ability, balance, poise and a head that barely moved a millimetre.

His position at the top of the swing is perfect and all achieved with virtually no hip turn (just try it at home). On the way through his hips hardly moved either, which is something no modern golfer does. For example when Tiger Woods was in his pomp his hips faced the target at impact.

However when it comes to stability and repeatability… Purtzer remains difficult to beat.

He won five times on Tour between 1977 and 1991 and his best Major finish was fourth – 1977 US Open and 1982 Open.

1) Sam Snead

A thing of beauty, it is impossible to get tired of watching Sam Snead hit a golf ball. The rhythm is almost hypnotic and the power generated is impressive. If you watch Snead closely, when he gets to the very top he almost raises himself up an extra inch to maximise shoulder turn and the club dips well below the perpendicular. He also interestingly set up for a slight pull with his face pointing at 12 o’clock and his feet at 1. The longevity and success of his career is testament to his swing and his athletic prowess.


Part 1, Part 2


Other articles in the 18 Club Series:
The 17th hole at Sawgrass’s 18 most iconic moment
Augusta’s holes ranked from 1 to 18
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About Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan has spent 25 years as a sports journalist. He has written for multiple golf magazines and can often be found missing putts from inside gimme range.

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