Presidential downswing: An expert analysis of Donald Trump’s golf swing

November 5, 2017

Here’s what GOLF Top 100 Teachers Jason Carbone, the Director of Instruction at Baltusrol Golf Club, and Ed Ibarguen, the Director of Instruction at the Duke University Golf Club, see in President Donald Trump’s swing and what they say you can copy to improve your game.

Jason Carbone: How you can hit Presidential quality golf shots

First off, I haven’t seen him swing since I worked at The Bear’s Club 12 years ago, and it’s obvious he has made significant progress and improvement. Once you get past a couple of his unique moves, the area that really matters — halfway down to halfway through — is extremely solid, and one that can post some really good scores.

The below photo shows a couple of the moves that, at first glance, might cause people to question the motion. The club goes away well to the inside with a fairly flat shoulder turn, and the left elbow disconnects and doesn’t fold down late in his follow through. Those parts of the swing are moving the slowest and are the easiest for people to criticize.

But not so fast.

The two photos below show an athletic transition, a draw path and a stable clubface that will produce quality golf shots. And anyone looking to produce crisp draws with power and accuracy can take away a few key points from our president’s swing that can help their own game.

First, he allows himself to make a good turn back with his shoulders, hips and knees, but the part I like most is when he transitions into his downswing and keeps his left arm across his chest. This will set up the slightly in-to-out draw path and quality impact we see through the strike.

Make a free turn, keep that lead arm well across your chest during the start of the downswing, and no matter how limited your time — or how stressful your job is, like the Commander in Chief — you’ll hit presidential quality golf shots at any age.

Ed Ibarguen: Three takeaways for senior golfers

1. Pre-shot activity

I love the practice swings taken directly to the side of the golf ball that exhibit a flowing back-and-through movement where the clubhead simply brushed the grass. So many seniors take no practice swing or one that is mechanically stiff and often result in large practice-swing divots. Additionally, I really like how he immediately stepped into his setup and, without hesitation, started his real swing. The majority of amateur golfers take far too much time setting up in order to give themselves time to ponder their swing thoughts. The result of this slow — even static — process can lead to errant shot-making. A golfer’s primary goal should always be to KNOW what you want to do BEFORE you step into your setup and then simply: DO IT! Trump does that beautifully.

2. In-swing

As golfers age they lose body flexibility. The overall length of this swing is senior golfer short, but he is doing several things to help him generate an on-plane downswing with a body maximum swing arc. This all adds up to a flowing, assertive tempo that helps him generate some excellent clubhead speed. Although the backswing is clearly inside and under plane, notice how well he uses his legs and hips to help him turn away from the ball. A senior golfer who employs this kind of lower-body activity will reap the benefits of his arms feeling lighter and be able to swing to a maximum position. This is the opposite of the heavy feel of giving your arms the responsibility to get your body turned away in the backswing.

Trump corrects his under-plane backswing by rerouting the downswing directly onto a slightly inside clubhead path. This on-plane rerouting move allows him to nicely clear his right side through the ball on the downswing. Also, this move avoids the typical senior downswing fault of getting the clubhead over the top, which results in a too steep and too outside-to-inside downswing through the ball. Senior golfers would do well to adopt these movements as they would help them create the wonderful tempo and flow of Trump’s swing.

3. Improvement and adjustment

If I were to make a suggestion that will make this swing better, it’s simply to work on better balance, starting with his feet. His weight is too far back toward his heels at address and it continues to hang there throughout the swing. That weight distribution issue is why we see a loss of balance as the golfer finishes his swing. My recommendation would be to move the weight more forward. Ideally, he would simply feel his weight at address set more from the balls of the feet to the front of the heels on the insides of both feet. This slight adjustment will give him more consistency in his ball-striking.