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Friday, March 4, 2011

How to Copy Josh Broadaway... If You Dare

Let me say up front that I doubt most of you want to. Still, his swing is fascinating so I thought it would be fun to take a look at it.

For those of you who don't know who Josh Broadaway is... he's been playing the Nationwide Tour for a while now and he's at the Honda Classic this week. You can't miss him; he's the guy who swings crosshanded. I didn't say he putts crosshanded; he swings crosshanded. And I know Chris Couch has chipped crosshanded before, but we're talking full swings here. (BTW, Josh putts lefthanded.)

First, here's how his swing looks:



Wild, eh? You might be surprised to know he's not the only one to play this way. Albert Crews from Big Break VI also played this way. Here's David Toms's instructor Rob Akins discussing it:



I hate that the video is cut off before they finished talking about it, but you can hear Rob tell the big advantage of this swing: Distance. You get a huge lag coming down into the ball, which translates into a lot of clubhead speed. As Rob points out, that can make chipping more difficult and he doesn't really know how Albert figured it out. The simple answer is that you just don't cock your wrists -- or at least, you cock them very little -- when you chip. If you can putt crosshand, you can probably chip crosshand.

One thing that got left off this video is that, if you want to try this, you have to clear your hips very fast. Otherwise, you'll probably hook the ball off the golf course. In that sense, it's not much different from playing with an extremely strong grip. (I talked about that when I posted on Bernhard Langer's swing.)

Apparently Homer Kelley documented this swing in his Golf Machine book as the "10-1-E Cross Hand Grip", which allowed me to find this blog post from the Richie3Jack Golf Blog.

Here's a Japanese video of the technique, notable because it's in slo-mo. You'll note that the player starts with the club already cocked, almost like a baseball swing. Apparently the video includes 3 tips to performing this swing properly, but I can't read Japanese:



And finally, just to round out this little tour, apparently some players call this a "cack-handed" grip. Here's an interview with Scottish pro John Gallagher, and it shows him playing several shots this way:



Maybe it's not everything you ever wanted to know about swinging crosshand -- maybe it's more than you wanted to know -- but there you have it. Hey, I wonder if Charles Barkley has considered trying this...?

19 comments:

  1. I have played with a cross handed player before - not something you get used to seeing in a hole or two. :-) He never said anything about extra distance. His reason was that he could keep his ball in play better.

    Is it Chris Stroud on the PGA Tour who plays cross handed from 100 yards and in ? Pretty amazing to watch him.

    Hank Aaron was a cross handed hitter coming into the major leagues, and he could hit a few home runs, but he didn't become a consistent power hitter until he switched to the traditional grip.

    LOL - cross handed wouldn't stop Barkley's head from dropping 2 feet.

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  2. I don't know if Stroud pitches and chips crosshanded or not. I couldn't find anything on the web about it. Chris Couch is the only one I can think of who did. He chipped in to win at the Zurich Classic in 2006, but I don't know if he still does it.

    This crosshanded swing certainly does give you a lot of lag, though; if you do it right, it should give you more distance. I imagine it feels kinda like throwing a Frisbee® left-handed.

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  3. COUCH ! Yes - dopey me. Not like I didn't just read it in your article.

    The amount of lag is great - the problem is having your weak hand working the release. You might as well play one handed with left handed clubs (as a right hander)

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  4. I'm not so sure it's that hard, Court. I went outside and tried a few swings that way, and it actually felt pretty controlled.

    The trick is that the hand at the end of the club isn't really doing anything except stabilizing the club. As long as your hands are together and the "end" hand stays relaxed so you can focus on the left hand movement, the club doesn't feel any heavier than with a standard grip. Then you just think about throwing a Frisbee® disc.

    If you want to try it to see how it feels, here's the grip that worked for me (with a right-handed club):

    Put your right hand at the end of the grip, but don't extend your thumb down the shaft. Grip it like you're making a fist, ok? Then put your left hand on the grip normally, and make sure it's snug against that right fist. Then just try to "fling" the club as if you were throwing a disc.

    I can see where this might be a real good way to use a club left-handed when you're on the wrong side of a tree. With just a little practice, I bet you could hit a left-handed 8-iron a good distance... might even be worth carrying one for just such an occasion.

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  5. Right - controlled - but not powerful.

    I've played around with cross handed grips in three sports - baseball, tennis, and golf. It was fine just to make smooth swings, I just didn't get any power out of it.

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  6. I also have tried the cross handed grip but, with no success. When I was younger and played baseball, I used the cross handed grip and was very successful with it. In fact, I could knock a homerun over the right field fence 95% of the time. Obviously, I batted cleanup to bring in the runs. I wish I still had that 95% success rate in my golf game. I'm working on it.

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  7. That's two very different takes on the same technique, but I'm not surprised at that. I imagine there's more involved than just the grip if you want to have success with this move.

    In golf, one size doesn't fit all. That's what makes the game so frustrating.

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  8. I have a 7 year old son that plays cross-handed and he won 6 tourneys against 10 year olds this summer. The season is over and I'm wondering if I should switch his hands, turn him around left handed or just let him keep swing cockeyed. What do you think?

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    1. Hi,
      Did you switch a grip?
      I have a 7 year old son who plays cross handed..

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  9. That's complicated, Looney. I'll do a post about it, ok?

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  10. I've been swinging cross gripped now for 10+ years. It's the only way I feel comfortable swinging the the club. Once I figured out how hit the ball straight, I was amazed at the consistent distance. I can drive 250 to 300+ plus yards. Swinging my irons is the toughest to master, But for some one to say "I tried it it, and it didn't make a difference in power" is because its not your normal grip. You'll never get those results unless you change your grip, and practice for years as you would with your grip. Bottom line is if your not cross gripped you'll never be comfortable doing it, just like I'm not comfortable swinging with a normal grip.

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  11. Thanks for the comment, Cork. I wondered if any crosshanders would give their side of the debate.

    I don't know of any research that's been done to determine if some people are naturally crosshanded. I suspect it's just been assumed that it's "deviant" in some way, just as left-handedness was once viewed that way. Many people don't realize that our word sinister comes from the Middle English word sinistre, meaning "on the left."

    Some things never change. Anyone who's noticeably different can expect to be marginalized, can't they? But one thing is clear; It's certainly difficult for a crosshanded player to make it on Tour -- Josh is the only one I know of who's had any success, and he's not a standout. The main reason he gets attention is because he's crosshanded. (Well, he's a really funny guy too.)

    I wonder if any research will ever be done to determine if crosshanded golfers are at a disadvantage to "regular" golfers... or whether it's just a matter of crosshanded golfers being so drastically outnumbered on Tour?

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  12. There was a cross-handed out of Rugby ND in the 90s that could really play and did well in many area tournaments and long-drive competitions. Dude could really move it but I do believe he eventually
    injured himself swinging that way... ripped the muscles from his rib cage or something like that... too much torque. I think he played that way from putter to driver. Dude's name was Russ S.

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  13. I remember seeing a piece on European Golf Weekly a couple of years back about a crosshander on the ET, but I don't remember his name. I wonder if it was the same guy?

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  14. I've been playing golf since I was in my early twenties. I too do everything with every club 'cross handed'. I was shooting regular mid 80's to low 90's. My brother paid for me to have golf lessons in an attempt to get me to grip the clubs properly. After 10 lessons I was shooting regular 130's. I missed the ball more often than I hit it! I was on the verge of quitting golf completely. I then bumped into a guy at a driving range who informed me that his freind held the clubs the same way as I did, 'cross handed'. I went back to my original grip and fell in love with the game all over again! I'm in my mid 50's now. I go on golfing holidays, and constantly hit around the 80 - 90 mark. I love my golf! Sure, I'm never gonna be one of the greats, but hey! Are you?

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  15. I think u may have missed the point of what he is doing. Iswing the same way he does. Really his grip isn't backwards, his clubs are. He is left handed using a left handed grip on right handed clubs. The proper grip on left handed clubs is left hand lower. If u truly want to try what he is doing then don't change ur grip. Use the same grip u are now (right hand lower) but do it with left handed clubs. That would be the equivalent of how he swings.

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    1. Bear in mind that if you're a rightie and you change to left-handed clubs, you now have to swing over your left shoulder instead of your right. That completely changes your body motion, moreso than just reversing your grip. I understand what you're saying -- that you have your dominant hand in the low position, where I wouldn't if I just changed my grip -- but I would have to relearn all the body movements, so I'm not sure that would be a fair comparison either. After all, most of us aren't equally flexible when turning both ways.

      Still, I see your point and I don't disagree. The fact that his low hand is his dominant hand would definitely play a part in how he controls his swing, and I didn't take that into account. Thanks for posting this!

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  16. Im glad i found this article, i am a full crosshanded player and have been ever since i picked up a golfclub. My dad showed me how to swing lefty and righty but neither felt comfortable as playing crosshanded, lefty grip with right handed golf clubs. I consistently hit low 70s after getting back into golf after years of absence from the game and have found the only problem with it can be the potential for injury if im not disciplined in all of my shots as a comment pointed out previously. I cant describe how accurate i can hit my irons and definitely believe if you dont start crosshanded and it would be near impossible to master, just as if i was to try to switch to a basic grip, i would never master

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    1. I'm always glad to hear when a post helps. Thanks!

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