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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gregory Havret's Golf Swing

Today we're taking a look at the swing of the runner-up at the U.S. Open. Before he turned pro, Gregory Havret won 3 French Amateur Championships and 1 European Amateur Championship, as well as the Omnium National (also in France). On the ET he has 3 wins -- the Italian Open, The Barclays Scottish Open, and the Johnny Walker -- and he's currently 13th in the Race to Dubai. Some players would consider that a career!

I found a couple of clips showing his swing -- one from the front and one down the line -- that demonstrate just how simple it is. He's just over 6'1" and hits the ball around 284, according to the Euro Tour website, which isn't terribly long for his height. But as this first clip from the 2009 BMW Italian Open shows, this isn't a flaw in his swing; he's simply decided not to swing hard.

As you can see, there's not a lot of side-to-side or up-and-down movement in his swing. That's part of the reason his game held up so well at Pebble. I don't intend to dissect his swing or anything -- the rhythm and simplicity are the big things I'd like you to notice -- but I would like to point out a couple of things in this slow-mo clip taken during the U.S. Open pro-am last Wednesday:

First, I want you to notice how his right elbow swings in front of and past his hip on the downswing, like I mentioned in the Elbow Room post a couple of weeks ago. This lets him swing freely at the ball.

The other thing I want you to look at is where his arms are at the top of the backswing, and then again at the top of the follow-through. His follow-through is more upright than his backswing -- just look at how high that right arm is at the end! (See the space between his shoulder and forearm?) This is not something most teachers are going to tell you to do, but I suspect Havret does it to keep from pulling across the ball at contact and hitting a pull-hook. (In this clip you can see that his feet are lined up straight down the fairway, but he starts the ball to the right and draws it back to the target.) If you have problems with a pull-hook (or even just a pull), you might consider Havret's approach.

After all, this is a very solid swing that just took 2nd at Pebble Beach. You could do lots worse!


  1. Sure is a pretty swing - love the smooth tempo.

    Not sure what his height has to do with length off the tee. He plays a control game - not a power game. If he can average 284, he can crank it over 300 if he wants/needs.

    Power isn't always based on height/leverage alone. Guys like Woosnam could hit 300 yard drives back when 300 yards actually meant somthing. :-)

  2. I wouldn't argue that, Court. My point is simply that taller players generally do hit it farther. That big arc they get just translates to more distance, even without a lot of effort.

    The classic example is Ernie Els. At 6'3" (1 1/2" taller than Gregory), The Big Easy averaged 300 yards until the knee problem zapped his confidence and he struggled with wildness. (That was never a problem before "the knee"!) Nothing about Havret lacks confidence, if you ask me. ;-)

    However, after digging a little more at the ET site, I found that Havret used to be several yards longer, so you're probably right about him throttling back.