It’s almost the holiday season, and with that season comes the opportunity to watch movies. One of my all-time favourite sports movies is Happy Gilmore, in which an ex-hockey player, played by Adam Sandler, takes up golf and uses a driving technique that is half golf drive and half hockey slapshot.
It’s a technique that’s unlikely to be effective. Or is it? In fact, Fox Sport Network’s “Sport Science” studied Happy Gilmore’s technique to see if it could actually yield more driving yards. As a subject, they used pro golfer and 2008 PGA Player of the Year, Padraig Harrington. Harrington learned the Happy Gilmore technique, took some test wacks, then compared those drives to his average driving distance of 296 yards.
Rather surprisingly, Harrington’s Happy Gilmore drives were significantly longer than his traditional drives. Truly significant – in fact, 30 yards longer! Of interest, although initiated by a moving run-up, his body position during the swing and at contact were similar to that of his stationary technique.
The explanation? The moving run-up gave him momentum as he took his swing, and also improved his ability to make a larger shoulder turn for better torso torque. The result was an increase in club-head speed from 107 miles per hour to 114 miles per hour!
So why don’t more golfers use the Happy Gilmore technique? The risk of inconsistency and inaccuracy. As Harrington said, “I’m too cautious for that.”
Check out this video of the test.
Dick Moss, Editor,
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[tags]physical education,golf,golf driving,Happy Gilmore,>