Even if he isn’t your favorite character to ever hit the hardwood, almost everyone agrees that Charles Barkley is pretty good at what he does. While Chuck never won a championship, he still had quite the career on the NBA hardwood; he’s since proved to be a natural on television, too. When it comes to golf, however, the legendary NBA player has fallen on tougher times.
Although he’s improved in recent years, Charles Barkley’s ugly golf swing has become famous (or infamous) in its own right. The story behind the swing, however, is more than just a peek behind the curtain; it’s a cautionary tale for golfers everywhere.
Charles Barkley is a natural when it comes to basketball
As he said in his iconic commercial, Charles Barkley wasn’t the best role model. The Round Mound of Rebound, however, was quite the basketball player.
Barkley became a star at Auburn, where he showed incredible athleticism that belied his figure. He spent three seasons with the Tigers, leading the school into the NCAA tournament, averaging 14.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game, and becoming a fan favorite.
The forward left school and entered into the 1984 NBA draft, joining the Philadelphia 76ers as the fifth-overall pick. While there were some behavior issues and team changes along the way, Barkley spent 16 successful seasons in the association.
While it’s been quite a while since Sir Charles hit the court, his basketball talents have extended to the TV studio. He’s since become a key member of TNT’s NBA coverage, introducing him to another generation of sports fans.
Chuck’s golf swing, however, is another story
Although he might not look like the most athletic man ever, Charles Barkley proved to be a capable NBA player. On the golf course, however, things are a bit different.
While Barkley loves to golf and, by all accounts, used to be a solid golfer, his swing deteriorated over the years. At its worst, it featured a bizarre hitch in the middle of the downswing, leaving viewers to wonder if their cable or Internet had cut out.
With all of that being said, though, Barkley’s swing has improved. Although you’re never going to mistake him for Tiger Woods, Chuck is certainly looking a bit more capable these days.
What went wrong with Charles Barkley and his golf swing?
As mentioned above, Charles Barkley was once a decent golfer; similar to his basketball game, he was able to find success with a blend of finesse and power. So what went wrong that ruined his golf swing?
According to Josh Sens of Golf.com, Barkley’s issues began when he was traded to Phoenix; there, he felt like he had to up his game to keep pace in the golf-crazy desert and started taking lessons.
“Formal instruction, though, was only one of Barkley’s problems,” Sens wrote. “As [Roy] Green [a former Cardinals receiver who golfed with Sir Charles] sees it, a deeper issue lay in his buddy’s psyche, a mix of obstinacy and open-mindedness that got him seeking insights from random passersby but preventing him from recognizing when to stop.”
Green also explained that the stutter, which came to dominate Barkley’s swing, was born in similar circumstances when the NBA veteran asked a pro for some advice.
“This pro got Chuck to make a slight pause at the top,” Green explained. “And the next couple of rounds, man, he was smoking it. He was playing the best golf I’d ever seen from him, shooting 75, 76. We all said, ‘You got it, Chucky! This is it.” He, of course, didn’t have it, and that pause evolved into a swing-altering issue.
The tale of Charles Barkley’s golf swing can serve as a cautionary warning to golfers and those who have never hit the course alike. Whether you’re playing basketball, hitting the golf course, or anything in between, there’s only so much advice you can absorb; at a certain point, you have to trust yourself, grip it, and rip it.