Brandel and Wayne D engage in a Spirited Conversation on Facebook

By Wayne | blog

Nick C
Did anyone catch Mr. Chamblee’s comments about Tiger’s excess FSL and his swing being “too complicated” during the Golf Channel’s recap of Sunday at Pebble?

Nick C
Wayne: Since I consider you to be among the smartest golf swing analysts online, I’d love it if you would check out the thread going on in the Golf Teaching Professionals group about Brandel’s comments regarding Tiger’s swing and where he feels he’s going off track.

I’ve seen some great analysis of Tiger’s new swing on your YouTube channel. Brandel specifically doesn’t agree with the amount of Forward Shaft Lean he’s seeing from Tiger and thinks his new swing is ‘too complicated’ for Sundays.

Wayne DeFrancesco
A couple of things are at work here. Tiger made it look easy from the time he won his first US Junior up until he ran into the fire hydrant. No one is used to seeing him struggle, although we have gotten used to it a bit over the last 2 years. We are especially not used to seeing him struggle on Sunday when he has positioned himself to possibly win. Every pro goes through that, except Tiger, until now. Then add that no one on television is going to miss commenting on Tiger’s progress or lack thereof because that is pretty much the only thing any listener wants to hear. TV is inherently hysterical, because anyone with a rational, calm perspective is seen as “boring”.
Thus, we have the Brandel Chamblees of the airwaves, all following in the “tell it like it is” (or like it isn’t) style of Johnny Miller. Chamblee is a thoughtful guy who can make some interesting observations when he is not talking about swing mechanics. As soon as he ventures into swing analysis he loses all credibiltiy. I have done a few videos debating his insights into Tiger’s swing, and the more I see of him the more I am convinced that he a) has it in for Sean Foley and anyone else he perceives as teaching swing “technique”, and b) he sees his criticisms of Tiger as cutting edge and something that is elevating him in the business. The truth is that Chamblee is not a teacher and has not done the prerequisite study required to present a coherent argument regarding golf swing mechanics. He has gone from Tiger’s “dipping”, to Tiger’s “popping up”, and now to Tiger’s overly leaned shaft. I have shown that almost all great players lower during their swings (Chamblee finally admitted as much), then showed that Chamblee himself elevated during the impact interval (as do tons of other greats), and I will show that his assertion about Tiger’s forward lean and the size of his divots (“way bigger than Phil’s) is more nonsense. Lee Trevino, one of the greatest wedge players in golf history, took divots the size of small animals. To argue in front of millions of golfers who suffer from clubhead throwaway that forward leaning the shaft is a bad thing is not helping anyone. In fact, such stupidity sets back the efforts of teachers all over the country. At least Miller is entertaining. Chamblee is simply annoying.

Brandel Chamblee

A couple of things are at work here, you take a generalization that I give to paint a broad picture of a point I am making,( like most majors have been won by guys standing tall and who hit the ball high, or that Tiger has more shaft lean than he had in 2000 , hence the bigger divots), and then you take an exception, like Keegan winning a major bent over or Trevino taking big divots, and try to prove your relevancy by pointing out the exception as if you’ve discovered the pyramids.
I’m aware of these exceptions but given the time constraints of TV I have to get the point across in a very short period of time without access to the video tools that you use in your analysis.
Secondly, I’m unaware of a “prerequisite” study that must be done that exceeds the 36 years I’ve spent studying what works and what doesn’t work in this game. Perhaps it’s sitting in a darkroom filled with machines and computers to tell me what I can learn empirically if that’s the case then I will willfully accept my plight.
Forward shaft lean is necessary, but I have watched countless, very good players, lose their ability to drive the ball well, all because they want a”line of compression” whatever that means. If one transferred their weight properly in the downswing , lag happens naturally as a by product of proper sequence, one doesn’t need to create it, forcibly .
I have no bone to pick with Sean personally , in fact he seems like an interesting man. I do, however, believe he, like you, try’s to over complicate things in an effort to appear valid. The golf swing is as simple or as complicated as one wants to make it. People used to love to say that Mac O Grady was a genius because he could talk esoterically about the swing as you try to Wayne, but meanwhile Harvey Pennick has several players in the hall of fame and Harvey could explain the swing in 3 sentences . Which is quite a contrast to you war and peace video analysis.
Butch Harmon can similarly describe the swing in a short uncomplicated manner, his prerequisite study was to observe, not to sit in a dark room drawing lines on a video screen hence why he is has touring pros fighting to have lessons from him and you have to post videos that are 10 mins long to try to be relevant.
My observation of Tiger’s forward shaft lean was based upon not only bigger divots but poor wedge distance control and shots of his that didn’t stop quickly like his 2nd shot into 6 on Sunday.

Wayne DeFrancesco
Brandel: You have millions of people watching you. What you say counts.
You have an obligation to be correct, and that means that if you’re going to generalize you should include the exceptions. When you speak of time constraints you are making excuses. You know who’s playing in the
tournament and my guess is you know fairly well what points you are going to make before you make them. Why not make them better? If you want to claim
that Tiger is over-leaning the shaft then find something to back you up. I never just say stuff, I show it. My lines don’t make things more
complicated, they make it easier to compare and discuss, because I always
draw the same ones. That way I can tell you for sure that Tiger is not
“coming over the top” even though he is rehearsing it as such, and I can
also tell you that his hands are not “more out” than they were in 2000. I
can also show you side by side of Mickelson hitting wedges with a steeper downswing and just as big divots as Tiger. It’s right there for you to look
at. You would rather rely on your sense of things than on the evidence.

As for my “sitting in a darkroom” I actually spend the vast majority of my time on the lesson tee, and have done so for the past 25
years. The rest of the daylight that I have available I use to practice and play, because I still play competitive golf. I take my stuff out on the
course and post scores. I don’t sit in a television booth and make comments about how the best player of the generation is an idiot for trying to
improve his game by taking instruction. You may not think you have a bone
to pick with Sean but how do you think he feels when you state on TV that it
is “outrageous” for him to think he can teach Tiger anything? You may not
see your attitude and your attacks as hateful or mean spirited but I can
promise you there are many who do. Taking lessons is 100% voluntary. Tiger chose Sean, not the other way around. Sean will simply give Tiger whatever Tiger wants, just like Hank did and just like Butch did. Your taking of
sides with Butch over anyone else is obvious and inappropriate for someone
in your position. I don’t know what kind of bad experience you had with “technique” instruction, but there are more ways to teach a complex game
than sitting in a chair encouraging your student to “relax”. I have heard
you go on about who you consider the great teachers, Ernest Jones, Harvey Penick, Butch Harmon, and I have heard you savage the “modern” instructors
such as Leadbetter, O’Grady and Foley. You have hopped on the “simplicity” wagon and are riding it for all you’re worth, and that’s your right. But to insist that everyone else is making the game more complicated than necessary
is ridiculous. And when you insinuate that teachers like myself are doing
so to extend lesson times and jack up lesson rates (yes, I heard you say
that) I find that highly insulting. You try spending 8 hours on the lesson
tee with people who can’t hit the ball and have no concept of what they are doing and ” keep it simple”. But oh, that’s right, you’ve never taught
before. You wouldn’t last, and you wouldn’t help half of the people who
were paying you. You fear complexity even though it exists, and you long to make simple what is not. If it were so simple you would still be out on
Tour, and everyone would be good.

Brandel Chamblee
You keep doing what you do, I wish you well.
I don’t know who you are or what you do, but if you say you’re good at teaching and a helluva player well then I tip my cap to you.
As for you continuing to play, and making claim to some superiority because you do still compete, all I can say is I’m sure there is a lot left undone by you as a player that you are trying to make up for.

All the best to you,

(Editor: the Facebook conversation happened on or about Feb 18th 2012 and the “I don’t know who you are” comment with it, now the following email Brandel wrote to Wayne on June 2, 2011 obviously showing he knows who Wayne is and that he has seen his videos. Maybe Brandel forgot who Wayne is since then, eight months is a long time.)

Brandel Chamblee’s Email Responding Wayne D’s Video Regarding Brandel’s Golf Channel Side-By-Side Analysis of Tiger and Hunter Mahan

New Message from Contact Form: June 2, 2011

Name: Brandel
Name: Chamblee
Subject: Comments

Message: Wayne,
After hearing from a few people that you had taken issue with my analysis of Tiger’s swing alongside Hunter’s I watched the you tube video that you had made.
I thought it was very good. I look at a lot of these breakdowns on you tube and various other web sites and I always learn something.
Errors that you made were as follows: when I said on camera that his take away wasn’t turned back to the inside, it was in comparison to Hunter’s not Tiger’s in 2000. I don’t think that Tiger should turn the club to the inside, not one bit. He didn’t in 2000 as you pointed out, and as I have pointed out numerous times. Doesn’t take a great eye to see that. I don’t think Tiger should swing like Hunter, I think he should swing like he did earlier in his career when the right arm was higher in the backswing.
When you show Tiger at Pebble, he is trying to hit a fade in that video and you make a point of trashing me, saying he was taking it away in the same manner that he is now. Agreed, but in 2000 at Pebble he wasn’t trying to swing like Hunter Mayhan (sic).
When you throw up Nicklaus and say he was taking it outside, well yes, no great insight there, he was, again he carried the right arm higher into the backswing as Tiger did in 2000.
When you compared the laid off position of Tiger to Hogan and put words in my mouth saying that I said laid off is bad and by reference that Hogan’s swing was bad, Hogan was hitting an iron, so of course he would have the club more laid off and Hogan had a cupped left wrist by the way, which if Tiger could pull off would help him as long as he is going to swing this way.
When you put Tiger 2000 at the British Open up and said he snapped up, I hope you can see that he didn’t not snap up anywhere near the amount he does now. You insinuated to your audience that they were the same and it was at least half as much to the good in 2000.
When I said Tiger ruined any chance of swinging well in the first 2 feet, it was in reference to swinging like Hunter Mayhan (sic) which he can’t and never will be able to pull off.
When you said that when someone says “fundamentals” they are really searching, well, I am not searching at all. In the same way Hogan wasn’t searching or Herbert Warren Wind wasn’t searching when they titled the best selling golf book of all tiem, entitled The 5 fundamentals. Grip, posture, stance, ball position and grip pressure are fundamentals and I am not reaching when I refer to them. Not one bit. Nuances are waggle; takeaway, tempo, rhythm among others.
When you said I was taking a shot at methods, however, you were right. I have seen players all my life, the best players, destroy their games, confidence and careers at the behest of those that think that all should swing one way. Sean Foley does this. Ben Doyle does this. To name two, which is not to say that these two gentlemen are not knowledgeable about the golf swing, they must be, but they don’t seem to be knowledgeable about golf. There is a difference.
Something you need to know is your analysis took over 10 minutes I believe, and you took pains to point out that my camera angles were off and that I should have let Tiger finish his swing. Never in TV does one have the luxury of neither the time that you took nor the tools that you used to dissect the swings and my analysis. The camera angles were courtesy of TV, about 20 minutes before I went on air.
I continue to study the golf swings of great players and enjoy gathering information from as many sources as I can. From time to time I look at your stuff, it’s comprehensive and informative.
Yours and Sean’s attempts to discredit me based on my record are pointless. Sean never played a Tour event and you played 20, making 3 cuts and averaging just under 75. The point is it’s idiotic to think that experience is necessary to speak intelligently about anything. I wasn’t at the Boston Tea Party, but I can tell you about it because I care enough about history to have studied it passionately as I have the golf swing.

Brandel Chamblee

Wayne DeFrancesco
Well, so much for “I don’t know who you are or what you do”. Oh yes, and Hogan’s book happens to be titled “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf”. I always know I’m talking to someone who doesn’t know Hogan when I hear “The Five Fundamentals”, which was the title of a nice book by Steve Elkington.
Oh, and one other thing, about having things left to accomplish as a player: isn’t that why we all continue to play?

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(6) comments

Jared February 20, 2012


This reminds me of how funny I thought it was when Kostis kept analyzing Mickelsons swing this weekend and stating that ‘his back knee is moving less towards the ball than it used to.’ Or something like that.

I couldn’t help but think that CBS has access to an older swing of Phils where Kostis could prove this theory.

I find Brandels comments about you and Foley over complicating the swing in an effort to be relevant/important particularly annoying. I feel like he’s doing that exact thing by criticizing all golf theory not “simple.”

I also find it mind numbing to argue with people who refuse to acknowledge fact.

Fred February 20, 2012

When I think of TV golf analysts I think of those little clowns coming out of a car in the middle of a three ring circus. Faldo, Miller, Kostis, even Breed. Having said that, these guys have useful things to say some of the time. If we are to believe the 80/20 rule, you can throw out 80% of what these guys say, but keep 20% as good instruction. (Maybe more like 95/5 for Faldo and Miller). But which 20%? Guys like Wayne help us understand the 20% that matters most. Real students of the game, like Kostis, are slowly seeing the light. Did you see his lines on the telestrator at Pebble? Given his obvious intelligence and desire to be right, I think Brandel can be a real asset for this type of instruction if he checks the ego at the door and really takes the time to understand and evolve. The best do, including Wayne, whose thoughts on the right elbow position have changed over time. I hope Brandel at least realizes that a camera, a dark room and some good software can be a great help to an instructor and his students.

Tom February 21, 2012

The problem here is that Wayne is teaching and Chamblee is attempting to entertain. However, Chamblee suggests that he is teaching.

Until Chamblee backs up his contentions with video analysis similar to Wayne’s, his comments on the swing really cannot be taken seriously.

Wayne, your exchanges with Chamblee remind me of George Bernard Shaw’s observation about arguing with someone like Chamblee:

“I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

CYS February 21, 2012

It will be interesting to see if Chamblee’s “analysis” changes in the near future. I hope someone keeps an eye on it….fortunately I don’t have a TV. The Shaw quote is perfect.

Ernest April 17, 2013

What players was he talking about that put more lean on the club and then lost their ability to drive the ball well?… The bottom line is he is “Brandel Chamblee” and he is on the golf channel. Alot of people will watch and not know what the hell he is talking about but will assume it makes sense and that they are learning something. But if you know anything about the golf swing or have any degree of common sense you will know he is full of crap and he loves to hear himself talk.

Johan October 7, 2013

I find it quite annoying listening to Chamblee, Miller, Faldo and even Kostis on TV. Especially since I thought these guys knew what they were talking about and I used their comments as advice in my own attempts to become a better golfer. I think they have an obligation to us, their audience, not to speak about things they know nothing about. For instance, I’ve been working on controlling my fade/draw using the advice Kostis is giving on GolfChannel – which only led to the conclusion that I’m a rubbish golfer. When listening to Wayne D, and Sean Foley, during the last months I have been able to understand what makes the ball draw/fade and how to control it. The physics explained by Wayne D and Sean S are in some parts very different than what Kostis believes to be accurate as far as I understand.

I also believe most of what Chamblee says in the conversation posted above confirms Wayne D’s chritisism of him. We all know what Chamblee said in the videos and we all can watch them as many times as we want in order to reevaluate how we perceive his comments. Chamblee should perhaps spend some more time watching the videos himself and listen to his own comments before denying them.

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