Swing Analysis: John Cook

By Wayne | Videos: Swing Analysis

A swing analysis such as this one is altogether different from a lesson video. John, an old friend dating back to when we spent time together in New York City at the All-American banquet in 1979, was nice enough to come out and hit some shots at the back of the range at Isleworth after we finished the first round of the Isleworth Invitational. John shot a 2-under 70 in spite of a triple bogey 6 on the par 3 11th, and would eventually shoot another 70 and finish second to Nick O’Hern. John has watched some of my swing analysis videos and finds them entertaining, and was curious to see what kind of observations I would make about his swing.
The key word here is “observations”. When a player comes for a lesson I assume that they are not happy with what they are doing presently and are looking for advice regarding how to improve. I look at these swings with a critical eye, and I try to figure out what may be causing the swing to be producing less than acceptable results. If the player has a handicap there are always going to be things that can be tweaked, and I use my own preferences to give the student a prescription for change. The student has voluntarily come to me for precisely that: they expect me to use my knowledge and experience to provide them means to get better and they are willing to pay me to do so. John did not ask me to comment on his action, and he made no indication that he was unhappy at all. Thus, we have a classic tour swing analysis, just like I do with swings from television or from YouTube, only in this case I was able to film the swing myself. I always take pains to explain to people that you look at successful player’s swings for that very reason: they are successful. When you break the swing down you are looking for why it works: when you give a lesson you may make note of the good things about the swing but you are really looking for why it doesn’t work.
Watching John’s swing makes me want to get more acquainted with Trackman and Flightscope, because I think it would be fascinating to see just how he produces a high level impact with a video that would appear to suggest otherwise. I have given lessons with a Flightscope present on every shot, and I was happy that what I was garnering from the video was confirmed by the numbers. In this case I think it would be highly educational to see how John produces an excellent strike with the shaft appearing not to lean forward much at all, something I have not seen in the past. Whatever the case, I don’t have to tell that John is one of the most consistently good players on the Senior Tour, and his record on both tours is close to Hall of Fame stuff. Watching this stuff is educational. In doing these analysis’ I am constantly learning and seeing new things. It really just highlights how fascinating the game is and that the more you watch the less you can ever say “you can’t do that and be good”.

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(9) comments

randal white February 7, 2014

Nice job. Would you consider taking a look at Kenny Perry?

Benjamin February 8, 2014

Hey Wayne.

Old school swing for sure this. Reminds me of the swing analysis you did on Don Trahan with the PPGS.

All the same positions, 3/4 swing, vertical, across the line, hands coming in higher and head backing up.

Maybe this was the way the old boys use to swing back in the day as I suppose it’s a bit Jack N esc also.

Maybe it’s the future too !!!

Steve February 8, 2014

John’s is among the more conventional looking swings on the Champions’ Tour but interestingly an analysis of this identifies “flaws” that were they to appear in the swings of most of us less talented players would seriously compromise the effort. John of course does just fine with a swing that most viewers would consider a model that certainly would not incorporate any aspect amenable to attention.

There are swings on this tour however that upon viewing make you wonder what is going on and what is making these swings effective. Perry’s is one, and another one I hope will be reviewed is that of Rocco Mediate. I would wonder to what degree, if any, this quintessential Ballard swing applies your preferences. I would suspect much of this swing does not. It is obviously effective however and it would be interesting to see what makes it work.

Clinton February 8, 2014

The fact that Cook compresses the ball WITHOUT the benefit of shaft lean tells me that shaft lean is NOT essential to compression. What probably is essential is a) hitting the ball in the sweet spot, and b) making the clubhead travel either downward or at worst horizontally at the moment of impact. Shaft lean obviously helps greatly in achieving these two things, which is why ALMOST every tour caliber player utilizes it. However, Cook must be achieving these things via some other mechanism(s). He’s way above the plane at impact, as Wayne pointed out. Perhaps this steeper clubhead approach makes up for the missing shaft lean.

Philip Palmer February 8, 2014

Nice Wanyey D., alot to be said for repetitive practise and timing.

asher ingber February 9, 2014

Stick to Trackman I have found flightscope to way off

Tony February 10, 2014

I love the way you take a true scientific approach to golf analysis Mr D. You keep searching for information and are always prepared to observe and comment upon “what is there”, rather than either ignore or fudge information to suit a pet theory.

Christian February 11, 2014

It kinda bums me out when it appears talent and individual nuances in technique appear to define great vs. good players. Just venting :-).

Christian February 13, 2014

Thanks…I needed that…as I make practice swings in the basement while it’s 10 degrees outside. Gotta get to Florida for a week and hit some balls :-).

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