The debate about the best of the best is a debate as old as sport. It’s not uncommon to hear fans get into spirited arguments supporting or opposing players as they attempt to rank the best players in the game.
Golf is certainly not immune to any such debate. Step into any clubhouse at any golf course in the world and you will likely hear some form of discussion about professional golf and which players deserve to be in the discussion for the best of all time.
We wanted to wade into this debate with a list of the top 10 best golf swings ever.
How We Rank Golf Swings
Ranking a golf swing is not an easy task. Which factors do you consider when making your rankings? How much of a role should each factor play?
While no formula will be perfect, we think we have a good solution.
First, we want to consider the overall appearance of the golf swing. A smooth but powerful swing isn’t just going to provide great results on the golf course; it’s also great to watch.
Next, we will consider the success of the golfer in question. After all, a swing can’t be that great if the player never challenges for championships. A smooth swing that never wins can’t be as good as a disjointed swing that always seems to help a player find the top of the leaderboard.
Using those two considerations, here is our all-time ranking of top 10 golf swings that is sure to spark some debate.
In 2014, Adam Scott was ranked as the best golfer in the world. There was a time when he consistently found himself in the top 10 at many events he played in.
With 13 career wins to his name and nearly $50 million in prize earnings, there is no debating the incredible success of Adam Scott. Of course, that success did not come easily. Watch any video of Adam Scott, and you will marvel at the smoothness of the swing combined with the power he creates using his lower body and torso. There are a lot of factors that go into Adam Scott’s swing yet it looks so simple and clean.
The moment you see Henrik Stenson’s swing, you realize why many believe he has the best swing on tour today. It’s so smooth and simple it feels like anyone should be able to go out and swing like Stenson.
The only surprising thing about Henrik Stenson is that his swing has not translated to more success on the PGA Tour. While he does have a number of career wins and top 10 finishes, his lack of success compared to some of his peers is what holds him back on this list.
He hasn’t even hit 30 years of age but Rory McIlroy has already enjoyed more success than many golfers can hope for throughout their entire career. With 14 career wins and a stint as the number 1 ranked golfer in the world, there is no denying that Rory McIlroy has been a strong influence on the game.
McIlroy’s swing creates an enormous amount of power with seemingly little effort.
Watching his swing would not necessarily indicate that McIlroy has the 3rd longest driving distance on tour this year.
His swing has brought enormous success and is just generally great to watch. Given his young age, McIlroy also has many years to improve his game and move up this list.
There are few names more recognizable in sport than Arnold Palmer. Not only was he a dominant golfer in his era, but he did more than just grow the game of golf. His chartable work lives on even after his passing and his name is synonymous with success and integrity.
Arnold Palmer’s golf swing, at first glance, looks like an aggressive powerful swing that lacks the control of some of the golfers mentioned above. However, there is no arguing with the success that he had using that swing. On further analysis, you will also notice that his swing isn’t necessarily much different than other golfers, but it’s his follow through that became his signature style.
Up until winning the Masters in 2017, Sergio Garcia was widely regarded as the best player to never win a major. He has now shed that title and cemented himself as one of the best players to ever play the game, period.
With nearly 100 top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour, Sergio Garcia has enjoyed a long, successful career. He owes a lot of that success to his smooth, simple golf swing that has delivered consistency since he started playing professional golf back in 1996.
Next up we have the current number 1 golfer in the world. Dustin Johnson has enjoyed a lot of success in recent years including major tournament wins and a number of top 10 finishes as well.
Dustin Johnson’s swing creates an enormous amount of power and clubhead speed at an impact which translates into serious distance when hitting the ball. The most impressive part of his swing is the control Johnson maintains even while turning so quickly and transferring so much power to the golf ball.
There is no denying the success of Dustin Johnson’s golf swing, and you are likely going to see his name at or near the top of the leaderboard for years to come.
Fred Couples is a name that could arguably be at the top of this list. Unfortunately, despite his beautiful swing, Fred Couples was never able to achieve the success that he should have. Injuries, personal issues, and putting troubles always limited the success of Couples.
Still, he did manage to win 64 professional tournaments in his prime including 2 major tournaments. Couples is inarguably one of the best to ever play the game in spite of the issues that held him back from his true potential.
A lot of this success is owed to his smooth golf swing which players have since tried to emulate in their own game. At the peak of his career, Couples was ranked as the number 1 golfer in the world and a cursory review of his swing will tell you why.
There is a joke in golf that the only person who didn’t want Tiger Woods’ swing back in his prime was Tiger Woods. He dominated tournaments, held the number 1 world ranking for record amounts of time, and became the face of the game. Yet, he was always working on improving and changing his swing.
In his prime, Tiger Woods had a golf swing that almost always put him in contention to win. His public personal issues and injuries held back Tiger from what would have inarguably put him as the top player to ever play the game. That’s another debate entirely, however.
Like Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan is a name that has helped build the game of golf to what it is today. While his unique swing was unconventional by today’s standards, it has proven results.
While Hogan’s swing may look different than the likes of Stenson or Woods, the tempo of his swing is nothing if not remarkable. Many credit Ben Hogan with creating the template for the modern golf swing utilized by professionals today.
There is arguably no name more associated with success in golf than Jack Nicklaus. His dominance over the sport and lasting records have become a part of golf history and are benchmarks that may never be reached again.
Nicklaus had a fluid swing that generated power from his entire body and helped him assert his will over the field of competition. When looking for a beautiful swing with proven success, look no further than the greatest to ever play the game, Jack Nicklaus.
Your Thoughts on the Best Swing Ever
There is no doubt that some names on that list have sparked an internal debate. There are also some incredible golfers that were left off this list.
Who do you think should have made the list? Who should have been left off? Or, do you think the list is perfect the way it is?
Let us know your thoughts and opinions about the best golf swings.