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Golf tips for Barack Obama

January 7, 2009 |  2:17 pm

Barack Obama golfs with friends last week in Hawaii.

Barack Obama, a southpaw, will be the 15th U.S. president to play golf, but Obama's game is nowhere close to being an amateur version of lefty Phil Mickelson's.

Of course, Obama's first sporting love is basketball, but he's been playing golf since 1997 and often shoots in the mid-90s and, when he plays really well, in the low-90s.

Golf Digest recently showed a video of Obama playing golf in Hawaii last year to three celebrated golf instructors, Butch Harmon (Tiger Woods' former coach), David Leadbetter and Jim Flick, and asked them to analyze his swing and offer some tips.

"He moves well and doesn't look tense or stiff," Leadbetter said.

However, a golf swing is a complicated mix of grace, concentration, fluid motion and controlled fury. A lot of things can go wrong in a golf swing, and for a player of Obama's caliber, it usually does.

"The problem is he's got no body turn at all," Harmon said. "It's a hands-and-arms swing. He lunges at impact. His head lifts, his spine angle pops straight up and he pulls the club across the ball. I wouldn't think he has much consistency."

So what should Obama do to fix his swing? "I'd have him make a better turn going back with his hips and shoulders, so that when he comes down, everything doesn't unwind so early. He needs more windup," Harmon suggested.

-- Barry Stavro

Photo: President-elect Barack Obama jokes with friends Dr. Eric Whitaker, center, and Eugene Kang, right, on the 18th green during a round of golf with friends last week in Kailua, Hawaii. Credit: Tim Sloan / AFP/Getty Images

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