Does the Happy Gilmore Swing Really Work?

Does the Happy Gilmore swing really work?
Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore in the famous 1996 movie.

You’ve tried it. We all have.

The famous (or infamous?) ‘Happy Gilmore’ swing.

But while it fictionally propelled Happy to victory over Shooter McGavin, does it really work and can it add more distance to your tee shot? Or is it all just Hollywood magic?

Careful: Your attempt at a Happy Gilmore swing could end up like this…

In a Sports Science video (below) from 2009, Padraig Harrington puts the Happy Gilmore swing to the test to see if the running start really does produce more distance off the tee. The video was shot after Harrington had just come off his PGA Player of the Year season with 2008 victories at the British Open and PGA Championship.

As you can see, the Happy Gilmore swing did produce a longer drive and more clubhead speed. His clubhead speed increased from 107 MPH to 114 MPH and resulted in 30 yards more distance off the tee.

The key? Well as Chubbs taught Happy, “it’s all in the hips.”

The running start allowed Harrington more shoulder and hip turn, resulting in increased acceleration.

The problem? Accuracy (of course). As stated in the video, the driver being just one degree off line or just a couple millimeters away from the sweet spot can result in the ball being 20 yards off line. All the moving parts in the swing make that possibility a probability, but you can watch for yourself below.

For even more Happy Gilmore fun, watch the below video of professional players trying out the swing at the 2013 Scottish Open. Included are Phil Mickelson (who tries it with a right-handed driver), Paul Casey, and Harrington.

Harrington’s practice must have paid off, because his drive traveled the longest of all the pros at 328 yards.

One thing we do know…Grizzly Adams did have a beard.


How to Boom it Like Rory
See World Long Drive Championship winner Joe Miller’s swing in slow motion
3 Tips for Pressure Shots with Phil Mickelson
5 Steps to Being a Better Driver
Jason Day’s Pre-Round Warm-up Routine
Happy Gilmore quotes

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.