Muhammad Ali’s golf swing, captured by Golf Digest’s Brad Wilson in 1974.
A tremendous post here by Golf Digest and Clint Schrock, looking back to the moment 40 years ago when Brad Wilson got Muhammad Ali to take a couple of hacks at a golf ball in the midst of training for a fight. The photos ran in the October 1974 issue of Golf Digest.
A few excerpts from the post, which gives more background on how these photos came together:
Wilson asked if Ali would take some golf swings while Wilson took pictures with his Polaroid sequence camera. Ali told Wilson he’d never swung before at a golf ball, but he agreed to do it. When Wilson handed Ali an 8-iron, the champ asked, “How ya hold this thing?” After putting Ali’s hands on the club in a baseball grip, the next question was “What do I do now?” (Ali’s assistant trainer Drew) Brown jumped in with, “Just hit the ball, champ. Just hit the ball.” Wilson added, while pointing the camera at Ali, “Just do whatever feels natural.”
“Hey Angie, let’s quit boxing and start playing golf. We’ll get rich–and besides, that ball can’t hit back!”
With that, Ali hit what Wilson said was a surprisingly straight, 140-yard shot. Ali crowed, “How ’bout that Angie! You didn’t know I was a champion golfer, did you?” Wilson actually felt that despite the unorthodox look, Ali’s swing had some desirable elements: good shoulder turn, flexed knees, led the downswing with hips and legs, right elbow close to the side, head down, right shoulder lower than the left, and eyes remain fixed on the ball.
Ali hit a second ball solidly and continued his raving glee: “Look at that ball go! Nobody can knock the ball that far. Nobody but me, the great, the one and only Muhammad Ali!” A crowd of people started gathering to watch, and that just fueled Ali’s stage presence. He suddenly jumped away from the ball at one point and raised both hands into the air and crowed, “Muhammad Ali is the world’s greatest golfer! Nobody can beat Muhammad Ali! Not Arnold Palmer, not Jack Nicklaus, not nobody. I’m gonna make ‘em look bad, predict the score, how bad I’m gonna beat ‘em, everything — just like I do in boxing!”
Looking at Dundee, the champ said, “Hey Angie, let’s quit boxing and start playing golf. We’ll get rich–and besides, that ball can’t hit back!”