It feels wrong to call Luke List a bomber, even though he objectively is one.
The newly-crowned winner of the Sanderson Farms Championship finished eighth, 12th, and 18th in Driving Distance his last three seasons on the PGA Tour, helping him onto a 13th, seventh, and 10th ranking in SG: Tee-to-Green, respectively. His average remains well north of 310 yards, putting him in the tour’s upper echelon even at 38 years old.
Yet the reason why the “Bomber” label doesn’t fit is because List doesn’t look like the prototypical bomber. Much like Ludvig Aberg, who lost in a playoff to List last week, his swing looks straight out of a golf swing textbook. Pair that with his buttery tempo, and his booming drives appear effortless.
“I played a lot of other sports growing up,” List says, trying to explain it. “I’ve also been kind of blessed with hyper-mobility, long arms and legs.”
That’s certainly part of it, but List has also figured out how to get the most out of his frame and to make it last—thanks, in large part, to what he says is something of an old school idea.
Gather Speed Slowly
Luke List, end of backswing vs. start of downswing pic.twitter.com/J18HDMCn5g
— LKD (@LukeKerrDineen) October 9, 2023
It may sound counterintuitive to build speed slowly, but that’s exactly what List says he’s trying to do. It’s a quality he idolized in the golf swings of his heroes: Fred Couples, Ernie Els and Davis Love III.
“Those guys were my favorites,” he says. “Watching them growing up ingrained in my head how to swing a golf club.”
List says that a current tempo trend among younger players he notices is a golf swing that, effectively, works in three parts: A fast backswing, a momentary pause, and a violent, even faster downswing. Think of a wild swing of a hammer.
‘Like I’m pulling a bow and arrow’
There are some benefits to this. Mainly, that a faster backswing can help create a countermovement which injects more clubhead speed into your backswing overall. List, though, opts for a different route: The feeling that his golf swing is one continuous motion that gets starts slow and never stops accelerating.
“The younger guys have more quick speed. They come off the ground, and it looks a little faster,” he says. “Mine is a little more old school. The speed builds a little more. I think of John Daly, starting low and slow then gathering speed. Like I’m pulling a bow and arrow.”
This start-slow-and-build-speed idea does some interesting and beneficial things for List’s golf swing, too. Mainly that it helps him create a long hand path on the backswing — a crucial tenet of clubhead speed. It also allows him to maximize the muscles in his wrists and forearms for a full release of his club.
Luke List doesn’t have the same vertical lift of the pelvis in the downswing as the other bombers on TOUR that we’ve assessed (not a big squat down & “vertical thrust”), but he loads his wrist as much as just about anyone in our database of pro golfers. pic.twitter.com/NlCQv21Ksz
— TPI (@MyTPI) January 29, 2022
The result is a powerful and smooth looking golf swing. An old school idea, perhaps, but one that is helping the 38-year-old List’s golf swing and career finally blossom.
This article was originally published on golfdigest.com