As reported by the Golf Channel, Aaron Baddeley has agreed to work with Grant Waite and Chris Como for his future swing instruction. Where do I start when covering this story – with ‘Badds’ or the tandem of Waite Como?
Let’s start with Aaron. Aaron Baddeley has been a noted name on Tour for over a decade now. He broke onto the scene as a youngster from down under in the early 2000s (more specifically, 1998 when he won the Australian Open, beating Norman/Montgomerire), possessing a salty golf swing and confident swagger. He combined those traits with good looks appealing to females audiences around the world. Equipment companies gushed and apparel companies lined up at the chance to work with ‘Badds’. His talent was evident and he seemed destined for global super-stardom. He was Australia’s second coming of Greg Norman.
Here’s the thing though with Aaron. Despite being a phenomenal golfer, making a splash on the highest level of professional golf is no cake-walk. Not only is it “no cake-walk”, but it is an extreme rarity to achieve. His career has had successes, with 3 PGA Tour wins and a career of playing full PGA Tour schedules, but naysayers insist he should have won more. Fair or unfair, its a stigma which follows Aaron around like an annoying sibling.
Already regarded as one of the best putters in the world, both by visual technique/aesthetics and statistically, Aaron is looking to make the next jump in his game. Last season, his ball striking was undeniably a weakness in his game. His driving accuracy and greens in regulation both plummeted to 178th and 179th on Tour, respectively. I mean, these aren’t rankings which are new to Baddeley. Consistent ball striking is something he’s felt has held him back for years. He’s only ranked inside the top-100 in either category once (Greens in Regulation, 2011) since 2003.
At the age of 32, he still has a lot of years on Tour to win and compete while hopefully making more runs at those elusive major championships. Aaron has spent time working with both David Leadbetter and the “Stack and Tilt” boys Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett. In order to take another step, he figures making a change in instruction is a great step.
Who better to work with on fundamental understanding of ball-flight laws and consistency in producing solid golf shots than the duo of Grant Waite and Chris Como. The two are experts in the use of the Trackman device along with Joseph Mayo, a tool which measures statistical data in each golf shot, giving instructors analytics in which to base swing theories and concepts. After working with the two this spring, Brian Gay increased his distance off the tee and captured a win at the Humana. Daniel Summerhays started working with them in 2011 and has started seeing consistency in his PGA Tour finishes, almost winning last summer at the John Deere Classic. Testimonials of their work are abundant and they’ve only been working on Tour for a few years. They are dedicated instructors, taking to the Twitter world to help convey their thoughts and opinions on total game improvement, specifically with the use of hard-core numbers and data. It is truly fascinating stuff for you golf swing junkies out there.
This for Aaron Baddeley will be interesting to see develop over the coming months and years. A combination of talent and great instruction is typically a potent one.
We’ll see. But as a fan of Aaron Baddeley – for who he is on-and-off the course – I hope its a match made in heaven.