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Lee Trevino - King of the Faders?

Born December 1939 in Dallas, Texas

Most students of the game will talk about Lee Trevino being in the top three best strikers of all time.

One of the greatest faders of the ball who has ever played.

Born December 1939 in Dallas, Texas

Typical Trevino`s low driving action

In today's terms, it is far more difficult to talk about great strikers of the ball. Swings and players have evened out. The mechanics have become standardized and few top players deviate from them. After 2000, excluding Tiger at his best and McLroy in his youth, there is little to separate the field.

Lee will always be remembered for his late hit.

Before 2000 we can separate the most effective and best of the crop far more easily. The list would look something like this:




Byron Nelson

David Graham

Moe Norman in the late sixties

Johnny Miller in the early seventies

The order may be different, maybe one or two others should be up there, I may be doing Jack Nicklaus an injustice, but interestingly those on the list are all self-taught players.

Many top players developed their games through trial and error. They knew their swing and what made it tick.

Lee was a great example of learning by watching, experimenting, and hitting thousands of balls a day. Here are two of his interpretations.

The great Gary Player gleaning some tips from the maestro ball striker.

Lee Trevino certainly knew his swing. He could also evaluate and discuss swing mechanics at a very high level. His peers were always ready to discuss their movements with Lee and would often profit from his advice.

The real king fader at work.

Lee is most noted for being one of the great faders of the ball. He always gave credit to Hogan for helping him to do this (although Hogan was unaware of a young Lee watching him through the trees practicing from the distance). If you keep an open mind and study the early swings shown in this article you will see a lot of Hogan in the Trevino swing.


The following film on Lee Trevino was taken in 1967 (Driver Swing is at the end of the article). It was taken not long after Lee had first appeared on the USPGA Tour.

Lee practiced his wedges on the range so hard that he was not just aiming at the number shield anymore, but which nought on the 100-yard post.

Despite all the praise Lee Trevino received for his ball-striking, it is also important not to underestimate the complete game of Lee- his mastery of shot management is legendary.

The driver swing that Irv took of Lee Trevino in 1967 is one of the most beautiful films ever taken of his action.

How many top players of the game held the clubface longer down the line than Lee Trevino? Notice in all the swings how he increased the speed after contact, and how little attention was paid to the ball. Another aspect of the Trevino swing that can`t be measured is his supreme confidence.

Disguising his mental strength with good humor and "chatty" one-liners Lee`s "Hoganesque" concentration was not easy to recognize.

The beauty of flow

Coming next month is an art exhibition focusing on the beauty and dynamics of the Lee Trevino swing.

Mixed media22 x 30cm mixed media on paper-click to enlarge.

Originals on canvas, paper, and wood - plus special offers in digital form will be available.

For more stories like this, discover my book The History of the Golf Swing. It's an artistic exploration of the Golf Swing throughout history; full of illustrations, paintings, and photographs. A perfect gift for any golf fan.

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