Kendrick Lamar’s rap skills are unquestioned. His golf swing, on the other hand, is trash.
That’s the conclusion just about every casual golfer drew after watching K. Dot blast one off the top of a beat-up sedan in his new single/video “Humble.” In a video chock-full of indelible images that were immediately made into memes and GIFs, Lamar teeing it up was by far the most striking (pun intended) from a sports perspective. But after speaking with a bunch of professional athletes—three golfers, a golf-obsessed NFL wide receiver, and Tiger Woods’ former swing coach—they’d like Lamar to know he shouldn’t quit his day job.
“It’s all right,” said Brooks Koepka, No. 25 in the world rankings. “He’s really good at what he does. I would stick to that. But I like the finish with the sendoff.”
Koepka was one of five golfers hanging at a Nike Golf Club’s pre-Masters event held at Sage Valley Golf Club in South Carolina on Sunday. Days before the year’s first major officially kicks off, the brand brought together five of its athletes to showcase the new gear you’ll see Nike athletes like Jason Day and Rory McIlroy rocking at Augusta National starting Thursday. While two of the top three golfers in the world weren’t present, others like Sweden’s Alex Noren (No. 10 in the world) and England’s Tommy Fleetwood (No. 32) were and offered up their critiques of Lamar’s swing.
“He’s standing on top of a car, so it’s not ideal footwork,” Noren said. “It’s better than a lot of people I’ve played in in the pro-ams. It’s better than Charles Barkley’s.”
Fleetwood, who just like Noren will be playing in his first Masters this week, is open to working with the seven-time Grammy Award winner—if Lamar will offer up some tips on rhyming.
“He needs to get a bigger turn on the way back and keep his head down,” said Fleetwood. “If he can work on my hip-hop, I can work on his [game].”
Perhaps the most thorough assessment of Lamar’s swing comes courtesy of Sean Foley. Tiger Woods’ former swing coach worked with the legendary golfer for four years and is known as an enthusiastic hip-hop fan in golf circles, even going as far as to incorporate music into his lessons. Tapping into Lamar’s penchant for subbing rappers in his rhymes, Foley wants to see him take out his anger on the golf ball.
“Kendrick—first you are in my top three MC's dead or alive. The second point I would like to make is that your swing is pretty good in parts,” Foley told Complex in a statement. “I am certain at Crenshaw and Rosecrans there wasn't many driving ranges. I would start with the grip and the set up. A great set up in golf sets up for success. Because I don't want to overload you with too many thoughts I would like to see you hold your finish with exquisite balance. Just pretend that the golf ball is one or all of these phony, radio rappers or even the corrupt AR's you so eloquently speak about and smash them out into that big fairway.”
Dallas Cowboys receiver Brice Butler was also at the event and anxious to attend his first Masters despite being an Atlanta native. He saw “Humble” shortly after it was released last week and thinks Lamar’s swing needs a lot of work but “didn’t look bad” and described it as “serviceable.”
“He doesn’t have any core rotation. His hips are stiff,” Butler said. “I don’t know if he’s had shoulder issues in the past, but the backswing’s not there.”
But Butler, who grew up playing Par 3 courses and still loves the game, thinks Lamar can take his game to the next level if he’s dedicated.
“You can work with it,” says Butler. “You just have to be willing. He looks willing.”
One thing Fleetwood did appreciate, and was quick to point out, was Lamar’s old-school golf attire. While Fleetwood plans on sporting a few loud colors this week at what’s traditionally been the most buttoned-up major, he wasn’t prepared to go as far as rocking every sneakerhead’s favorite pair of pants on the hallowed grounds.
“I didn’t want to go with the jogger pants at Augusta,” Fleetwood said. “Can you put a green jacket on with joggers? That would be a statement.”