The Haney Project gives us our first glimpse of Charles Barkley’s house in Scottsdale, AZ. He’s got little dogs running around everywhere — Charles has no idea what breed they are or anything. It’s like The Osbournes in there. We also get a look at Charles’ home course, Gainey Ranch Golf Club, which is what I imagine Golf Heaven looks like.
Haney learned a lot while they were on the course in Atlanta (in last week’s episode). When Charles starts getting bad, he keeps getting worse. Charles has been keeping his head steady on the practice tee, but when he gets on the course, the head starts dropping. Haney says he’ll hold his head still on every shot if he has to — he’s a brave man.
Just an aside, I know what Charles is going through. I’ve been struggling with similar stuff in my golf game for years. I can hit beautiful shots on the range when there’s no pressure or hazards or score. But put me on the course, and suddenly evil golf thoughts creep into my head and mess with my swing. I think that’s what’s so great about this series. Anyone who has ever played golf has struggled at some point — maybe not to the degree that Charles has struggled — but we’ve all been there and know how much it sucks.
Even the master himself, Hank Haney, confesses that he once had the yips with a driver and he never wanted to play. He says it goes away once you hit good shots and rebuild your confidence.
Back at the Barkley Compound, we see Charles has a tennis court, a basketball court and a pool. “Black people don’t swim, so I never go in there,” he says. “I’m no Michael Phelps.” He’s also got a beautiful putting green in his backyard. “My putting green is my pride and joy.”
Charles makes a visit to S-T-R-E-T-C-H To Win, physical therapy and flexiblity specialists. Ann Frederick, who owns the operation with her husband, puts Charles through some treatments using manual traction and bondage. “Bondage,” Charles smirks. “This is serious bondage. Not for the weak-hearted,” Ann says with a straight face. OK, then. Ann compliments his hamstrings, and then Charles says, “I think I got a perfect ass, just for the record.”
Charles goes out to play a round of golf with Seth Joyner and some buddies, and his hitch returns. Haney’s not happy, but he’s prepared to do whatever it takes. Charles shanks a shot and it hits a house adjacent to the course. “Anybody who lives on a golf course should expect their house to get hit,” he says. I agree. And let me take it one step further — I think they deserve to get their house hit.
“Frustration a lot of times is when unrealistic expectations and reality kind of come clashing together,” Haney says. “The reality is that we’re not doing as good as I would like to do.”
Hank is now having Charles do a few exercises designed to keep his head up. One of them is to have Charles take his eyes off the ball and look up at Hank instead. Hank’s getting Charles to focus his on him, and Charles’ head stays steady. I’m not sure how someone makes solid contact without looking at the ball, but that’s not the purpose of the exercise. They got through a nine-hole round of golf without any hitches. There’s some hope yet.
Photo: Credit: GOLF CHANNEL