Charles is in the sand much less these days. (Image: simplistic.designs/Flickr)

With a little help from Anthony Kim’s trash talk, Charles Barkley was swinging nicely on tonight’s episode, smacking three drives over 300 yards.

The episode started rough, with Chuck struggling in a charity tournament (The First Tee) in Florida. Pretty embarassing, actually. I felt for the guy. The hitch crept up and wouldn’t go away.

But that was nothing Hank Haney couldn’t fix. After another 1,000 ball day on the range with Tiger’s coach, Barkley was swinging like a pro again. One fluid motion. No hitch. Now that’s how a golf swing should look.

Charles took the course–his nemesis–for a four hole “virtual match” against Anthony Kim. I could see a big difference at this point. The hitch was mostly gone, and Barkley’s shots were much improved. Staggering drives and fairly solid approach shots.

He continues to improve. But both Chuck and Hank admit they thought they would be further along by now. It just goes to show how much help Barkley needed.

The show goes on hiatus until May 11, likely because of the break in filming after Charles was charged with a DUI. It will be interesting to see how much the layoff affects him–assuming he wasn’t playing much while dealing with the alcohol issues.

Hopefully, Hank Haney won’t have to start over. Tune in May 11 to find out.