The knee-saving move that Bryson, Bubba and Phil all do in their swing

By letting their lead toe spin out, it protects their lead knee.

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Maybe you’ve noticed it watching Bryson DeChambeau go full-ham on a drive, or maybe you just saw this headline and now you’re curious. Either way, watch DeChambeau’s left foot on the drive below, and you’ll notice how it spins out on his through-swing. By the time he gets to impact, his toe is facing the target.

Bubba Watson does it, too.

Bubba’s toe is facing the target on his follow through.

USGA

And Phil Mickelson, who didn’t earlier in his career, has been doing it ever since he starting chasing distance.

Phil allows his foot to spin out to release the pressure.

GOLF.com

Protecting the lead knee

So what’s going? And should you do something similar with your own swing?

Without getting too lost in the weeds, during every golfer’s downswing, they exert certain kinds of pressure on the ground (the fancy name for these are ground reaction forces). Golfers slide across the ground, they torque it to help them rotate, and they push up off it. Ideally, a golfer will sequence these three forces so they max-out at around impact, and then once they hit the ball, they all begin slowing down.

But even though those forces are slowing down post-impact, they’re still moving fast even after they hit the ball — which means that when you’re feet are planted firmly on the floor, you’re sending a lot of force into your lead knee. It’s one of the reasons why Tiger Woods has had so many knee issues over the years.

Which brings us back to Bryson, Bubba and Phil, who all make a conscious decision to lift their lead foot post-impact. That means when they’re turning through the ball they’re doing so freely, and in the process, protecting their knee.

“I make sure to release the pressure on my leg,” Phil explains here. “Otherwise you’re going to tear up your knee and have all sorts of problems.”

Should you do the same? With all due respect, you’re probably not swinging so fast that it’s a huge issue, but it can’t hurt — literally. Allow your momentum to swing you around, rather than relying on your lead leg to absorb the blow, and your knee could thank you later.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.