Dustin Johnson is one of the best athletes to ever play on the PGA Tour, capable of dunking a basketball just as easily as ripping a 350-yard drive. His swing harnesses all that raw athleticism and is an encapsulation of golf in the modern era.
While it’s true that 99 percent of all golfers lack Johnson’s strength and flexibility, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from his technique. There are certain moves you can make (with the help of a golf-focused trainer) that will help you hit better, longer shots and with more consistency. Start with these five tips.
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1. Flex your wrist
Johnson’s super-bowed left wrist at the top is obvious and one of his signature moves. However, I’ve seen more amateurs gain success by trying to feel some of that in transition rather than trying to get it by the top of the swing like Dustin. Feel like you’re “curling” the Velcro strap on your glove away from you as you start down. You’ll likely feel a more powerful, compressed impact.
2. Turn under your wrist
Getting your left shoulder under your chin is a great swing thought, just don’t let it restrict your head movement. Like Dustin, allow your chin to rotate to the right with your backswing. It creates a powerful windup while keeping intact your left-side bend and tilt toward the ground.
3. Get your right shoulder up
For some players, focusing on their right side makes it easier to feel correct movements. If you need more length from your swing, turn your right shoulder up and behind your head, just like Johnson does. “Opening up” your right side like this ramps up your coil.
4. Strengthen your spine
Check out the incredible flexibility through Dustin’s thoracic spine and his shoulders. Talk about a power source! Most people don’t have this range of motion, but finding a trainer who can help you increase your mobility can get you there. The payoff: a boatload more yards.
5. Use the ground
Golf is a fluid motion. Johnson has already begun unwinding from the ground up at this point in his swing. If separating your upper and lower body like this is difficult, focus more on your footwork and allow your left heel to raise on your backswing. Then replant it. Now your lower body is correctly leading the club into your downswing.
Jason Carbone is the director of instruction at Woodland CC in Carmel, Ind.