‘I tried everything’: The Butch Harmon fix that helped Danielle Kang beat the driver yips

Butch Harmon is one of the game’s most sought-after instructors, and for good reason. He’s helped guide some of the most famous names in golf, including Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott.

So when Danielle Kang needed some professional input, she turned to Harmon. The two have been working together since 2018, when Kang was struggling with mental issues that culminated in the driver yips, which at one point reduced her to tears on the course.

On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Kang appeared with Butch to talk about a range of topics, including how she managed to beat the driver yips and win four LPGA titles in a two-year span.

“The feeling I got — it’s a muscle correction, and I don’t have control over it,” Kang said. “So when I take it back, I already know the club’s gonna be — it’s gonna go either really far right, out of bounds, or I’m gonna try and hook it back and it’ll snap left. So it’s kinda like a twitch, where you already — I can’t fix it. I tried everything.”

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Kang said that she struggles with swing directives that involve her hands to this day.

“[Butch] helped me step away from that feeling, where I could use my body in order for my hands to follow,” Kang said. “But it comes back here and there.”

At its worst, Kang was physically unable to take a backswing on the tee during a tournament, and feared she would have to withdraw.

Butch’s cure? It started with getting Kang’s mind off of the issue.

“We really started out working with just a wedge,” Butch said. “We literally, for about the first hour, just hit wedges. Then we started to work on different things.”

Kang says the driver yips are still around, but she has a way to deal with them now.

“I’ve learned that the yips come from mechanical problems, then becomes mental,” Kang said. “Mental issue from the yips is a real thing, and I understand why people quit and destroy their careers. But it has to be a mechanical issue. If my hands are not in the correct position, it is gonna to go into the place where I don’t like it, and I can’t overcorrect.”

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With Butch’s help, Kang simplified the start of her swing. Instead of taking the club back a bit shut and outside, Kang envisioned fanning it open at the start of the swing, which put her hands and clubhead in the position Butch wanted on the way back.

“I knew she was so shut before that she would meet in the middle,” Butch said.

The change had near-immediate results. Kang won the Buick LPGA Shanghai just a month after her first session with Butch, and has added three more LPGA titles since.

For more from Kang and Butch, including some hilarious advice Butch gave Kang when she was struggling with her 3-wood, check out the entire interview below.


Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.