Brooks Koepka used power and accuracy to successfully defend his title at the PGA Championship. Here's an in-depth look with analysis of his driver swing.
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Brooks Koepka continues to be a major force, winning four of his last eight major starts. Why does Koepka thrive in the most difficult playing conditions? For one, he’s a tremendous driver of the ball. Koepka can overpower a course and hit it straight, as was the case at Bethpage Black, where he ranked second in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and averaged 313 yards per drive. For a detailed breakdown of Koepka’s driver swing, check out the following frame-by-frame analysis from the final round of the PGA Championship by Golf Academy lead coach John Richman.
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Brooks’ hands hang straight down from his shoulders - he’s not reaching for the ball or hunched over - and the club is hovering above the ground, which helps him keep the club in front of his body longer on the takeaway for more width and power.
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Brooks does a good job of turning within his feet, meaning he’s staying relatively centered and not swaying or moving off the ball. His lead shoulder is working under his spine and his shaft and shoulders are on the same plane. It’s all rotation to this point.
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This is the very definition of a backswing, in that his back is pointing to the target at the top. There is no wasted motion to this point. His lead forearm is on the same plane as his shoulders and while you see a lot of ripples on his shirt, there’s no sign of stress. He’s just letting it flow.
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BEST MOVE: This is where Brooks begins to pour on the power! As he squats down into the ground his hips start to clear, which shallows out the club. He’s also starting to brace his lead side to catch all of the speed and power that’s about to go through the ball in the next two frames.
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In the delivery position, note how his trail hand and elbow are underneath his lead forearm and not on top, and his belt buckle is practically pointing to the target. By rotating his lower body out of the way he creates all kinds of space to do whatever he wants with the ball - turn it over, hit it low, fade it, etc.
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Brooks’ legs straighten but his lead side remains anchored to the ground like a tetherball pole, allowing Brooks to catch all that speed and the clubhead to release to the inside around the lead foot and hip like a train coming around a corner. Boom! Imagine hitting a wall with a sledgehammer at 100-plus mph and that’s the kind of pressure that Koepka applies to the ball.
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This is the reverse of Frame 3, with the trail shoulder replacing where the lead shoulder was at the top of the backswing. Again, the spine angle is unchanged and the trail forearm is on the same plane as the shoulders and the club shaft. Anatomically, he’s not putting any undo strain on any part of his body. He winds up his body like a rubber band and then unwinds it.
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One reason why Koepka is such a consistent striker of the ball is that his finish is consistent. It’s the same every time - the shaft is through his ears, his trail shoulder is lower and closer to the target, and his lead foot is flat on the ground. This produces a powerful baby cut that finds the fairway more often than not.
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John Richman is the Golf Academy lead coach and co-owner at the Martin City Golf Center, a cutting-edge indoor/outdoor golf training facility in Kansas City, Missouri. A two-time Midwest PGA Section Teacher of the Year, John has been teaching full-time for more than 20 years. For more information about John and to book a lesson, visit www.GolfChannelAcademy.com.
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