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When I first recruited Dustin Johnson to Coastal Carolina University in 2003, he was a much better putter than he was a driver. We both laugh about it today, but back then Dustin was a skinny 165 pounds, not the chiseled, 200-pound man of steel and prodigious power that he is today. His swing hasn’t changed much, however, except that his signature bowed left wrist position at the top of the backswing was relatively unnoticed back then. It became more and more pronounced as a pro. No one taught him to bow it, but it’s a big reason for his power. Check out my analysis of the following 3-wood sequence. (Analysis by GCA lead coach Allen Terrell)
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Dustin’s three keys to his setup are: 1) triceps over shoes; 2) knees flexed enough to where they cover his shoestrings; and 3) neck soft and bill of cap pointing at the ball.
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Dustin is trying to cut the ball here, from left to right, which is why his left arm, hands and club are swinging out away from his body on the takeaway.
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His right arm and wrist are fairly bent here in the halfway back position, which prevents the right arm from getting too far behind him. I also like that the shaft is above his trail arm, a key to either fading or drawing the ball.
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This is where the left wrist begins to bow and go into flexion. Dustin creates a large amount of forward flexion with his upper body while maintaining his right side bend.
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The flexion in Dustin’s left wrist is really the result of having large (XXL) hands and a lot of bend to his right wrist. It’s not something he’s trying to do. However, it is a very powerful move, as we’re about to see.
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The clubhead is at the same height as it was in the previous frame, but is about a foot farther behind his hands. This is a result of the adding more bow to the lead wrist in the transition.
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All good ball-strikers have this bowed condition on the downswing, which keeps the clubhead trailing the hands and causes the hand path to move out slightly, thus shallowing out the club. This shallowing out effect puts additional torque on the shaft, allowing Dustin to transfer more energy to the ball.
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BEST MOVE: Because Dustin has already opened up so much, you can see a good portion of his left glute in the halfway down position. The left hand remains bowed and the butt of the club points above the ball, not inside, which indicates a good hand path.
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The other benefit to the bowed lead wrist is that it creates a slightly forward leaning shaft at impact. That’s why Dustin’s tee shots look as if they’ve been shot out of a cannon. His angle of attack for a 3-wood is slightly negative.
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Allen Terrell is the director of coaching and managing partner at the Dustin Johnson Golf School, located at TPC Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, S.C. He was Johnson’s college coach and still teaches the world’s No. 1 player today. For more information about the School and its programs, and to book a lesson, <a href="http://www.golfchannelacademy.com/dustin-johnson-golf-school/" target="_blank">please click here</a>
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Dustin continues to hold his right side bend. He’s released his right heel and his eyes are following the ball, not looking down, which is key to getting a full body rotation and maximizing speed.
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At the completion of his swing the toe of the club is pointing back at the target, which means he hasn’t rolled the clubface closed. He has close to 100 percent of his weight on his front leg.
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