A frame-by-frame swing analysis of Dustin Johnson hitting driver at the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
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With his sixth career WGC title at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Dustin Johnson ran his streak with at least one PGA Tour win to 12 consecutive seasons. Amazingly long off the tee and consistent is Johnson, who now boasts the most wins on Tour (20) since he turned pro in 2008. For a detailed breakdown of DJ’s swing and what makes him one of the elite drivers of the ball in the game today, check out the following frame-by-frame analysis from Golf Channel Academy lead coach Allen Terrell.
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The front of DJ’s knees cover his shoestrings and his hips are stacked over his ankles, which is a very important check for Dustin. This prevents him from standing too far away from the ball and allows his arms to hang down naturally.
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You can’t see it from this angle, but he’s lowered himself and pushed the handle forward, which brings the trail arm closer to his lead arm and sets the structure for his arms to the top of the backswing. Maintaining the same distance between both arms will prevent him from crossing the line too much.
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Note the distance between DJ’s trail elbow and the front of his body. There are few players on Tour who have their trail arm that far out in front. If DJ didn’t do this, you would’ve never heard of him. It’s how he keeps his arm structure together.
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At this point, his lead wrist starts to bow, or go into flexion. What’s vital is that the trail arm is still in front of his body and the shaft is in an excellent position, above his trail forearm. This is a good checkpoint for the halfway back position.
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DJ’s signature move: The lead wrist is super-bowed at the top. But he’s not doing this to shut the clubface; it’s about controlling the trajectory of the shot. He’s taking loft off the club, which creates that low, piercing ball flight he’s known for. Also note how his trail leg has straightened and his trail hip is higher than his lead hip. This helps him keep his lead side down during the transition.
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Now his trail knee is beginning to flex again. All DJ is doing is retracing the same pattern from address to the top of the backswing. He’s recreating the same feel so his trail knee won’t slide forward so much and his right shoulder will start to move out, not down.
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BEST MOVE: This is the money frame! His hips are slightly open to the target line and the shaft is pointed outside the ball. Most importantly, his trail elbow is in front of his body and his hands have moved out and down from the top, which is what shallows out the club.
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This is pretty darn good, too! As with all great ball-strikers, DJ’s trail forearm is on the same angle as the shaft through impact. Also, the longer the trail elbow stays bent, the more control he’s going to have over the clubface.
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DJ still maintains a good amount of side bend into the finish. His hips have thrust forward and his chest is also closer to the target as his eyes follow the flight of the ball.
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A very balanced, fully rotated finish. What I like is how the toe of the clubhead points to the target. This is an indication of a very passive release, meaning there’s no excessive forearm rotation. The clubface is super stable throughout.
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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 collegiate coach at Coastal Carolina University and still teaches the world’s No. 1 player today. For more information about the school and the brand new, state-of-the-art Dustin Johnson Golf Performance Center, or to book a lesson, please visit www.dustinjohnsongolfschool.com.
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