Abraham Lincoln had a lot of great quotes. One of my favorites is this: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time”.
For this week’s blog, I want to write about too many things … it would be a rambling mess if I just let loose.
So – following Abe’s advice – I’ll try to keep it short.
I want to talk about the Masters … and Dustin Johnson’s swing … and course design … and the difference between “swingers” and “hitters”.
As usual, the Masters was fantastic. Though I’ve never been a big DJ fan … I’m glad he won. He’s lost some real heart-breakers in Majors … and being #1 in the world comes with intense expectations … his victory just seemed right.
DJ is #1 because he does everything well: hits it far and straight … hits his irons close … and has a great short game. His swing is not classic – he’s what I would call a “hitter”. Hitters are punchers – like boxers. If you’re going to punch someone … you’d use your right-hand and shift your weight back & forth … more weight shift than body-turn … you’d have more “smash factor” than “arm speed”. If you’d slap someone really hard … you’d use the back of your left-hand and turn more than shift your weight … and have more “arm speed” than “smash factor”.
I’m sure you can see the analogies to being a golf “hitter” or “swinger”.
Here are the giveaways to DJ’s “hitting” action: he closes the club face on his backswing and is shut at the top. Lee Trevino did the same thing. He just wasn’t as big and strong and flexible as DJ.
That action works because he is young, strong, and very flexible. If he wasn’t as young, strong, and flexible as he is … he wouldn’t be a very good player … much less #1 in the world. If you want to copy his action, you’d better have those same qualities.
However … even if you’re old, weak, and stiff … you can be a hitter on short iron shots and chipping and putting. But, on longer shots – especially a driver – you need to be a swinger.
DJ’s action works on long shots because he’s a physical freak. Most of us need both actions – hitting and swinging – because we aren’t Dustin Johnson.
Practice swinging your driver with your left-hand only. And rotate the club face open on the back swing … and then close it on the downswing through the ball to the finish. That’s how to learn to hit a baby draw that starts right and falls left.
Practice chipping with your right-hand only. And don’t flip your wrist or rotate it. Keep your wrist flexed backwards as you make contact … and keep it flexed after you hit the ball.
Abe just tapped me on the shoulder. I have to wrap this up. I’ll talk more about these subjects over the Holidays. In the meantime …
GM/Head PGA Professional