The 2020 FedEx Cup champion doesn’t have what would seem to be the most copyable swing. Dustin Johnson used it to go low at East Lake and win by three over Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele.
But even if you can’t get your left wrist into Johnson’s signature position at the top, you can pick up some of what makes his swing work so well. “You can either swing ‘with’ your body or you can swing ‘against’ it,” says ESPN Swing Coach Jerome Andrews. “Dustin’s club, arms, shoulders, hips and arms work together, so when he makes his backswing and downswing, he doesn’t get in his own way. He doesn’t have to swing around himself to produce all that speed.”
The key is to not get overactive early in the backswing, says Andrews. “When the club is halfway to the top of the backswing–left arm parallel to the ground–his left arm is in line with the line you would draw in front of his toes. Everything is swinging up in front of his torso,” says Andrews, who is based in Altadena, Ca. “Most players whip the club inside, and rotate the forearms early. Even players on tour do it. The clubhead and the hands get deep, behind the body, which forces the body to react. The hips and shoulders have to turn early, and they get to the top of the backswing ahead of the arms. It’s out of synch.”
To start bombing it like DJ, first incorporate this feel with some tiny swings. “Hit 30- or 40-yard pitch shots and focus only on that part of the swing–from address to left arm parallel to the ground,” says Andrews. “Narrow your stance and keep that left arm in line with the line on the ground in front of your feet. You’ll be amazed at how much more energy you can put into the ball with less effort.”