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Friday, August 9, 2019

Travis Fulton on Dustin Johnson's Drives (Video)

This video is only seven months old so it's pretty recent. Looks like DJ does something interesting when he hits his drives.

Instructor Travis Fulton talks at length about DJ's bowed wrist, but I'm not focusing on that. Travis says that the bowed wrist is a "superior position," but that's not necessarily true. Depending on how you address the ball, a flat or even a cupped wrist may work better for you. You want the position that allows you to return the clubface to the ball in the same way you addressed it.

So let's move on to the interesting part.

Travis starts by talking about how DJ straightens his trailing knee on the way back. I've written about that in the past, simply because many players -- Arnold Palmer being a prime example -- used that move to create clubhead speed. But that's just part of the move; you need what DJ does on the way down as well to get the full benefit.

DJ lets that trailing knee rebend to the same position it was at address... but he doesn't slide his hips forward toward the target. Instead, he squats down slightly -- a move popularized by the great Sam Snead, so much so that it is often called the "Snead Squat."

First thing to notice: He squats straight down; he doesn't push forward toward the target.

But it doesn't stop there. DJ is also spreading his knees slightly so they are farther apart, as if he had dropped from a small height and absorbed the landing force with his knees. Again, like the squat, this isn't a big move but it clearly spreads his knees a bit farther apart. From there he can push up as he finishes his turn.

I'm making a big deal of this because this springlike movement keeps him centered over the ball during impact. He will move forward slightly as he straightens up during impact and his hips turn toward the target, but he won't move forward any great amount. As a result, he makes solid contact with the ball more consistently, resulting in longer straighter drives.

This is something you'll need to practice -- not because it's hard to do but because the temptation will be to make the move too big. You'll squat too much and spread your knees too far; if you do, you'll hit the ball fat. Rather, this is a relaxed movement that should happen more or less automatically if you don't tense up. You just need to make this a normal part of your swing so you don't overemphasize it.

Once you learn how it feels, you'll start to do it without much conscious thought. And when you do that... well, you probably won't hit it as far as DJ but you'll be longer and straighter than you are now.

That ought to help reduce your score... and impress your foursome.

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