Dustin Johnson won LIV Golf’s Las Vegas event last week, PGA professional Jack Backhouse dives in with an analysis of his swing.
Dustin Johnson birdied 2 of his last 4 holes to win on a tough day in Las Vegas to win his third event on the LIV Golf tour. In this series, PGA professional Jack Backhouse reviews the recent tour winners’ golf swings to understand what makes them great, starting with a Dustin Johnson golf swing analysis to see what makes him so long and consistent.
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Johnson sets up like an athlete, he is in perfect balance over the middle of his feet and looks ready. We know Johnson exclusively plays with a fade, so he addresses nearly enough of every shot with a slightly open body alignment to make sure every ball starts left of the target. Dustin has a strong right-hand grip, which contributes to his famously closed clubface throughout the swing, which will also contribute to him hitting his slightly left desired start line.
It’s the backswing where Johnson sets himself up for great golf shots. He creates enormous width in his backswing by not letting his right arm bend very much, which gives him a huge swing arc, essential for club head speed. His right knee moves back, which allows his hips and, therefore, his shoulders to turn; Dustin has one of the biggest shoulder turns we see on any golf tour.
His left wrist at the top of the swing is very bowed, which closes the face even more. Dustin’s method of squaring the face at impact is closing it as much as possible on the way back and then holding it in that position all the way down, almost like a closed-to-open release. This could be argued to be more consistent than a more traditional open-to-closed release but it requires tremendous flexibility in order to be able to pull it off.
Johnson transitions into his downswing beautifully by shifting his weight whilst leaving his arms and upper body behind; this is perfect sequencing for power. Johnson plays a fade, so to do with with such a closed clubface, he gets the club in a very steep position in the downswing. This is a position that amateur golfers are familiar with, but the former PGA Tour player does something special to make it work.
From his steep position, he is able to get his right shoulder to move down with an incredible right side bend whilst rotating his chest through the shot. This is not something most golfers can do. The effect of this is it keeps the club head outside (necessary for a fade) but shallows the angle of attack to hit effective golf shots. You should not have a shaft this steep on the downswing unless you can pair it with the right-side bend rotation move; otherwise, you will just hit steep, weak slices.
Into the Finish
The Dustin Johnson finish position is something we all recognise, his body position is fairly unorthodox with a clubface that has been held off to stop the ball from turning over left for that deadly double cross. He finishes in balance and with grace, able to decelerate from that incredible speed to hold a position in style with his arms across his chest.
What can we learn?
Dustin Johnson’s golf swing isn’t one many people on this planet are strong enough or flexible enough to copy. There are, however, components that would benefit most golfers.
- Letting the right knee move backwards in the backswing; this move allows for more hip turn and more shoulder turn, which is something we can never have enough of
- A strong clubface in the backswing. Having the club face square to closed on the way back gives us less to do on the way down and may eliminate that right miss.
- Transitioning with a weight shift, not your upper body. This creates lag and will create more clubhead speed.
Keep an eye out for more tour winners’ swing analysis in the future!
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