Pound for pound Justin Thomas is one of the longest hitters in the game and he achieves that through some unconventional, but very effective, footwork.
You don’t have to be a monster to get power but you have to understand how to generate the power. You might not teach his feet movement but he really knows how to make it work for him with the driver.
Let’s take a look..
Justin Thomas’ footwork
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 3, 2019
First up Thomas has has quite different footwork with his irons to the driver. With his irons it is very stable with a quiet lower half which helps with his compression while here, with the driver, he hits so up on the ball and a lot of the footwork is associated with that.
He pushes so aggressively into the ground but, because it’s so hard, it makes him push up and hit up on the ball which is a great power move with the driver. From memory I think he’s about six degrees up on it.
He squashes down in the transition and then, as he unwinds and attacks the ball, so creating the rotational force from out of the ground and pushing him upwards, he jumps up on his toes.
You see it with a lot of young lads who haven’t got super-strong cores and Thomas will have learnt how to power his swing through this legs and hips as a youngster.
And he’s still got those traits still though he’s changed it with his irons to get more consistency and a more stable clubface. But why change it with the driver as it helps him to hit up on the ball so well?
With an iron you want to hit more down on the ball and compress it with a more squeezed flight, with the driver you want to send it out there, high launching and low spinning as possible. To do that you have to hit up on it as much as possible.
This isn’t miles away from Bubba’s footwork but he has both feet moving all over the place and is more unique but still quite classical with the high arms, and he does it with all clubs. With Thomas it is just a driver movement.
Justin Thomas: Keys To Ripping Your Driver pic.twitter.com/KmGOW4OxeC
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) June 29, 2017
What to practise?
None of us can replicate his footwork but try and think about how much he is able to apply a force down into the floor, which enables him to get the lag, and then try and copy the feeling of hitting up on the ball which is where is he is incredible.
In using the floor it can’t just be one foot, it’s got to be both feet pushing in. To create the power through the floor you can’t close the gap early between the legs, the gap between the knees if anything increases.
In the backswing you will be loading more through your right leg, in the transition you want to be moving across to the left side but you don’t want to take the weight off the right side too early as that will create too much slide from the pelvis. If Thomas did that he would be hitting big hooks.
As he starts down the right knee stays a little bit quieter so the gap increases, the left knee goes away from the right and then, as he starts to open up the body, then the right knee starts to move.
Dan Whittaker is an elite golf swing and performance coach based at High Legh. For more information, visit his website