Swing Like the Pros: 5 Moves to Try Off the Tee
by Pete Pappas
Keeping the ball in play is vital to scoring, but if you’re giving up yards off the tee that’s putting pressure on your game and making it difficult to card birdies. The good news is your swing probably doesn’t need an overhaul, it just needs a tune-up. And you can put a dent in those par-5s and even putt for eagle more often by taking a page from the top-5 players in the FedExCup Playoffs standings. Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas absolutely kill it off the tee. Copy their moves, and you’ll be mashing your drives in no time.
Stand Tall and Away
You don’t need to make a single-plane swing like Bryson DeChambeau to hit it a mile, but you do want to copy his posture. It’s almost impossible to shake that card-wrecking banana slice when you’re hunched over or standing too close to the ball. Bryson pounds the sweet spot and explodes through impact because he stands tall and away from the ball at address. That encourages a bigger shoulder turn for more rotation. To get into this position, feel as if your shoulders are tall and pinned back at address, not rounded. The more you rotate the faster you swing, and that means extra yards off the tee.
Justin Rose hits some mammoth blasts off the tee and generates the power to pipe those drives from the connection between the ground and his feet. At the top of Justin’s swing, all his weight is loaded in the right side and he builds up leverage by pressing his right toe into the ground.
Establishing that leverage allows him to push off and release the club powerfully into the ball on the downswing. To get that feel of pressuring the ground, drop your left foot back and swing normally to the top. All your weight should move into your right foot and keep your right side engaged. Do this a few times and you’ll be producing faster speeds that fuel your newfound distance.
Swing Around Your Body
18Birdies Ambassador Tony Finau is one of the longest hitters on Tour but doesn’t even get his club back to parallel. So how does Finau generate that prodigious power? Tony focuses on turning his body more and swinging his arms less in his backswing. When Finau’s chest stops moving, so do his arms and hands. Long, loose arm swings are motion, but not productive motion.
To get a feel for Finau’s compact swing, try crossing your arms across your chest and putting your hands on your shoulders. When you get as far as you can go with your chest, that’s the size of your backswing. Minimizing potential mistakes going back will free you up to hammer longer and straighter drives.
Dustin Johnson’s swing is so powerful it can actually make other Tour pros stop and take notice. Johnson is explosive off the tee in part because he releases his hands, wrists, and arms completely in the follow-through. DJ imparts maximum speed on the ball by allowing the club-head to pass his hands right after impact. To execute a proper release like Johnson, try holding a club with your hands on the grip four or five inches apart. When you take your practice swings the club will naturally release and you’ll experience an enhanced feeling of a complete, sweet release. Then just put your hands back on the club with your regular grip and proceed to rip one down the middle.
Clear the Runway
A lot of people credit Justin Thomas’s footwork for his incredible swing speed, but it’s actually the width he creates at the top of his swing that’s responsible for his transformative speed. Thomas puts his hands as far away from his head as possible at the top, which gives the club head more time to gain speed coming back down.
Think of it like an airplane runway. If there’s not enough runway the plane can’t reach the speed required to take off. The more runway you have, the more speed the plane (or club head) can produce. So go ahead and swing high and wide in your backswing. You’ll increase your power output and grab a few more yards.
Now that you have a few tips for your drive, here are a few drills you can do to focus on your putting!