Golf tips: Power up like Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson

Want to get some tips from the man who knows Dustin Johnson best?

That’s right, we spoke to Claude Harmon (@CH3golf) shortly after the American’s US Open win, who helped explain how you can learn from the major champion.

1. Build a swing to fit your build

At 6ft 4in, Johnson is one of the tallest players on the tour, which is great – bigger levers give you the opportunity to create more width in your swing – but it’s not without its challenges either.

“We are always working on DJ’s set-up position,” explains Harmon. “You’ll notice there is no arc in his lower back. This means he sets up with his core and glutes engaged, which help stabilise his lower body during the swing.”

Dustin Johnson41

2. Don’t be afraid to make changes

Like most of today’s top players, Johnson’s ‘go to’ shot off the tee is now a fade. Harmon explains that they started working on making the move away from a draw at last year’s Tour Championship.

“The fade has made DJ’s driving much more consistent,” he says. “Obviously, he doesn’t need more distance but he is always trying to hit more fairways.” A simple fix made all the difference.

“His takeaway is now more outside,” adds Harmon. “This helps promote a more left-to-right ball flight.”

Dustin Johnson2

3. Be aware of what your arms are up to

One of the problems with Johnson’s old draw flight was that his arms would occasionally get stuck behind his body.

“Setting up for a draw would, at times, promote his arms getting too deep and inside going back,” explains Harmon.

“Now that we’ve changed it, his right elbow is down (above, right) and his arms are working up, rather than behind his body.”

Dustin Johnson3

4. Be open to being closed

At the top of his backswing (above, right), you’ll notice that Johnson’s clubface is closed. “Thirty years ago, this position would have been changed,” says Harmon.

“But this is DJ’s move and we have never wanted to change it. The wrist gets bowed, which is a very powerful position.

“He basically gets his left wrist into flexion and then keeps it like that on the downswing, which stores up energy and power. If you are struggling with contact and distance, this is the move you want to copy.”

Dustin Johnson1

5. Put in the hours in the gym

Look at DJ’s rotation through the impact area (above, second right) – rather impressive, no? This, according to Harmon, is the result of lots and lots of hours in the gym.

“Around 60% of DJ’s work in the gym is lower body/ground-force based,” he says. “That’s where his power comes from – the ground up.

“Most amateur golfers try to get distance by swinging their arms faster. Instead, use your legs and lower body to swing the club club faster.”


Claude Harmon is the Director of Instruction at Butch Harmon Floridian. Follow him on Twitter (@CH3golf).

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