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In this video, I compare the driver swing of Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, two of the longest and most accomplished golfers in the world. I did this analysis at the request of my readers, as well as to show that there are many, many ways to swing a golf club effectively, even at the world-class level.

For more about me and how I teach, visit www.dennisclarkgolf.com or go to my Facebook Page

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Dennis Clark

    Jul 1, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    and blessed genetics!

  2. Phil Underhill

    Jul 1, 2016 at 7:30 am

    It’s incredible how long DJ keeps the clubface square past impact, in fact it appears that the club is more open 12″ past the ball !!

    It makes sense that this should happen given how shut he is at the top, and in fact generally seems like a logical way to swing

    • dennis clark

      Jul 1, 2016 at 8:54 am

      I think it good if you’re in the super high speed athletic mode as is his case. Not sure that has sufficient power for most though.

      • Phil Underhill

        Jul 1, 2016 at 9:10 am

        see what you mean, his length is due to the fact he’s 6’5″, athletic and has about 110º shoulder turn. could be potentially longer but maybe less straight

        take away the height and shoulder turn and you’re at Zach Johnson clubhead speed, and he’s in better shape than most!

    • bc

      Jul 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Well he has to shut at the top because he wants to come into it with the face closed to target so he can his his busting cut and hold it off like that

  3. Dennis Clark

    Jun 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    The thing that goes unnoticed about DJ is the amount RIGHT WRIST cup he gets (and keeps) as a result of that left wrist flexion.

  4. Dennis Clark

    Jun 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

    long, lanky, supple, strong etc. not a lifetime swing IMO…

    • Canadian Smizzle

      Jun 30, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Uh oh. I am certainly leaning towards the dj model a fair bit. And wow did i ever pick up club head speed. I was around 97 and my fastest swing is 122 on a flightscope. 118 average. I hooked it at first but i recently figured out how to move the ball both ways again. But it is real hard to move the ball less left and right swinging that fast. 97 mph i could shape both ways.

  5. Jim

    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    As said, both super athletes, chances are they both would be just as good had they had learned from someone other then who they did…..it is called talent, hand eye coordination if you will. To much time is spent trying to explains why these guys and gals on tour are so good…it is simple, they just are that good.

    • dennis clark

      Jun 29, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      True Jim..the point of the analysis is how there are many ways that the great athletes accomplish what they do. Very different techniques from two world class athletes!

  6. Bob Pegram

    Jun 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    As you point out, Dustin Johnson is very shut at the top due to his bowed left wrist. But his left wrist is not bowed at impact. My guess is that he is very loose jointed and that was a way when he was a kid to keep from leaving the face way open and hitting it dead right. That is an easy mistake to make for people who are loose jointed including loose wrists, especially a skinny kid.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jun 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      somebody was smart enough to leave him alone…thank goodness. Someone had tried to “fix” that club face, we may have never heard of DJ…

      • Edley

        Jun 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        We would have, but probably as an athlete in a different sport.

        • Steve

          Jun 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm

          Not likely

        • Brian

          Jul 1, 2016 at 8:43 am

          In which sport? He was a good HS basketball player but he’s “only” 6’4″. That’s on the smallish side in the NBA except for guards, and DJ wasn’t a guard. He might be an athletic freak by golf’s standards, but he’s quite pedestrian by even NCAA basketball standards.

      • beejaybee

        Jul 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

        Credit to Allen Terrell – CCU Golf Coach

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The Gear Dive: Golf marketing convo with Honma VP John Kawaja

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In this episode of The Gear Dive Johnny sits live with Honma Golf’s John Kawaja to discuss the benefits and challenges of marketing a new company in this fast and furious social media age.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Mondays Off: Augusta National: start on the front or back nine? | Knudson’s Fujikura visit

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Would you rather start your round at Augusta National from the front or back nine? Mondays Off debates both after the most recent Masters had players starting from both. Steve gets some information on Fujikura shafts from Knudson’s visit last week and then Knudson confesses on how his first night of league play went!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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The Wedge Guy: How many wedges?

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From the feedback I get, many golfers are not entirely confident…or are completely confused…about how many wedges they should carry. Those of you who know my work and writing over the past 25 years or so also know that I am a proponent of carrying a carefully measured “set” of wedges that give you the shotmaking control you need in prime scoring range. But what I’ve learned over those many years is that the number of wedges that is “right”, and the lofts of those wedges can be very different from one golfer to another.

The reason I think getting this right is so important is that your scores are more heavily influenced by your play from wedge range into the green, and your shotmaking around the greens, than by any other factor. The right “set” of wedges in your bag can make all the difference in the world.

As I repeatedly preach, taking your guidance from the PGA Tour players might not help you achieve your goals. These guys spend hundreds of hours each year perfecting their wedge play, and you simply cannot do that. The good news is that you can add some science to your wedge set make-up that can help you have more shot choices when you are in scoring range or trying to save par from a missed green.

My basic premise on the subject is that the answer can be approached scientifically for each golfer, and it is a multi-step process

  1. Begin by knowing the loft of the 9-iron and “P-club” that came with your set of irons, as optimum gapping begins there. The industry challenge of producing longer-hitting irons has led most OEMs to strengthen lofts throughout the set. Along the way, it was apparently decided to widen the gaps between the short irons to 5 degrees from the traditional 4 that stood for decades. What this does is increase the distance differential between your 9-iron and “P-club” from what I would consider optimum. For golfers of slower swing speeds, that 5-degree gap might well deliver a 10-12 yard differential, but my bet is that most of you are getting a difference closer to 15 yards, or even more. That just will not let you get the distance control precision you want in prime scoring range.
  2. The second step is to be honest with your distances. I am a big proponent of getting on the golf course or range with a laser or GPS and really knowing how far you carry each of your short irons and wedges. Hit a number of shots from known yardages and see where they land (not including roll out). My bet is that you will find that your distances are different from what you thought they were, and that the differentials between clubs are not consistent.
  3. Figure out where to start. If your actual and real distance gap between your 9-iron and “P-club” is over 12-13 yards, maybe the place to start could be with a stronger P-club. You can either have your loft strengthened a bit or make the shaft 1/4 to 1/2” longer to add a few yards to that club.
  4. Figure out what lofts your wedges should have. From there, I suggest selecting lofts of your wedges to build a constant yardage difference of 10-12 yards between clubs. Depending on your strength profile, that may require wedges at four-degree intervals, or it might be five – each golfer is different. Those with very slow swing speeds might even find that six-degree gaps deliver that distance progression.
  5. Challenge the traditional 52-56-60 setup. Those lofts became the “standard” when set-match pitching wedges were 48 degrees of loft. That hasn’t been the case in over 25 years. Most of today’s P-clubs are 45 degrees, which leaves a very large distance differential between that club and a 52-degree gap wedge. Some enlightened golfers have evolved to carry a wedge set of 50-54-58, which is a step in the right direction. But you can get whatever loft precision you want, and you should do that. At SCOR, we made wedges in every loft from 41 to 61 degrees, and our wedge-fitting tool prescribed lofts of 49-53-57-61 to many golfers, based on that 45* “P-club” and their stated distance profile. Those who took that advice were generally very happy with that change. We fitted and sold many sets at 49-54-59 as well. Though no company offers wedges in every loft, you can bend even numbers to hit your numbers exactly. Just remember, bending stronger reduces the bounce and bending weaker increases the bounce.

What many of you will find with this exercise is that it suggests that you should be carrying more wedges. That’s probably true for the vast majority of recreational golfers. I have come to realize that more wedges and less long clubs will usually improve your scores. After all, long or short by 25-30 feet is great at long range, but not acceptable in prime scoring range.

If you have more clubs at the long end of your bag (longer than a 5- or 6-iron) than you do at the short end (9-iron and up) then you should consider an honest self-appraisal of how often you use each club between your driver and putter. My bet is that it will be an enlightening analysis.

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