Remember Dustin Johnson? Throw Release

dustin-johnson-topOriginally posted November 12, 2014.  DJ leads at Riviera going into the final round!

OK, so he’s taking a little break from playing pro golf after his little run-in with the PGA Tour’s lab testing unit, but if you look at Dustin Johnson’s swing, I mentioned him last spring with regards to why he has such a big bow in his left wrist at the top.

I had looked at his action and determined that he was actually swinging the club with his right hand and arm only and that his left arm was only there for stability and going along for the ride.

Well, after the week I’ve had looking at the swing, I can confirm my earlier analysis and emphasize that the left wrist position is a result of what he’s doing with his right hand, and not a cause or catalyst.

Dustin Johnson Swings


I had shown in the Wax Golf “Ben Hogan Project” how Hogan kept his plane flat by cupping the left wrist on the back swing.

Dustin Johnson has the complete opposite left wrist position at the top, and he has an amazing if albeit modern swing pivot.  He hits all the positions in the back swing that he needs to, even without a swinging gate, and I can only hope he’s a freak of nature and not causing incremental damage to his lower back.

Another long-hitting modern swinger looked as fluid and effortless as DJ does now – Fred Couples had a swing that everyone called “smooth” and “silky,” yet that swing destroyed his back when he was in his mid-30’s.  It’s not now that you pay the bill for the modern swing – it’s later, when you discover you’re mortal and not made of rubber.

dustin j2


So, if you’re looking for a true “throwing” motion on the PGA Tour, I will go back to what I wrote over four years ago on Dustin Johnson – he has a “throw” release and all that power comes from the throwing action, combined with a pretty leveraged pivot, even if I wouldn’t ever tell anyone to swing modern style.

Dustin Johnson is a great golfer despite his modern swing model, not because of it.  

If he weren’t limber as Gumby and 6’4″ he would be nowhere near as long, nor would he get away with that planted foot pivot.  So he’s unique, and not a model to emulate.

The average person would be advised to float their pivot and not try to swing modern style.  These guys are destroying their bodies, but at least they’re making the money they’ll need for the doctor’s visits and the joint replacements they’ll require.

Fred Couples takes jet planes to Germany to treat his back.

I’ll just try not to destroy mine for the sake of hitting a golf ball.


13 thoughts on “Remember Dustin Johnson? Throw Release

  1. Brandon

    When you first started talking about Dustin’s throw move earlier this year, I did some experimenting of my own with what I thought he was doing and I combined it with my floating hybrid pivot but I lost the feel after a few weeks. Since I have a better understanding of the floating pivot I think I may retry Dustin’s throw action again.

  2. Brandon

    I have to get a club in my hand but it I remember correctly, it feels like the right hand and forarm are supporting the club and left hand and arm at top and on the way down the right hand and arm is just trying to dump the weight and get the weight away from it.

    I probably sound like a loon but I will have to do it to see it its true.

    The other thing that I noticed about this move is that it lowered my ballflight significantly with the driver and Dustin is notorious for low screaming drives that carry 320+

  3. Steve in MN

    …probably gonna have to get your next video DJ…hitting sky high drives with a 6 degree loft is only fun downwind😜…

    1. Brandon

      I wish I could do that. I am getting 11-14 degree launch but I can’t get more than 40 feet off the ground. I know its because I can’t get enough spin but still.

  4. Brandon

    I worked on this last night and what I realized is that I physically can’t do what I was feeling with the right arm alone. I have to use the left as a guide and I can’t apply the pressure with the right arm until I get to the top.

    I feel like the base knuckles of the left hand are the guide away and back to the ball while the right arm is pouring the pressure to the club for the throw, but I know that isn’t what Dustin is doing.

    I can’t figure this one out.

    1. D Watts Post author

      It’s not something that has to be figured out, B. This is what Johnson’s doing, it’s a thing unique to him, and he’s been swinging this way forever. It’s not the source of his power, just the way he produces it himself. No model I would ever build or recommend, but it’s cool to look at the things others are doing sometimes.

      1. Brandon

        well the only reason I am looking at it again is when I was doing it earlier this year, I was bombing everything and it was basically dead straight. I had a nine hole score of even par early in the summer and I was doing this move. I had almost complete control over my ball and where it was going. Fade and draw. hitting 230 4 irons off the tee. I just wanted to see if I could get that feel back now that I understand the float better because when I tried this, you hadn’t even started really calling it the floating pivot yet. We were only discussing staying centered with the swinging gate.

        Just want to give it a good try and see if I should work on it or completely leave it alone.

  5. Brandon

    I will say though, after watching the video and trying to work on the floating pivot. I have noticed that my swing is starting to look more Austin than before which is strange because I am trying to just do the float, but oh well, it can’t be helped right now. I will just enjoy the ride until I am going 14/14 and 18/18 with power. That is the ultimate goal.

  6. Laser

    If there’s something that you don’t like about Dustin Johnson’s swing…it can’t possibly be as bad as Oosthuizen (whom you mentioned a couple of days ago) is quoted as saying:

    Golf Digest, Feb. 2016, “he” gives some of “his” power tips.
    1) Keep the feet quiet on the backswing.
    2) Press against the ground with flat feet when going to impact.

    [Disclaimer: I read it in a waiting room; no purchase.]

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