How To Avoid “Shortened Careers” Has Nothing To Do With Power & Distance… It’s HOW You Swing

dj driver topThe title is of course a tongue-in-cheek reference to Justin Rose fretting about pro golfers possibly shortening their careers in trying to increase their power & driving distances like Bryson DeChambeau.

Allow me to introduce 49 year old DJ Watts swinging with a likely higher average club speed than Justin Rose (115.37 mph in ’19-’20 season)

The difference is that JR is ten years younger than I am & I’m not a PGA Tour professional, just a researcher who generated higher club speed (avg 118.34 for 5 drives) in a testing facility in 2018, at the age of 48.

Now, I’ll say right off the bat that JR’s is an average over an entire season while I have a 5 drive sample – but I was swinging once a week, sometime once in two weeks, at the time I recorded those numbers.

Were I to swing every day & get into some form resembling physical fitness (you know, like if played golf for a living & fitness & hitting balls were a daily pursuit), does anyone doubt I’d have been well over 120 mph as I just a few years ago?

OK, let’s take a look at the swing of a 49 year old (recorded August 23, 2019) who doesn’t suffer from back injuries and didn’t even when going through 5-7 jumbo buckets of balls 5 days per week as I did in my mid to late 30’s in my early research days:

dj drive aug 23 '19

dj drv dtl aug 23 '19

As you can see in the gifs, I’m hitting drives with a controlled swing, not heaving it or jumping out of my shoes after them, but those balls were smashed.

The story is told in the position at the top:

dj driver top

  • The green arrow points to the fact I have no problem getting the club to parallel,
  • The red to my shoulders with a more than 90 degree turn (not bad for a 49 year old),
  • The yellow to the vertical leading thigh position, which indicates a full hip turn and which is causing knee injuries for golfers trying to get this with a firmly planted leading heel (ligaments and bones don’t stretch, so this is bound to happen with a modern golf swing action).

In essence, I can stand on a range or walk the course all day long, hitting drives over 300 yards upwards to 350 (longest drive on a course 375 yards on a level fairway), and I have never come close to hurting my back or my knees, neck etc swinging a golf club.

It’s not how hard you swing that is the injury risk, friends, it’s HOW you swing.

And don’t forget the time I tweaked my back doing something non-golf related (I have scoliosis so it happens all the time if I bend or twist just a little bit wrong), so that I couldn’t even tie my shoes standing up, but still got on a plane two days later (agony sitting in that plane seat for 6 hrs), flew to Phoenix & hit drives well over 300 yards at an informal WAX Golf meet back in 2016… because you swing with your hips & legs, not your back:

I was able to at least tee up the ball by then, but still very stiff in the lower back & in a good deal of pain discomfort.  But driving the ball? No problem.

In fact, I think that with all of the swing work I’ve been doing during the lockdown, I’ll be driving it longer at 51 this summer than I ever have, if I can get back into some semblance of fitness again.

That’s because technique is paramount.  It’s about leveraging that golf club instead of muscling it. 

Which means, if & when I’ve got Mike Dunaway’s Post-Modern golf swing model nailed down, I anticipate swing speeds & driving distances that I haven’t yet documented accurately.

We’ll soon see.

More to come.

2 thoughts on “How To Avoid “Shortened Careers” Has Nothing To Do With Power & Distance… It’s HOW You Swing

  1. Mr. McJohn

    Would you say that a good percentage of the swing is setup? How important is the setup overall in regards to creating the correct action?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Great question.

      I wouldn’t say that, MMJ – I would shout it. Just as the 3 Rules of Real Estate are Location, Location & Location, 3l keys to the swing are Setup, Setup & Setup.

      The only way to be able to truly repeat a swing without spending a lifetime practicing is in this. If you don’t have the proper setup, then the entire swing is a series of compensations to get to impact squarely.

      Once you nail the setup, you’re 90% finished with the swing. The rest is simply pivot & down swing. Trust me on this – nothing in my swing philosophy has really changed over the years (ask those who’ve been around for the 12 years since I began to post on the Smash Golf blog back in late ’09 or came shortly after), they will tell you that I’ve always been working on the setup to create the optimal swing model.

      My own swing has always fallen short of the models I built using the great swingers of the past – until I began to hone in on the optimal setup. The closer I got, the better my swing got.

Comments are closed.