Heading into the biggest competition in Golf things are even at the top of the world rankings. According to CBS Sports the number one player in the world, Dustin Johnson, is American. While the second, Jon Rahm, is European. In contrast, the PGA Tour has their ranks reversed. Regardless, according to multiple Golf ranking sites, Rahm and Johnson are one and two, whichever the order. To be considered one of the best two players in the game requires an elite swing. But who out of the two has the more efficient and effective movement?
While there are similarities in swing movement, there are subtle differences too. While one also has an increased injury risk in the future. By understanding how they move we can improve ourselves or young players too. Comparing ourselves to the best in the world will also help identify areas for improvement in our swings. Let’s have a look.
This is the key to both player’s swing and can be seen throughout the body. Firstly, Rahm’s shoulders rotate beneath his head as if they are spinning on a pole. There is huge rotation of his spine, chest and shoulders. At the top of his swing his back is facing down the fairway, before ending up facing behind tee at the finish.
Likewise, Johnson displays just as much rotation through his back, chest and shoulders. Noticeably though both player’s heads (and Johnson’s in particular) is still, despite all the moving parts. This enhances their hand-eye coordination, aiding contact consistency. The greater the rotation through the torso the greater separation between head and body, which allows those eyes to remain focused on the ball. While Johnson also follows the ball quicker with his eyes than Rahm. It is Johnson’s back shoulder that brings his head and eyes through so he can follow the ball’s trajectory.
Notably too, Johnson’s knees rotate together, showing excellent integration. Both player’s arms rotate clockwise in the upswing. Before rotating anti-clockwise on the downswing and follow through. Their right forearm faces away from body at top of swing and toward body at follow through.
This rotation means that both player’s swing is more fluent and effortless. More rotation means less resistance from gravity. Consequently, the movement feels lighter. Furthermore, independent yet integrated rotation means that less strain is put on the body. Nothing is forced. As a result neither player’s body will have to compensate from this aspect of their swing. Lowering the injury risk.
For both players the hips play such an important element in the swing. It is the hips that ignite the rotational movement. It is very clear in the video that they start the swing, before the chest and arms follow. They are also responsible for the weight transfer of both players. Applying both rotation and momentum into the shot. (very apparent in the video above of Dustin Johnson). Consequently, they generate the torque required to drive the ball such distances. Importantly, each element is integrated and working together. There are no apparent glitches in either player’s swing. Their top half understand how to work together. They are in-synch and coordinated. As a result the swing becomes a whole body movement. It is not the arms that generate the power. Both players can relax their arms and hands, trusting their pelvic strike. Consequently, the swing is more controlled, which results in better accuracy and consistency.
In his setup and continued through his swing Rahm is less symmetrical than Johnson. This can be observed in his knee bend. Furthermore Rahm’s right foot does not rotate fully or consistently come up to his toes. Consequently, this puts pressure on his knees. Noticeable too is that Rahm’s left foot rolls out and does not rotate. This puts significant pressure on his ankle. As a result Rahm has to compensate and puts more strain on his back to counter the dynamic movement. At swing completion Rahm’s head is still off to the right of his body, putting strain on his back to bring it back into midline. Combined these factors suggest that Rahm is of greater injury risk through his career. Any injury, particularly to the ankles and knees could have a detrimental effect to his recovery. Particularly if his rotational movements are not addressed.
In contrast, Johnson is more symmetrical. At contact he displays a straight arm and leg providing a great lever to strike the ball. This reiterates how his swing is a whole body movement increasing efficiency. There is also really good weight shift back to front, with right foot up on toes. Consequently, there is less compensation required to counter the movement. Resulting in less strain placed on the body.
Movement Lesson can help replicate this elite movement in aspiring Golf players. Whether you be a novice to the game, or regular recreational player or an elite performer. For everyone Movement LessonTM can improve rotation and pelvic strike. Full Movement Assessments identify restricted areas for movement. Significantly, for the swing to move in-synch the different body systems have to integrated. This will be key throughout sessions as two rotational areas will be improved simultaneously.
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This following post also demonstrates what a session with an aim to improve Golf swing would look like.
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