Traditionally when we think of long drivers on the PGA tour, we always think of the high, heavily drawing ball flight that has been whipped through with an inside out path with a heavily rotating face to maximize distance. Most people think that the fade bias guys on the tour tend to be the slightly shorter, less aggressive and more controlled players. This year however one player in particular has dramatically altered people’s perception of what it takes to be a long hitter on the PGA Tour, Brooks Koepka. Brooks is one of the most powerful hitters on the tour ranking inside the top 10 in terms of driving distance, while also hitting 60% of his fairways. In his words “Trust me, it’s easier to knock the ball on with a 9-iron than it is with a middle iron”. But how does he generate so much power while also hitting a fade?
As we look at Brooks’ address position we can see his athleticism almost immediately. Starting from the ground up he is a perfect example of how to create a strong and stable base with his legs. The balance is towards the balls of his feet, and his chest sits tall and strong which will allow him to turn into his right side and create a lot of separation, or tension between his upper and lower body. This separation is a key for all long hitters.
As brooks takes the club away from the ball, you will notice how little his lower body will move, the feet stay almost rooted to the ground as he turns into his trail leg and begins to create that upper and lower body separation that we had talked about earlier. You will see he maintains tension or flex in his right knee which further restricts his lower body from having too much lateral movement. The club is positioned nicely in front of his body, and although many would deem his club face to be in a closed position (not very common for someone who shapes the golf ball from left to right), there are other moves later on in the swing which make it work to his advantage.
At The Top
Looking at Brooks’ at the top of the backswing you can see just how strong and flexible this young man is. His shoulders have turned as much as his flexibility will allow while also keeping his feet firmly in place below him. Brooks really demonstrates his ability to separate his upper body and lower body in this position, as you will see his shoulders have turned far more than his hips, which helps him store a lot of potential energy and get ready to release it at the golf ball. As we look at his left wrist position at the top again it would be an unusual position for most fade players as his left wrist is quite “bowed” and his club face is “shut” at the top of the swing, however as his coach Claude Harmon III would tell you that this club face position is far more powerful to hit the shot from versus a more open club face position.
As Brooks starts his downswing he will really drive his right knee inwards towards the target. This feeling will generally have two affects
1 – It will begin the downswing sequence using the lower body as it begins to push from his right foot and drive his body through the golf ball
2 – Secondly the feeling of his right knee going towards his left is a fantastic feeling for reducing early extension, or loss of posture in the downswing. All too often when people are trying to create power we see their entire body lift up through the shot which can often result in miss-strikes.
Brooks’ main goal on the downswing is to turn as hard as possible with his hips and torso through the golf ball. By the time Brooks gets to impact he must have his hips and chest open (or pointing left) of the target to help him get the path of the club moving left, and create that fantastic fade that hits. This open body position at impact also shows us that Brooks’ has held nothing back through the shot. The faster his core and torso turn through the ball the longer he will hit it.
As we look at Brook’s impact position you can see just how fast he is trying to turn his torso through the shot by simply looking at how open his hips and shoulders are to the target line. You will also see him almost chase the golf ball through impact with his arms to help him create a huge amount of width throughout the swing
For someone who creates so much power, Brooks’ finishing position is amazingly balanced an poised. Brooks is one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, and when we look at his swing it is clear to see why.