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Swing Analysis: Zach Johnson

Another example of a not-so-big guy doing great things on the PGA Tour is Zach Johnson. Here we see how a great player works with and around an unconventionally strong grip. Johnson maintains the bend, or “cup” in the back of the left wrist all through the backswing and well into the downswing, which keeps the face relatively open considering his grip is just about a 4-knuckler. At address he starts with his hands quite low, which makes the wrist feel more comfortable and allows him to accentuate that wrist bend as he makes his swing. He planes the club perfectly going back, and utilizes a hard “catch” in transition combined with great right arm “extensor” action (the pushing out of the right palm and wrist into the left thumb) to maintain his width and add to his wrist cock. Quite noticeable here is Johnson’s “out” move with the hands (a la Hogan), a hugely important factor in a strong grip type technique as the outward moving hands and shallowing club are clubface opening movements. This gives him a “sidearm” throwing feel, something the viewer can get a sense of when watching him at full speed.
His hip action is “in the box” from the down the line view, and while it does twist a bit in the backswing (the right hip moving up and behind him away from the face on box line) with the left knee moving outward more than the right moves back, he makes a great lateral move and opens up hard and fast through impact. His swing gives the appearance of being perfectly synchronized, which is a hallmark of smaller players who compress and flight the ball as well as more physically sizeable guys. All in all a wonderful move that has lots of stuff in it from which “regular” size people could benefit.


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