He's not one of golf's longest hitters, but American Jason Dufner is one of the most accurate drivers in the game. Many observers have noted how similar his swing is to that of Ben Hogan, a high accolade indeed and one that explains his consistency.
And indeed, the super-cool Ryder Cup star has been a fan of Hogan since a young age – even his Twitter picture is of the great man.
“Hogan had a lot of great components to his golf swing,” Dufner told TG. “But there’s not really anything consciously of his that I’ve tried to incorporate into my swing.
“A lot of people say I swing the club similar to him, but it’s not like I modelled my swing exactly on his.
We have similar body types – our arms are a similar length. A lot of the characteristics in our swings come from that I suppose.”
Read on to discover the keys to Dufner’s pinpoint accuracy with the driver off the tee...
Have a waggle
Dufner is famous for his pre-shot waggle. Generally, the purpose of the waggle is to relieve tension in the hands and body prior to hitting a shot. Tension limits your power and timing, and this little movement prevents tension. The waggle is another characteristic of Hogan, which could explain why Dufner has adopted the signature move.
“It’s something that I’ve always done as far back as I can remember. There’s no real conscious thought involved, it’s not like a pre-set routine or anything. I guess it’s crept in there from watching Hogan.”
Ball position is key with the driver. I like to play my ball just inside my left heel – that way I catch the ball at the bottom of the swing arc. A slightly stronger grip feels more natural to me.
Why I waggle
I’ve heard sometimes it’s been seven waggles, sometimes it’s been 10. I’ve just always done it. I guess I don’t like to stay still when I’m addressing the ball.
Stand tall at set-up
I try and stand nice and tall in my address position. Amateurs I see in pro-ams often slouch over at address and you can’t create any power or consistency from there.
Backswing key move
“My swing thoughts change from time to time. I try to focus on one at a time. Right now, with my coach Chuck Cook, I’m working on achieving a full shoulder turn by getting my right shoulder as far away from the ball in the backswing as I can. I see a lot of amateurs in pro-ams ‘lift’ and let the arms do a lot of the work when they swing. Focus instead on good upper body rotation and you’ll see some good results. In the downswing I try and get that right shoulder as close to the ball as I can with the handle nice and close to my left hip at the point of impact.”
Getting the right shoulder as far away from the ball as possible and creating a full turn will help you create maximum power in the backswing.
Handle on hip at impact
If you watch a video of Hogan you can see how close the handle is to his left hip just after impact. That keeps your swing circle nice and compact and your plane consistent.
Fault: Hands up and out
If you let the hands fly out and up, the clubhead will take over earlier and you’re dealing with a lot more timing. It often comes about from trying to steer the ball down the fairway off the tee.