Learn from Jon Rahm’s abbreviated action to maximise your power game.
[feature image – Getty images: Andy Lyons]
Jon Rahm’s powerhouse action draws attention not just for the distance he generates but also for the brevity of his backswing. In this tutorial, Todd Anderson explains the differences between the usual long, collapsed swing most PGA Tour players use when hitting driver and the shorter backswing Rahm employs to maximise distance. Rahm’s prodigious power at the recent Sentry Tournament of Champions resulted in seven drives of 400 yards or longer, the most by any tour player since 2003, and helped him erase a seven-shot deficit in the final round to earn the eighth tour win of his career. A fortnight later, he added a ninth. – Chris Cox
Everyone associates distance with the length of the swing, but Jon Rahm proves that players can generate tremendous power with a shorter backswing. He makes a full upper body turn with minimal hip turn and keeps his arms extended more to the side of his chest. Rahm creates a lever system with a 90-degree angle between his lead arm and the club’s shaft and another 90-degree angle in his trail arm. This wide arm position, and the coil he has between his lower and upper body, creates a shorter backswing.
The traditional driver swing is a smoother, flowing motion. It features a longer lead arm motion, the shaft more parallel to the ground at the top of the swing and a bigger hip turn. This creates more power through the length of the swing motion, whereas Rahm creates it through a torque motion, coiling up like a spring on the backswing with his lower body unwinding to start the downswing, followed by the shoulders, arms, hands and club. He plays with a bowed wrist at the top, which allows minimal face rotation through impact, which helps him with accuracy and consistency.
Rahm at impact
The levers and torque Rahm creates on his backswing and his sequence of motion into the ball is what allows him to generate the power he does. This swing works for Rahm because of his body type and the way he assembles and releases the components of his swing.
Todd Anderson is the director of instruction at the PGA Tour Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship. In America, he was the 2010 National PGA Teacher of the Year and has seen his students amass more than 50 victories across the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour, including two FedEx Cup titles. He is currently rated by Golf Digest as one of the top 20 golf instructors in the United States.