Recognising a common theme among most of the top players in golf today doesn’t take a Ph.D. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are all hyper-athletic and launch the ball off the tee without any fear.
Based on that, our prediction is that Brooks Koepka is next in line for stardom. The huge-hitting Floridian won his first US Tour title in 2015 and made his first Ryder Cup team last year before capturing the US Open this June.
“The way the modern game is played and given his attitude – nothing fazes him,” says Claude Harmon III, who has worked with Koepka since 2012. “He’s become a really good driver of the ball, and he’s added more shots. His putting has improved a lot, too. It’s a complete game.”
Koepka has geared his swing to produce a “pull cut”, his coach says. It’s a shot that starts left but gently curves back towards the target. And with clubhead speed reaching 128 miles per hour, Koepka routinely carries it 300-plus yards. “He hits a very heavy ball, like a boxer who throws hard punches,” Harmon says. “It’s a great swing to copy.”
– Matthew Rudy
Movin’ On Up
A 320-yard tee shot starts with a two-inch adjustment. Koepka struggles when his ball position drifts back a touch. “When it’s forward like it is here, Brooks feels like he can really rotate through the ball,” says Claude Harmon III, Koepka’s swing coach. “If it drifts back in his stance, it messes with his swing path.”
Front And Centre
A big key for Koepka is making sure the club stays in front of his body on the backswing and downswing. That means Koepka doesn’t pull the clubhead inside on the way back. And on the downswing, the clubhead stays outside his hands, so “he can swing free and really use his athleticism”, Harmon says.
Enough Is Enough
“My swing thought has always been the same – don’t overswing,” Koepka says. “I want to feel like I’m going back three-quarters instead of a full turn, and really firing from there.” Harmon says the thought helps Koepka keep width to his swing and prompts him to make an aggressive turn through the ball.
The Match Game
Koepka’s ability to drive it long and straight under pressure comes from an ideal mixture of swing elements that square the club at impact, Harmon says: “His clubface is a little shut. So if he rotates his body and releases the club, he can go after the ball as hard as he wants, and it’s going to go pretty straight.”
Sweet And Low
Want to get a better release through impact? Borrow one of Koepka’s favourite sensations. “He tries to feel the handle being low at impact, and his chest more open,” Harmon says. “If the handle is higher, it’s harder to release the club,” which means the clubface won’t be in position to hit his reliable cut.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Look at Koepka’s follow-through. There’s great body rotation. “You don’t see too much separation between his left arm and body right after impact,” Harmon says. “If that arm moves away too much, it means his chest stopped turning.” When the chest stops, it’s really difficult to control the shot shape and find the fairway.
27 / 183cm / 84kg
West Palm Beach, Florida
Titleist Pro V1x