Drive, Chip and Putt—Like Jason Dufner!

December 18, 2017

Photographs by Alex Taylor/Vineyard Vines

First things first: If you were disappointed with your last round, your last few rounds, heck, your last golf season—it's time to let it go. You've got to put things behind you when you're not having the successes you want. Case in point: I shot 65-65 in the first two rounds of the Memorial Tournament in 2017 but followed with a 77 on Saturday—a huge letdown. Determined not to let it happen again on Sunday, I got the bad feelings out of my system by hitting balls and putting for a bit. Next day, I shot 68 and won the tournament. See what I'm saying? Quickly write off your bad days and reboot your game with the fundamentals. That's what I want to share with you here. If you can hit your tee shots better, chip better and, certainly, putt better, you can turn things around really fast. Let me give you a few pointers to work on as you prepare for next season. Never underestimate the value of sound fundamentals—and some positive thinking. – With Ron Kaspriske


My all-time favorite swing thought when hitting driver is, Keep the left arm connected to my chest. That's what you you see me doing here (below). It reminds you to swing with your arms and body rotating together. Staying synced is important. It also helps you swing on an in-to-in path in relation to your target line, which should stop you from slicing. And speaking of slicing, don't forget the simplest fundamentals to hit it straighter: grip and alignment. I recommend a stronger position holding the club, with the hands rotated a little clockwise. Also, be sure your body is aligned square or slightly closed to the target.


Photograph by Alex Taylor/Vineyard Vines



The most common problem I see with golfers who struggle when chipping is that they're all arms. You have to turn your body, too, when you hit these shots. Here I'm just off the green, but look how I've rotated my chest so it's facing the flagstick (below). Short shot, but big rotation.

A good swing thought: Keep the grip close to your body as you follow through. That will encourage you to turn with the club. I also see too much hand action in these shots. Your backswing thought should be, Take the club back wide with no hinge in your wrists and your arms fairly straight. Also, I know this is tough, but you have to trust that the loft on your wedge will get the ball in the air. Don't try to help it off the turf with your hands. Just keep turning and let the club do its job.


Photograph by Alex Taylor/Vineyard Vines


Whatever you've been told about grip pressure, having a steady head, length of the stroke, how to read the break; all that stuff takes a back seat to one thing—speed. The path of your putt is dictated by how fast the ball is rolling, so speed is king when it comes to improving on the greens. Think about it: If you're not getting the ball to the hole, what's the point of focusing on anything else about putting? Considering how many strokes are taken on the greens, it's an important fundamental. Use your practice time mainly on distance drills, really trying to hit putts with the right amount of effort. If you have good distance control, you'll still have a reasonable chance of making the next one even if you don't get the read quite right, because you're hole high. Want a swing thought that helps when you're playing? Think this: Just get it to the hole. You might be surprised how something as simple as that makes you put a good roll on the ball.


Photograph by Alex Taylor/Vineyard Vines

Jason Dufner is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2013 PGA Championship. His Jason Dufner Foundation's goal: End child hunger in Lee County, Alabama.