Instruction

One of social media's new favorite golf swings reveals 'Hall of Fame' advice

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Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

February 08, 2024

Jake Knapp's golf swing is one that's easy to love. It's fast but smooth; long but not wild; it's modern and athletic but with old school style.

If you're not familiar, you should probably take a gander before moving on...

Knapp's Hall of Fame advice

The defining characteristic of Knapp's golf swing is its backswing length. It's close to John Daly long, and looks a little like Jamie Sadlowski, to my eye.

It helps Knapp squeeze an astonishing amount of clubhead speed out of his frame, with his driver ball speeds routinely creeping above 190 mph.

But to Knapp, his long backswing was never something he thought much about — it just felt natural that way. There were times he thought about trying to shorten it to make it look more conventional, but his longtime coach, John Ortega, would always chime in with some useful advice, as Knapp explained at this week's WM Phoenix Open:

"He's always said, your swing is going to get naturally shorter as you get older, so he was like, why shorten it now?" he says.

"Every time I would say I wanted to change something about my swing, he would show me five guys in the Hall of Fame who have done that exact thing and had a lot of success. We've done a good job of just working with what I have and trying to create the best version of it."

3 things you can learn from Knapp's move

It's painfully true that there's plenty of time for your golf swing to get shorter as you get older It's also good advice to chase the best version of your own golf swing, rather than trying copy someone else.

But that doesn't mean not working on your golf swing at all.

Los Angeles-based Golf Digest No. 9-ranked Teacher Dana Dahlquist has watched Knapp develop over the years. What, specifically, can the rest of us learn from Knapp's move?

1. Build speed smoothly

Think of your golf swing like a car accelerating. The speed-gathering process needs to be continual; there's no stop-starting.

"The rev up of his swing is smooth," Dahlquist says of Knapp's swing. "He doesn't yank the club away on the takeaway. He gets the club moving into transition in a smooth, Ernie Els-type action. It's gradually building speed."

2. Keep the curve controlled

Knapp's golf swing is long, but it's not wild. That's because the PGA Tour rookie wants to limit the amount hits shots curve in either direction. If his fades start fading too much, he'll practice hitting draws, and vice versa.

"If he's on the course and he sees his ball start to draw, he'll know: 'ok, I need to bring this back to zero,'" Dahlquist says.

Not many amateurs try to hit the opposite shot on the range, but maybe we should.

3. A shorter swing doesn't always mean straighter drives

Long swings only become a problem when golfers lose the structure of their golf swing—sliding or lifting or causing their arms to collapse. If that's not happening, simply shortening your backswing may not be the solution you're looking for.

"A lot of amateurs will say, 'I need to shorten my swing to become more accurate,' and I'll always say to them: 'well, not necessarily,'" Dahlquist says. "Having a long swing for lots of people gives them more time to be accurate and square the face."