124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Secret's in the dirt

Justin Thomas is grinding on his golf swing—let's break down the video

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September 05, 2023

Justin Thomas' game hasn't been at its best, by his own admission. So much so that some golf fans have even began asking the unthinkable—should the U.S. team leave JT at home?

Instead, U.S. captain Zach Johnson has doubled down on the player who has been the heartbeat of the U.S. team in his past two appearances. JT got his captain's pick—and his spending his time between now and the Ryder Cup working hard on the range, to prove ZJ right.

JT has been laying relatively low the past few weeks since missing the FedEx Cup playoffs, but reemerged with a couple of videos that the golf swing nerds of the world will love.

If you're reading this post, you're probably one of us. Welcome! Let's break them down.

Video no. 1: Feel vs. Real

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Every golfer has different tendencies that pop up in their swing, both good and bad. For JT, one tendency he's talked about in the past comes on his backswing. Occasionally, his clubhead will drift inside on the backswing, and his club will get too across the line at the top. When that happens, his arms will get stuck behind his body on the downswing. Good shots become heavily reliant on good timing, which is hard to repeat.

JT knows it, which is why JT rehearses his takeaway before every shot he hits.
"It's a simple drill helps keep the club in front of me," he told me back in 2019. "It’s saved me a lot, because if the clubhead ever gets behind my hands, I’m usually toast."

It's why you'll often see JT use over-exaggerated feels to counteract this tendency. It's something he turns to often—like in the sixth video above—and it's a method that really works for him. On this occasion, he was returning to the same feels he used the week of his victorious 2022 PGA Championship week.

Video no. 2: Swing in the guardrails

Of course, as we discussed on a recent episode of the Golf IQ podcast, swing feels are great for taking your game to the golf course. But sometimes, when you're on the range, you need something a little more intense.

That's when JT breaks out the pool noodles.

JT's goal of this drill is pretty simple: To swing through the gap in the pool noodles. He literally can't get his club stuck inside, because if he did his club would smash into one. If he avoids both, he knows his swing will be moving in the direction he wants.

You can watch me break down the full video right here: