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Power move

How to spot the 'secret sauce' power move in Nick Dunlap's golf swing

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Orlando Ramirez

January 21, 2024

Nick Dunlap is the talk of the golf world this week, and for good reason. The reigning U.S. Amateur champion raced into the 54-hole lead at the American Express after going on 59 watch during his third round.

Among the (many) exciting things about Dunlap contending is that he's the latest in a growing class of up-and-coming talents who have learned the game with advanced technology fueling better understanding about the golf swing than ever before.

Dunlap's coach is Brian Speakman, who works under Golf Digest No. 1-ranked teacher Mark Blackburn, and if you look closely at Dunlap's swing, you can spot one of those new school moves.

You can learn from it, too.

The power move: Push into lead toe

Watch Dunlap take a swing, and take note of his left foot.

You may have spotted how he lifts his left heel off the ground slightly on the backswing, but then in the early part of his downswing, you can see him push hard towards his left toe.

Then around impact, you can see his left leg snap back in the opposite direction as his body rotates through.

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Why you should care

Why should you care about this move in Dunlap's golf swing?

Well because, quite simply, it's a power move you can and should implement in your own golf swing.

Blackburn explains that while golfers should shift to their lead side as they move into the downswing, it's not a side-to-side sliding movement. Doing that can cost you power and consistency, among other things.

Rather, it should feel like you're pushing into your lead toe in the early part of your downswing, Blackburn says.

"You can eliminate that slide and get much more power and control by pushing off the ground more during the transition. You want to feel like you’re stuffing your toes into the front of your shoes at that point, and by the time the club gets [mid-downswing], push up, straightening your lead leg and feeling like your lead shoulder is pulling up, back and around. That lines up the club, so you can smash it."

Blackburn goes into more detail about this in his Golf Digest Schools series (which you can watch right here) and in his great video below, where he says that the best players "push around 30 to 40 percent of their body weight through their lead foot" in transition. That allows them to create a powerful rotation when they later pull back on that foot, and whip the club through.

"It's a secret sauce," he says in the video. "It's really, really important."