A Justin Thomas-Inspired Drill to Improve Your Backswing

Try this “TRUNK” DRILL to slow your downswing and help you gain maximum power with just one step

Do you feel rushed when starting the downswing? If you are like most amateur golfers, myself included, then you know this can lead to all kinds of awful outcomes. Check out this great visualization of the drill from our friend Clay Ballard on the”TRUNK” drill to slow the downswing transition. The ultimate goal is to swing the club through the ball and stay balanced with your weight on your left foot and the right heel almost up.


The case for high hands at the top of the backswing

Like Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart, Ernie Els, and Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas carries a pretty upright lead arm at the top of his swing.

I have asked his dad, and coach, Mike, about it. Mike mentioned that he has no problem with the swing being more upright and that all they keep tabs on are the club shaft not getting too far across the line and the swing not getting too long.

There certainly are advantages to a higher arm plane at the top. The position creates a feeling of less restriction and more freedom leading to a better swing rhythm. High hands allow more time for the clubhead to accelerate in the downswing creating more speed and likely more success with longer irons and clubs. Ultimately high hands can create a steeper angle of attack making it easier to play out of the rough and bad lies.

Justin Thomas

Typically, players with higher hands at the top are better iron players too. Now let’s be realistic about the expectations…Not everything is the next great elixir for your ball-striking (including this drill sadly) where you can immediately expect to put it in play and go out and start shooting in the 70’s every round. However, Like any swing drill, with time, persistence, and most of all focused practice, the goal is for it to pay off in the end.

My take on it is – If all of the best players do it- (some much more than others) it must have some merit and is at least worth evaluating in your swing. You will notice that some players have a quick transition while others have almost a full-second pause at the top before beginning the downswing. Take a minute to watch the drill and then take it to the range. Give it a few buckets…See if you don’t feel like you are seeing /feeling better impact and a more powerful position at the top. My guess is that you will. I know I did! Comment below if you have tried this drill or have any others that might help our golfers out there.

Until next time, hit ’em straight and stay in the shortgrass.

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