Who Is He?
The 2007 US Masters champion, Zach Johnson, knows he will never be the longest hitter on tour. In fact in a recent end of season analysis he was 181st out of 195 players on the US PGA Tour. So he knows that in order for him to compete at the highest level he needs to do two things better than most. Firstly, he needs to be straighter so as to position his golf ball in the right part of the fairway more often and secondly, he also needs to play smarter.
This was very noticeable during his 2007 US Masters victory when he laid up on all the par fives around Augusta. These holes are traditionally birdie holes for all of the big hitters but Johnson's game plan was to lay up at every opportunity and trust the accuracy of his short game and his superb putting. The game plan paid off and Johnson's patience was rewarded with a green jacket.
What He Does
Taking the club outside the line on the backswing, Johnson's second part of the backswing becomes incredibly flat with the left arm laid straight across his chest. Furthermore, his three knuckle left hand strong grip forces the club face to be closed and point up to the sky. Johnson, therefore, has to work incredibly hard during the downswing phase to ensure he holds the golf club square and stops the face shutting down and aiming left. When viewed in slow motion you can see how Johnson extends his right arm and golf club shaft straight down the target line longer than any other player of the modern era. There is very little wrist release all of the way until the club reaches chest high in the follow through.
What Can You Learn?
Johnson's strong grip and questionable backswing angles are not to be encouraged.
However, his excessive extension through the downswing is something that most club golfers could benefit from. If you notice that your elbows are parting during your post impact phase, this will often result in a club face that is open to target, shots that often lack distance and occasionally top shots. If you feel you are guilty of this chicken wing position, then utilizing Johnson's extended right forearm position could be beneficial to your golf.
What Should You Avoid?
A number of moves in Johnson's swing are compensations for his excessively strong left hand grip, therefore, focus on maintaining a neutral, solid two knuckle grip and your swing should be easier with less compensations.