Pro Golfer's Secrets: Dustin Johnson

By Ryan Watson

Dustin Johnson chip shot

Dustin Johnson is a professional golfer born in 1984 in Columbia, South Carolina. A solid high school player, Johnson was rewarded with a scholarship to play golf at Coastal Carolina University and established himself as a leading amateur.

Before turning professional, Johnson won the Monroe Invitational and Northeast Amateur and was rewarded with a spot on the 2007 Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams. Johnson would earn his spot on the 2008 PGA Tour through the qualifying school, officially turning pro at the end of 2007.


Johnson wouldn't have to wait long for his first PGA Tour win, winning the 2008 Turning Stone Resort Championship. His sophomore year saw another victory, this time at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. A solid 2009 saw him finish in the top 15 at the end of year Money List, proving to the golfing world that Johnson could compete with the world's best. Over the following years, Johnson maintained a consistent career that saw him again win the 2010 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the 2010 BMW Championship, 2011 Northern Trust, 2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic, the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions.

Johnson then made the shock decision to take off the majority of the 2014 season in order to deal with personal issues. Though a cloud of controversy hung over his decision, the PGA Tour was quick to emphasize this was a voluntary decision. Johnson spent the 2015 season getting his consistency back, and roared back in 2016 to get his first major title at the U.S. Open. He ended 2016 with numerous accolades, including being money leader on the PGA Tour and winning the Vardon Trophy, PGA Player of the Year and PGA Tour Player of the Year awards.

2017 saw Johnson at the top of his game, winning 4 events and again finishing at the top of the Money List. Johnson started 2018 off with a bang by winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He would win 2 more PGA Tour events and compete on the losing U.S. Ryder Cup team. Spieth would win a European Tour event in 2019 and win the Presidents Cup with his fellow American teammates.

What clubs does Dustin Johnson use?

Dustin Johnson enjoys a sponsorship from TaylorMade Golf and uses only TaylorMade clubs except for his Scotty Cameron prototype putter. Johnson uses the brand new TaylorMade SIM driver, SIM Max 3 and 5 woods, and SIM Max Rescue iron.

His irons 4-PW are the TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto with True Temper X100 shafts. Johnson uses both TaylorMade Milled Grind Wedges with 54 and 60 degree lofts. Johnson seems to change up his putters often, playing a TaylorMade Spider Mini, Spider Tour, Juno, and Truss TM1 in 2020.

Johnson's Secrets to a Perfect Swing

Dustin Johnson advises simplifying your swing to achieve an easily repeatable motion. He advises to eliminate three common unnecessary motions that can derail a swing.

  1. The first is "throwing" your arms during the downswing. Rather than a controlled swing, players often lead with their arms. This motion requires that the golfer rotate their wrists perfectly on impact or risk a wild shot. Instead, Johnson recommends swinging your body in unison, insuring your arms don't jump ahead of the rest of your body. This makes timing much less of an issue and allows for a more consistent swing.
  2. The second issue Johnson advises to eliminate is picking the club up during your backswing. Ideally, the backswing should mirror the same fluid arc as your downswing. However, golfers often rush the backswing by picking their club straight up and creating a disconnected motion. Instead, Johnson tries to keep the clubhead brushing along the grass as a reminder of how to set his swing in motion.
  3. The last motion Johnson advises to eliminate is keeping your back knee straight during your backswing. Johnson says that keeping his knee straight causes his hips to turn too far creating an elongated swing that requires expert timing. Instead, Johnson opts to keep kis back knee bent slightly which keeps him from over-rotating on his backswing.

Eliminating these three motions will help golfers have a more controlled and repeatable swing, just like Dustin Johnson.


About the Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.