WHO: Jason Dufner
WHAT: 314-yard drive
WHERE: 429-yard par-4 18th hole at TPC FourSeasons
WHEN: Final round of the Byron Nelson Championship
Dufner is a small player who has learned not only how to hit it far, but also how to hit it straight. Last year, Dufner ranked 125th in driving distance (286.8 yards) and this year he's dramatically improved to 62nd at 290.9. Regarding accuracy, Dufner has made a similarly big gain, rising from 44th (65.8% of fairways hit) in 2011 to 6th this season (68.8%).
Playing without tension is a bedrock of Dufner's long, straight game, because being loose allows him to freely swing and maximize his distance and accuracy. It helped him win the Nelson. Tied for the lead on the final tee, he hit a huge drive to a fairway guarded by water on one side and a big bunker on the other side. He then hit his approach to 25 feet and holed the winning birdie putt.
THE DRILL: I use a simple "get-going drill" to get the tension and stiffness out of people's swings. On the practice tee, I face the student standing a couple of feet away, while I hold a club (irons and woods are equally useful) by the clubhead. With the student standing at address, I lean forward and rest the end of the grip against the middle of the student's shaft. Then I say, "1, 2, 3 and go." The student begins his swing when I say "Go," and I step away to get out of his way. By having me start the swing, the student learns to relax because he's doesn't think about when and how he'll pull the trigger.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mitchell Spearman teaches at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Fla.