How a wacky swing theory turned an NBA star into a Long Drive champion
The caption grabbed me right away: How does the Juju Swing create so much power and shift?
I was in a TikTok frenzy, sifting through nonsense but hoping for content gold. Now he had found me.
The algorithm had me in its sights. Power is not a strength of my golf game, so if you promise more distance, you’ll get my attention. I continued to watch.
Once the girl in the video started her swing, things got a little weird. She didn’t have your prototypical golf swing – it was very different. His acting was Matthew Wolff-esque – but even more over the top. She didn’t articulate her wrists on the way back, and near the top of her swing, the handle was pointing straight up at the sky. But after the transition, she cut the shaft perfectly and generated a ton of clubhead speed. The ball exploded from the face of the club with that his.
I needed to know more.
A quick Google search led me to rummage through the Juju Swing website. “The most repeatable move in golf,” he boasted. There were pages for membership information and FAQs. Near the bottom, I found an email address for curious minds. I sent a note requesting a potential interview. Half an hour later, I received a response.
“How is tomorrow afternoon?” »
The next day, I hopped on a call with Brad Peterson, the inventor of the Juju Swing. He was eccentric and enthusiastic; halfway through the call he asked if we could use FaceTime instead so he could better demonstrate the fundamentals of Juju Swing. Moments later, the exuberant man from TikTok appeared on my iPhone screen.
“I’ll send you an ID so you can practice all that stuff if you want,” he told me in the middle of our talk that turned into a lesson in pseudo-golf.
His energy and seriousness were contagious. After 30 minutes on the phone, I had a handle on the method and several new swing thoughts to consider. I finally understood the philosophy behind Peterson’s unique swing – and how an unlikely character had proven his success.
Brad Peterson, now 41, has always been a solid player. In his early twenties, he carried a handicap index that hovered around zero and even played in some mini-tour events. But his game was inconsistent, and scores from the 80s were as common as those from the 60s.
“I was really fed up with my golf swing,” he said.
So he went in search of a solution.
Instead of trying to perfect the intricacies of a conventional golf swing, Peterson went in the opposite direction. Conventional wisdom was thrown out the window, and he struck gold when he started experimenting with a move that involved no wrist hinges on the way back.
“What happened was when I transitioned, not only was the rod shallow, but my wrists set for me,” he said. “I had this unbelievable shift and the club was downright dead. I wasn’t doing anything to manipulate it and it was just coming back to the impact square.
Peterson continued to practice his new technique and his ball striking continued to improve. With each session, he was refining and polishing his swing, and in no time he was grooving. He called it the Load and Explode Swing.
“I was absolutely annihilating the ball,” he said. “And could move it back and forth.”
A few weeks later, he drove to a Long Drive qualifier in Colorado. With the Load and Explode Swing in his arsenal, he became the first person to eclipse the 500 yard barrier in a Long Drive event.
“It was a pretty wild scene,” he said. “Obviously it was high altitude and everyone was hitting bombs that day, but it was really cool to be the first to go over 500 meters in a Long Drive event.”
With the notoriety of his world record, Peterson took Load and Explode on the road. He began showing off his unique swing as an entertainer at fundraisers around the country. The gig led to a chance encounter with NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry.
“I hosted an event for the NBA Retired Players Association in Las Vegas,” Peterson said. “I was demonstrating at the event, and when it was over, Rick Barry approached me.”
Barry is one of the most accomplished players in NBA history, but he’s perhaps best known for his decision to take free throws underhandedly, aka “Granny Style.” Unconventional methods have never deterred Barry, and Load and Explode fits his profile.
Although the event ended around midnight, Barry wasn’t done.
“I want to try this now,” he told Peterson.
In a city like Vegas, that wasn’t a problem.
“Usually it’s a bit of a learning process — a few hours at least to get comfortable with Stage 1,” Peterson said. “In two minutes, he hits the 4,250 iron at 60.”
After an hour on the shooting range, Peterson was convinced he could turn Barry into a Long Drive champion. Barry thought he was crazy. He had worked hard on his game, reducing his handicap to single digits in his post-basketball days. But even with this success, the game was driving him crazy. He knew how difficult incremental changes could be.
“I was getting so frustrated,” he said. “I was going out and shooting 74 and I was upset…I got to the point where I was so frustrated that I stopped playing.”
But Barry had found a kindred spirit in Peterson. Barry was never afraid to go against the grain, and he was intrigued by this wacky new swing.
“I’m always open-minded and ready to listen,” Barry said. “So many people are closed-minded and don’t want to listen to things. I’m always ready to hear about things, especially when it comes to sports. And he caught my attention with that.
Peterson’s prediction that he could make Barry a Long Drive champion turned out to be correct.
After their first meeting in Vegas, Barry continued to take lessons from Peterson. He participated in a qualifying for a Long Drive competition in Denver shortly after. He managed to navigate qualifying, entered his first Long Drive event, and was hooked.
Over the next decade, Barry devoted his competitive fire to Long Drive. He has won four world titles in his age group since, equipped with a clubhead speed hovering at nearly 120 mph. His longest competitive drive was 377 yards.
“It was the first major validation of the Juju Swing,” Peterson said.
Yet opponents persisted. People called him crazy, insisting that his method was irrelevant. And in the days before social media, Peterson had no platform to preach his unorthodox theory.
Then his daughter, Juju, (whom he adopted when he married his mother, Jessica) asked him if he would teach her to swing like he did.
“Initially, I taught her traditional golf because I didn’t want people to laugh at her like they did at me,” he said. “But after a year, she came to me and asked me to convert. That’s when everything changed.
Juju found immediate success with his father’s wacky swing, and Peterson changed the name Load and Explode to Juju Swing in his honor. She fully embraced the method four years ago and has compiled quite a resume since, highlighted by her multiple Player of the Year honors while competing on the North Texas regional circuits.
“She can hit 280 pretty much whenever she wants,” he said. “And she’s probably gone over 300 yards about 40 times. She hits the golf ball.
Juju’s success “kicked the ball rolling”, and as his social media presence grew, the Juju Swing grew in popularity. Today, Juju Swing has thousands of social media followers, members in over 30 countries, and thousands of website subscribers.
“All these people from all over the world started to get interested in Juju,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy what’s going on.”
Peterson estimates his schedule is now booked eight weeks in advance as he teaches junior golfers at his home studio in Frisco, Texas. And, based on his TikTok videos, he also has several college players as students.
The rise in popularity of the Juju Swing coincides with a collection of unorthodox swings enjoying success at the highest level. Matthew Wolff is the prime example, but others are also finding success with less than perfect swings, including world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.
“As soon as [Wolff] won his first event, it was like another snowball,” said Peterson.
Now, Peterson hopes to continue to grow the brand and bring its lessons to the masses.
“People aren’t afraid of it anymore – they’re intrigued,” he said. “I feel like I’m running a 20-year-old start-up, and we’re getting ready to take off.”