Very few people change the way golf is played, but we may be witnessing one right now!
The game of golf is a traditional one that only changes when it’s absolutely necessary. We can look at old footage see how the equipment that is used has changed over time. The clubs were initially made of wood, then persimmon came around and took over. You will see golf clubs are now made with steel, titanium, or even carbon fiber if you look closely. With this change in clubs, the balls were going further, and the scores were getting lower. This caused the courses to adjust to accommodate this new length that golfers could hit the golf ball.
You can look even closer and find golfers that have changed the game of golf. There are players like Michelle Wie, whose attempts to play against male golfers have inspired many females worldwide to play golf. Arnold Palmer is credited with bringing golf into the modern era. He amassed large crowds both on the course and on the TV. Byron Nelson was a great golfer, but he is most known for his theory on the golf swing influence. The most well known in today’s game is Tiger Woods. Woods has arguably had the most significant impact on the sport since he has started playing the game. He has taken golf from being only for the rich to golf being on in every household. He inspired players to start working out and training like athletes in other sports.
There are plenty of people who have influenced the game of golf and 50 of those are listed here in BleacherReport.
The Start of “The Mad Scientist”
One player has been on the rise in golf that is doing it differently than anyone before him, Bryson DeChambeau. His style of play has earned him the nickname of “The Scientist.” He incorporates physics and geometry on every shot, in a sport where most people just find the yardage, pick a club, and then swing. His style has been called into question, rule changes made and even clashed with other players on tour.
DeChambeau was born in Modesto, California, and it was evident that he was good at golf from a young age. At the age of 16, he won the California State Junior Championship. After he graduated high school, he furthered both his education and athletic career at Southern Methodist University. He graduated with a degree in Physics and won the NCAA individual championship in golf. He is one of five people ever to do that. Why I am talking about DeChambeau in this blog, though, is his approach that he brings with him in every shot that he takes.
What Separates Bryson From His Competition?
The Scientist mentality started when he was 15 and read the book, “The Golfing Machine.” Everything that you will notice about DeChambeau is a variation of something in this book. If you look at his bag of clubs, you will immediately see that his clubs are different than everyone else’s. All of the irons that he uses have the same length shafts! I looked all over the place to see if anyone else does this, and I didn’t find any. He did this first when he was a teenager and grinding down his clubs to be the same length. He does this, so he doesn’t have to change his swing plane. When you think of it like that, it makes perfect sense. Swing the same swing every time. However, the science behind it makes my head hurt even to read, so I couldn’t imagine trying to explain it, but if you want to try to read it yourself, click here.
Now we will move on to the way that he plays the game. You can look up news articles about Bryson DeChambeau and see stories about his extremely slow pace of play. Players and spectators alike have complained about this and have become a topic of conversations among rule committees. I can tell you why it takes him so long to hit a shot, and that’s because of everything he takes into account when he hits a shot. He discussed these things in a GOLF.com article. There are some typical things that everyone would say they’d look at, such as windage, shot shape, and elevation change. However, four other factors turn this into a physics problem that only he would want to consider on the golf course. These include air density, local slope adjustment, roll-out number, and then to cap it off; he adds “something secret.”
The difference doesn’t stop there, though. You can look at his swing and see that it is different than anyone else out there. A lot of people made fun of his swing early….I was one of those people. It’s only normal to do when you see something different, but people aren’t making fun of it now. Why, you ask? The answer is simple, he is winning or placing well in almost every tournament lately, and he is hitting it farther than almost anyone!
Bryson led the PGA Tour in 2019 in driving distance by averaging 322 yards, which is 20 yards longer than the year before. What causes a jump like that? Bryson is increasing his muscle mass and eating almost 3500 calories a day. Some of those calories come from the seven protein shakes that he drinks a day. Which if I did that, I would look like an Oompa-Loompa. He also worked extremely hard over the quarantine to get his swing speed up, which was seen on Instagram by his other followers and me. And you can see it paying off on the course; this past weekend, he won the U.S. Open and was in the top 10 in 9 other tournaments this past year.
The year 2021 is looking like it is going to be a phenomenal year for DeChambeau. Watching interviews that he has done lately…the confidence is not lacking. Some people can find it as being cocky, but in my opinion, you need the confidence to be one of the best in the world at your craft. When you tune in to the next PGA Tour event and see a guy with a flat cap and an unconventional swing, just watch before you judge. By the end, you could find yourself reading “The Golfing Machine” and drinking your second protein shake of the day as your new one-length golf clubs sit across from you!