In the last year, Bryson DeChambeau has put on 20-pounds and now hits the golf ball much further. For many, it’s a sign that professional golf needs to change.
If you’d asked us 12 months ago how Bryson DeChambeau may be changing the game of golf, we would have assumed it was an alteration in the rules around slow play.
Little did we know that DeChambeau’s impact on the game may happen, not because of the speed at which he plays the game, but because of the bigger impact his golf club is having on the golf ball.
The PGA Tour shutdown saw many golfers take some much needed time off, some taking to social media to give swing tips and others made sure their golf swing was ready to go whenever the tour was ready for them,
But DeChambeau decided to use the time away from the fairways to get bigger. Much bigger,
DeChambeau has put on an extra 20 pounds over the past year and he looks a shade of his former, more streamlined self – all for the goal of hitting the golf ball further.
The extra pounds have transferred into a stronger, faster golf swing that has translated into some astonishing distances off the tee.
DeChambeau told the NY Post the details:
“I’ve upped about 20 pounds,” DeChambeau said Thursday. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to hit it farther (even though he does), but I’ve done a lot of speed training to attain these new ball speeds. When I was out here I was attaining ball speeds of 193, 195 on certain holes, and quite honestly I can’t use it out here. There’s only a couple holes I can use it, No. 11 and No. 1 and No. 2 really.”
DeChambeau, previously known for his scientific approach to the game, five PGA Tour wins and slow play, is now known as the guy who bulked up to smash the golf ball even further. And it got people talking.
💪 @B_DeChambeau's bulked up.
Driving distance in 2020: 321.3 yards
Driving distance in 2016: 294.6 yards pic.twitter.com/6lklSqOE2U
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 11, 2020
For several years now, there has been a strong push to limit the ever-increasing distances that professional golfers are hitting the golf ball. the push has not just come from golf fans but some of the game’s greatest including Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
The problem is two-fold.
The improvements in golf technology are deskilling the game. The ease at which the professional golfers can now hit the golf ball prestigious distances is frightening. There was a time when everyone knew who were the best drivers of the golf ball. Now, almost everyone on the world’s best golf tours is a great driver of the golf ball.
For those who weren’t great off the tee, the idea of hitting a small-headed driver would be associated with a wave of anxiety.
Longest drives this week for @B_DeChambeau:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 14, 2020
“When I was a kid, pulling the driver out of the bag was a concern, like you’re going to have to make a great swing to hit a good drive,” Adam Scott once said. “Now it’s the go-to club. It’s the most forgiving club we have. That’s a huge difference in how you get off the tee to start a hole of golf.”
The second and more expensive problem is the scramble to make current golf courses relevant for tournament golf.
Many golf courses due to host professional tournament golf have resorted to repositioning bunkers, narrowing fairways and creating longer holes by moving the tees further back. And in the case of two of the world’s most famous golf courses, The Old Course at St. Andrews and Augusta National, adding tees on to the adjoining property.
The adjustment to course design, to the way the great golf courses were intended to be played, is akin to enlarging the Mona Lisa so it’s easier to see. Golf course vandalism if you will.
Imagine the AFL deciding to increase the size of the ground at the MCG because the players were kicking the football too far? Wouldn’t it be easier to just give them a ball that can’t be kicked as far? Do we want golf to be a sport where bigger and stronger is best?
Golf will face the same issue that rugby league is now confronting- the game will evolve to suit one body shape and style.
— Grant Dodd (@GrantDodd1) June 12, 2020
DeChambeau’s path to hitting the ball further is well within the rules of the game and maybe something that many golf fans are, well, a fan of.
But we’re hoping his big appearance, and big performance last week may pressure golf governing bodies to take action in the form of placing limits on the design of a golf ball or golf equipment.
Or hopefully, both.
Truth. It's removing so many aspects of the skill set that used to be fundamental to excellence in the sport.
— Grant Dodd (@GrantDodd1) June 11, 2020