Everyone’s Scared of Bryson DeChambeau

On the PGA tour, everyone’s scared of Bryson DeChambeau. But why? He is changing the way we look at golf with some new ideas and a goofy swing.
Everyone’s Scared of Bryson DeChambeau

 Everyone’s Scared of Bryson DeChambeau

Why is everyone scared of Bryson DeChambeau? And why doesn’t anyone on the tour like him? There is a lot of controversy surrounding the young golfer and it all starts with how he swings a club. His swing is a little, shall we say, unorthodox. He doesn’t swing a club or approach the game like anyone else in the PGA. He is changing golf much in the same way that Billy Beane and Theo Epstein changed baseball. He is turning the game on its head with how he swings and how he uses data and numbers to beat the field.

The rap was that DeChambeau's style was a gimmick until he became a professional. He is a professional who wins a lot and is climbing the rankings. He is now No. 14 in the world but was as high as No. 6 at one point. DeChambeau quickly became a living, breathing trend piece, his game the subject of endless conversation among golfers and the reporters who cover the game.

Bryson learned golf from a friend of his father, Mike Schy. Schy is a disciple of Homer Kelley, who published a somewhat radical book called The Golfing Machine in 1969. The book described in exhausting detail the process of building a golf swing using science instead of the traditional methods. The book earned some popularity in the underground California golf world but never really caught on worldwide. To Bryson, though, the book made perfect sense, and he was hooked.

On the course, golfers make decisions based on feel. They judge the distance they have left and pick a club based on how they feel, which one they’re swinging the best at the moment, and how they are playing overall. Bryson makes his decisions based on science and data. He uses quantifiable numbers to decide what club he is using on a given hole. Part of the reason that other golfers and fans don’t like him is his rate of play. He takes an excruciatingly long time before pulling a club and hitting the ball.

Let's talk about his swing too. First of all, his irons are the same length. Every one of them is exactly 37.5 inches. Their lie and bounce angle are also the same; only the lofts are different. In addition to the single-length concept, his clubs are unusual for their extremely upright lie angle.

When he takes a swing, his follow-through looks like he hurt his back and couldn’t finish the swing completely. He shortens up the swing at the end, like he’s trying to avoid hitting someone next to him on the follow-through. He looks like he’s swinging a baseball bat and just hit a homerun. It’s awkward-looking, to say the least.

Strangely enough, though, when compared to other golfers, he takes a full swing. He doesn’t bend his left arm at all, and he never breaks his wrists. He has eliminated unnecessary movements in his swing to increase the amount of control he has during the swing. The club rotates all the way behind him, generating the maximum amount of speed and force on the way back around to meet the ball. Other golfers look like they are taking a half swing on a side-by-side comparison.

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