New-Age Golfer

Hong Kong-based instructor Nathan Goulding profiles the unique Bryson Dechambeau, a young man with an incredibly bright future

Bryson DeChambeau earned low-amateur honours at the Masters

If you haven’t heard much about Bryson Dechambeau, you will soon enough. After a historic 2015 as an amateur, Dechambeau turned pro following last month’s Masters. In his very first event in the pro ranks - the RBC Heritage in South Carolina - he finished in a tie for fourth.

Dechambeau’s 2015 results included winning both the NCAA Championship and the US Amateur - a feat previously achieved by only four other golfers: Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore.

What makes his game and performance unique is his application to the game. In his teenage years, growing up in California, he was coached by Mike Schy, an enthusiast of “The Golfing Machine”. TGM is a textbook authored by the late Homer Kelley and was first published in 1969. It takes a scientific look at the golf swing and is undoubtedly one of the most famous and sophisticated instruction manuals of our time.

It was late in Dechambeau’s high school years when he tried to develop a swing using concepts similar to those espoused by TGM to enable him to hit the ball more consistently. Under guidance from his coach, Dechambeau tampered with many of these concepts, but the most revealing came when he came to the following conclusion: if he made the shaft of every iron in his bag the same length he wouldn’t have to change the amount of inclination in his posture. The weighting of the club heads would have to change slightly to adapt to the shaft lengths being the same, and so making a full set became quite the process. A huge revelation came to him straight away upon first experimenting with the new set: the performance of each club became similar if not better - and he hasn’t looked back since.

Dechambeau continued with his unique method when playing college golf for Southern Methodist University (where he majored in physics). When he needed to update his clubs he would travel to the nearby home of club-maker David Edel, who would build a completely new set to his preference and physicality. 


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