Bryson DeChambeau: Simple Swing, Not so Simple Results
Bryson DeChambeau completely changed the way I look at the golf swing. Growing up watching the swing of Tiger Woods I thought the new athletic swing was the way. Loading up the swing with a squat and creating massive amounts of power and rotation from the lower-body was emulated by all young golfers. I was wrong, after watching a young new golfer from sunny California.
He wears a throwback Ben Hogan cap, has a fascination with a cult golfing instruction book and majors in physics at Southern Methodist University. Bryson DeChambeau sounds a little quirky, but he’s achieved one of the more rare feats in golf – winning the NCAA and U.S. Amateur titles in the same year. His swing and his clubs may get the credit for getting him there.
The swing came about through his coach, Mike Schy, who gave DeChambeau a book called “The Golfing Machine” when he was 15. The book was written in 1969 by Homer Kelley, a Seattle aircraft mechanic obsessed with the engineering specs of the golf swing. To a physics major, the book spoke DeChambeau’s language and it’s how be built his efficient, steady swing.
To break it down: when addressing the ball, DeChambeau has his arms extended and his hands up. The right elbow rises as his club goes back and with his grip, the club mostly rides in his palms, not his fingers. There is very little wrist hinge. And the swing is something he can reproduce again and again.
It took a couple of years, with guidance from Schy to come up with the single-plane swing. In the book, it’s called a ‘zero shifting motion.’ Basically, De Chambeau swings his hands and his club on one plane throughout the whole swing, no shifting up or down.
While that method keeps his swing consistent, the problem in the beginning was that golf clubs typically vary in length. The solution – a bagful of oversize clubs with each iron and wedge having the same 37 1/2 inch shaft length – about the length of a standard 7-iron. The rationale was to have a similar posture over the ball regardless of what club was in his hand.
Single-length shafts and a more simplified swing, have given DeChambeau’s game more repeatable and consistent center face impacts. He simply hits the sweet spot more often, producing better ball speed and accuracy.
On the putting green, he uses a method called Vector Putting, which takes into account length of putt, percentage of slope and speed of the green. DeChambeau plays with a torque-balanced putter that keeps his stroke square to the plane. All of the clubs have uniquely weighted heads throughout the set (heavier longer irons, for instance), enabling DeChambeau to create a similar striking force at impact.
The 21-year-old will most likely be taking his unique style to the PGA, turning pro next summer.
Check out this Youtube video to see DeCambeau’s swing: