California’s Bryson DeChambeau is certainly known as someone whose meticulous game relies heavily on what’s in his little black book, so The PGA Tour’s new rule that the committee must be allowed to approve all yardage books, may affect him.
But he’s not alone in being a golfer who benefits from the preparation and insight they can gain on the course. While talk of this being ‘The Dechambeau Rule’ may be insincere, the 28-year-old remains fiercely proud of his preparations, as he told RSNG…
RSNG People are always drawing comparisons to preparations off the course with performance on it. Are they fair comparisons? BRYSON DECHAMBEAU, THE GOLFER AT THE CENTER OF THE APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE “I have to say that’s true. It’s true of any sport, any profession, any individual looking to get the very best out of a situation laid out in front of them.”
“Put another way, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to ensure when you step onto the tee you have the best chance of doing well?”
RSNG Many have said the extent of research that goes into your yardage book is an unfair advantage? BC “There is no advantage, though – it’s information available to anyone who wants to find it. It’s out there. Use the technology, look at the course, even have a look at satellite images, and you can see where the greens and fairways are undulating.”
“You are putting time and effort and faith into technology to help you prepare for a shot; but when it comes to that final moment, it’s all you. It’s the putter, the ball, the hole. Nothing else is going to help you at that moment!”
It’s a case of very gentle and gradual changes to technique – adapt a new set of ideas, we trial them, we assess the results, we adapt some more
RSNG Is your focus on pushing technology more to help you? BC “No, my focus at the moment is on my short game – not so much putting, but shots from the edge of the green and getting the ball into play to putt out. I’ve been aware for some time that it’s the part of my game that needs some subtle adjustments and I’m enjoying focusing on that side of things.”
“It’s always a case of very gentle and very gradual changes to technique. They adapt a new set of ideas, we trial them, we assess the results, we adapt some more. It’s a great route to trying to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together and I believe that’s the secret to playing golf and winning tournaments. The technology will only ever highlight the existing fault, or the end goal – as a professional you have to build the bridge across the middle in order to fulfill what it is you want.”
“It’s easy for people to dismiss that – ‘Bryson has an unfair advantage, Bryson has too much tech.’ No, Bryson is playing the shots… sometimes not such good shots, either!”
RSNG How fit do you feel at the moment? BD “I always feel in good shape, and I’ve worked on strength recently. Strength will always be the mainframe to everything else, so it’s never not been a part of my preparations; however I’ve pushed it a bit more of late and I do feel a positive effect.”
RSNG Have you ever bulked up too much? Back in the Nineties there was talk of Nick Faldo actually losing performance by virtue of going too big in the gym? BD “I can’t speak for Nick or any other golfers, but fitness and strength, as well as having an obvious power element, is always a good route for me in terms of fending off injury, and I know as I get older that will become all the more important too.”
“I mean, I’ve no real interest in doing some kind of weights contest like Dustin [Johnson] and Brooks [Koepka] – that’s a little too far for me! That said, I’ll put the time in for myself for as long as I can feel some positive benefit.”
As a golfer you know a bad shot from a good one at the very second you hit it – you don’t need to see where it lands or even in what direction it’s gone, it’s a really pure experience
RSNG Finally, tell us about hitting golf balls in the dark at Torrey Pines? BD “Ha – well that’s nothing new. I have often gone onto a driving range in the pitch black to work out some problems and to just hit balls like that. It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes when you strip out all the other disturbances around you, all the other distractions, then what you’re stripping things back to is something very pure and wholesome.”
“When I hit balls in that scenario, I know I have imperfections in my game, and the easiest way to work them out is simply to reconnect the ball to the face of the club at that very moment.”
“As a golfer you know a bad shot from a good one the very second you hit it. You don’t need to see where it lands or even in what direction it’s gone. It’s a really pure experience. I would recommend it!”
WHAT NEXT? Want more on golf? Check out the RSNG guide on using breath work to improve your mind-body connection and play better golf.
Still here? In pursuit of power: 10 massive Bryson drives.