Icelandic Fitness

bryson dechambeau

Bryson DeChambeau: the most interesting man in golf

Bryson DeChambeau: Slack lining, but definitely not a slacker

 

He’s a weird mix of throw back (that hat and those pants!) and a kind of new age, scientific thinker (he majored in physics) who’s definitely got the golf world wondering what he’ll do next. Bryson DeChambeau turned pro in mid-April, won $260,000 in his first professional outing and chartered a private jet to get home.

 

That last minute plane ride might seem a bit out of character for a 22-year-old who is a stickler for preparation. He’s obsessed with it. DeChambeau is known for soaking his golf balls in Epsom salt to determine if they’re out of balance. In the lead up to this year’s Masters, he played Augusta 10 times in four and a half months, studying hole locations and putting surfaces. Trying to figure out how he could win the course.

 

At times, he seems like a nerd, but he’s certainly not a stereotype. While he approaches the game scientifically, he’s not afraid to use his inquisitive mind to work out solutions to problems, whether that’s on the course or off. That mind has also pushed him to challenge himself with a fitness routine that’s anything but.

 

You won’t see many other golfers embracing the strange acrobatics of what’s called a “slack line.” It’s like a tightrope, suspended off the ground, but with a wider surface and more loosely strung. DeChambeau has posted videos on his popular Instagram account, showing him walking a slack line and catching balls while trying to keep his balance. It’s an exercise that forces the body to engage several muscle groups at once, but puts much of the focus on the core. A strong core is key to a good golf swing. And, he’s proving that his swing is one of the best and most consistent.

 

DeChambeau stays consistent and produces the same swing over and over again, because his clubs are all the same length. And, that might have the potential to transform the game by putting less stress on the lower back, resulting in fewer injuries and longer careers.

 

Most golfers play with variable-length irons. With each club, your body has to change posture and readjust. It’s only a slight change, but, to complete the swing, your muscles have to move in different ways, putting your body and specifically the lower back, at more risk for injury.

 

In fact, back problems affect a good number of golfers, professional and amateur. This year, back injuries kept both Tiger Woods and Fred Couples out of the Masters.

When he was 19-years-old, Rory McIlroy had back problems, but committed himself to a workout routine that’s made him one of the fittest golfers on the PGA and European Tours.

 

For golf’s new stars – players like McIlroy and DeChambeau, the game has evolved. There is more emphasis on preparation and some of that is a bit unconventional to say the least. But, they’re finding that it pays to keep in shape, both physically and mentally. That’s how you get to the top of the leader board.

 

 

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpuJhMF0ovU