Welcome to Play Smart, a new game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Director of Game Improvement content Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Bryson DeChambeau is changing the game of golf. He’s changing the way fans think, and the ways pros approach it. The extent of the disruption is still unclear, but at the heart of it is Bryson’s unapologetic bomb-and-gouge style of play.
His formula is simple: longer is better.
It’s why he changed his technique.
It’s why he spent hours in the gym putting on muscle.
And it’s why, following his U.S. Open win, he revealed he was testing a 48-inch driver to put in play at the 2020 Masters.
But, on the eve of the final major of the year, it looks like we’ll have to wait another year to see Bryson wield a 48-incher around around Augusta National.
Speaking to GOLF.com ahead of his Monday practice round, Bryson explained that while he’s not willing to make the final call just yet, his testing isn’t where he wants it to be just yet.
“I’m going to make one last push for it [on Monday],” Bryson says. “I’ve tried a few different iterations of it, but this is not an easy ‘put it in the bag and go forward with it.’ This is very complicated stuff”
The primary issue isn’t on his good shots, Bryson says, but on his misses. A longer driver amplifies both good and bad, and he’s still learning how to keep the spin under control with a longer shaft length. Nevertheless, the process is still ongoing, and even if we don’t see it this week, Bryson says we may still see him use one in the future.
“We’ve gotten really close,” Bryson says. “There may be a point in time where it does work, and we figure it out, but that hasn’t happened yet.”
“I’d peg it about a 10 percent chance,” DeChambeau’s coach and GOLF Top 100 Teacher Chris Como adds, referring to the odds we’ll see it at Augusta this week.
Use Bryson’s trial-and-error process for your own game
The decision both to experiment with the driver is all part of his scientific-method approach to golf. Bryson will test an idea, evaluate the results, make subsequent tweaks, then begin testing once again. Those initial tests often look different than the final results, but they’re all integral to the process.
His putting provides the best example: Bryson initially experimented with a short-lived side-saddle technique, which he quickly abandoned, but which ultimately led him to the arm-anchor technique, transforming him into one of the best putters on tour.
“I’m always trying to push a little bit further; to get a little bit better,” Bryson says. “If something doesn’t work, not a big deal. I’ve been down plenty of rabbit holes that haven’t worked.”
It provides an important lesson, Bryson says, that golfers should apply to their own games: Finding something that doesn’t work is often just as important as finding something that does. It’s the key to innovation, and it will boost your chances of finding a key that works in the long run.
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