Bryson DeChambeau has a plan to bring Augusta National to its knees, and it involves a 48-inch LA Golf Prototype driver shaft that’s designed to give him an advantage off the tee the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Tiger Woods forced the green coats to “Tiger-proof” the course after his historic 1997 romp.
“In my head, I’ve already scoped [Augusta] out,” he told GOLF.com. “I know what the golf course is like and there’s going to be holes where I’m going to be bombing it. I was saying this earlier… I’m not trying to do anything other than play like Happy Gilmore. Bring something new to the game and show what possibly can be done.”
The 48-inch driver shaft is almost non-existent in the professional ranks and has only been used a handful of times — Phil Mickelson tried a 47-inch shaft while Padraig Harrington attempted to play with a 48-inch driver — in the past few decades, but DeChambeau views the club as a weapon that could allow him to carry the fairway bunkers on the 2nd and 8th holes at Augusta National, as well as potentially drive the green (or get close to it) on the 3rd and 7th.
While DeChambeau has an idea of how he’d like to tackle Augusta — he started talking about the driver shaft during his post-round victory presser at the U.S. Open — only those inside his inner circle have officially seen the club in action. It will likely stay that way until the Masters.
Making his first start since the U.S. Open at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, DeChambeau confirmed he has no intention of giving the competition a sneak peek at his latest weapon. Pressed for a date when it could make an appearance, DeChambeau said the plan is to “hopefully” put it in play at the Masters, no sooner.
“[Testing has] been going really good,” DeChambeau revealed to GOLF.com. “I can tell you that we’ve come across a lot of insight on how to build the shaft, how to build the head, and there’s a lot of room for improvement. I tried it this past week. When I got back from Denver I had the shaft there and I tried it, and I can say to you that there is a massive improvement in speed, in ball speed.
“There’s definitely some driver things we have to change to hit it that far and have the corrective mechanisms working properly. So we’re working to get that in before Augusta. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not really playing much, because I want to get that driver right. And I want to get my body a lot stronger so I can tolerate those forces that I’m going to be producing with that new driver.”
Based on the show DeChambeau put on this week on TPC Summerlin driving range, he won’t need a 48-inch big stick to take on the Las Vegas course. According to GOLF.com’s Andrew Tursky, DeChambeau was routinely carrying the back end of the uphill range at 360 yards. He had to move back some 40 yards and downshift on the swing speed to keep the balls in play.
DeChambeau’s prodigious length has turned him into must-see television when he plays. That’s what happens when you bash it 360 yards without blinking. So maybe it should come as no surprise that DeChambeau answered “driver” when asked to pick the part of the process he enjoys working on the most.
“I think it’s the most fun,” he said. “You know, I watched ‘Happy Gilmore’ a little while ago and just re-inspired me to try and hit it as far as possible.”
If everything goes DeChambeau’s way, the most “fun” part of his game could help him slip on a green jacket next month.