Bryson DeChambeau explains exactly what ‘swing radius’ means (and why it’s so critical)
Ed. note: In this column, GOLF’s playing editor and 2020 U.S. Open champ fixes your swing and explains how he plans to get leaner — and even faster — in 2021.
What “swing radius” means and why it’s critical
My golf swing has changed a lot over the years, but two things have stayed very consistent over the course of my career: I keep my head relatively still and I set up to the ball with lots of ulnar deviation in my lead wrist. If you’re not sure what that means, think about how your wrists move when you cast a fishing rod. When you release the line, your wrists are fully unhinged — that’s ulnar deviation. Learning how to master it can help golfers of all skill levels.
I really believe in these two things. Together, they have always helped me hit the ball solidly, because they help me control the radius of the golf club. This is super important for weekend golfers. If you’re struggling with bad contact, it’s because the radius of your swing is getting messed up. Your brain doesn’t know where your clubhead is in relation to the ground, so you end up hitting too far behind the ball and chunking it or too far ahead and topping the ball.
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Think about your golf swing as a big circle. Your chin is the center, and your lead arm draws the outline around it. The bottom of the circle is where the ball is, and you want it the same every time. That’s the theory. Down below, learn how to put it into action.
How to fix chunked irons once and for all
1. Establish your swing radius
Hold the club out in front of you with only your lead arm and set it behind the ball. It’s important to make sure your lead arm is straight, with your wrist fully unhinged, so your arm and the club shaft form a straight line.
2. Setup to the ball
Keeping your left arm the same, take your setup. Without hitting the ball, make short backswings and return the club to setup, keeping your lead arm straight the entire time. Repeat this motion, using your right hand to hold your chin in place.
3. Start swinging
When you’re ready, use your new setup to hit some short shots using the same feeling. Your chin should feel like it’s up and steady. When I see people hitting chunks or tops, it’s because their head moves out of position.
Why I’m trimming up
In 2020, my goal was to put on mass and get as strong as I could. I was eating tons of eggs, steaks and protein shakes. I transformed my body and my game. This year, I have a different goal: Get trimmer and get faster. Long-drive champ Kyle Berkshire’s a good example of a guy who’s lighter than I am but faster because of it. So, I’ve cut back my calories to 1,500 a day. I still eat lots of lean protein, but fewer carbs. I’m also chewing more when I eat, so I can absorb more nutrients.
Why I love Cypress Point
When I’m not playing in tournaments, I almost never play golf on a golf course. Occasionally I’ll play a hole or two when I need to test something out, but I can be so much more efficient with my time practicing in the studio or on the range.
Cypress Point is maybe the only exception. I played a round there in January, and it’ll probably be the only round I play for fun this year. The scenery is just so beautiful. It’s probably too short to host a PGA Tour event nowadays, but wouldn’t it be cool if it did? It’s my favorite course by far, and one of the few places I’ll make time to play whenever I get the chance.
My new partnership with Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg really takes care of his body. He’s in the gym at 4 a.m. every day — he’s a beast. When we had the opportunity to go into business together, I jumped at the chance. I’m now part owner of Performance Inspired. It uses only clean, all-natural ingredients. In the coming months I’ll be creating golf-specific products. Stay tuned!