How a golf course could ‘Bryson-proof’ itself, according to Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau is a big man with some big aspirations. The U.S. Open champion is in pursuit of dominance, willing to add weight, distance, driver length, or whatever else that might provide him an avenue to his goal.

For the Masters in November, DeChambeau has already outlined his plans for world — erhm … course — domination, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise to golf fans who’ve been following his spearheading of golf’s great distance chase. Bryson plans to overpower Augusta National with brute force, bombing drives over trees, cutting corners and tucking wedges in much the same way he did at Winged Foot.

But “The Scientist” lives up to his moniker enough to know Newton’s third law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And the natural reaction of courses like Augusta National to his big-swinging ways could be to revert to “Bryson-proofing” — altering or otherwise adjusting the course to slow (or stop) DeChambeau’s dominance.

After his performance in golf’s most penal conditions at Winged Foot, it’s fair to wonder if “Bryson-proofing” is even possible. But on his appearance on GOLF’s Drop Zone podcast, DeChambeau acknowledged that there are some setups that can slow his roll, they’re just not the ones you’d think.

“Trying to keep it a secret, but something like East Lake for the Tour Championship was pretty difficult,” DeChambeau said. “But even then, I’m still hitting 4-irons off the tee that are going 280, and then hitting a pitching wedge in.”

In Bryson’s mind, the toughest setups are the ones that force him to think about a club other than driver off the tee.

“[East Lake] would be a place where it would hinder it a little bit, with Bermuda rough, bunkers in front of the greens, stuff like that where you can’t run it up,” he said. “That would be one of the worst-case scenarios that I could imagine, and you could still do pretty well on that, I’d think.”

One surefire way for courses to slow down bombers is to add water or other hazards in front of the green. But then, Bryson says, courses could run into a different problem.

“At a certain point, [more harzards] have to be the case, especially with the greens being so firm and whatnot,” he said. “There’s going to come a point in time. But if you do that, the whole field has to deal with it, all the way back from where they are. It also makes it really difficult for them.”

Whether course superintendents like it or not, it might just be that there’s a new sheriff in town.

“So it’s balance, right?” he asked. “You see, oh this is a place where they can hurt him. But it’s also going to hurt everyone else, too. So it’s difficult to find it. Length is king in the game right now. Length is definitely king.”

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James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at