‘Salty balls’: Bryson DeChambeau explains bizarre secret to his U.S. Open success

Bryson DeChambeau holds up "salty balls" golf ball at 2024 U.S. Open

Bryson DeChambeau has always thought about golf equipment differently than everyone else.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau has always been enigmatic, especially when it comes to his golf gear. And after securing the 54-hole lead in the 2024 U.S. Open, he revealed the secret to his success: salty balls.

First, get your mind out of the gutter. Despite the stifling heat this week at Pinehurst No. 2, DeChambeau was referring to salty golf balls.

Second, some context. DeChambeau is notorious for trying innovative, sometimes eyebrow-raising tactics to get an advantage in golf. He uses single-length irons, unlike pretty much every other golfer ever. He maps out golf courses and shots with a mathematical fanaticism, considering environmental factors others don’t even understand. His ever-changing fitness and eating routines are legendary.

Bryson DeChambeau
The U.S. Open isn’t over, but Bryson DeChambeau has already won it
By: Sean Zak

Which brings us to the “salty balls.”

“Thanks for the salty balls question,” DeChambeau said jokingly after fielding a question about his secret method following his third-round 67 at Pinehurst No. 2.

The salt in question is “Epsom salt,” and as DeChambeau explained in explicit detail Saturday night, he floats all of his golf balls in a bucket of water mixed with Epsom salt.

He says he does so to test the “out-of-balanceness” of each ball. Essentially, it’s a test to uncover manufacturing errors that prevent individual balls from performing their best.

But you can read DeChambeau’s explanation in full below to get a peek inside the unique mind of the 2020 U.S. Open champ.

“I put my golf balls in Epsom salt. I’m lucky enough that Connor, my manager, does that now. I don’t have to do it. But essentially we float golf balls in a solution to make sure that the golf ball is not out of balance. There was a big thing back in the day where golf balls are out of balance, and it’s just because of the manufacturing process. There’s always going to be an error, especially when it’s a sphere and there’s dimples on the edges. You can’t perfectly get it in the center.

“So what I’m doing is finding pretty much the out-of-balanceness of it, how much out of balance it is. Heavy slide floats to the bottom, and then we mark the top with a dot to make sure it’s always rolling over itself. It kind of acts like mud. If there’s too much weight on one side, you can put it 90 degrees to where the mud is on the right-hand side or the mud is on the left-hand side. I’m using mud as a reference for the weight over there. It’ll fly differently and fly inconsistently.

“For most golf balls that we get, it’s not really that big of a deal. I just try to be as precise as possible, and it’s one more step that I do to make sure my golf ball flies as straight as it possibly can fly because I’m not that great at hitting it that straight.”

Whatever the merits of his secret “salty balls” test, it’s clear that so far whatever DeChambeau is doing is working. His balls have been flying and rolling straight all week, straighter than anyone else in fact. As a result, he heads into Sunday’s final round with a three-shot lead and one hand on the trophy and his second U.S. Open title.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.

Watch, play, win. Chirp Golf is your home for the best of real money Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Free-To-Play games.

Watch, play, win

Chirp Golf is your home for the best of real money Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Free-To-Play games. Featuring simple to play. easy to learn, and fun games. Chirp Golf has something for every golf fan.

Scan to Download:

Google Play Apple Store