I have to admit I didn’t really take Bryson James Aldrich DeChambeau overly seriously when I first saw him hitting some nuts on the driving range. In fact I’d go so far to say I put him down as a bit of a gimmick.
It was the Wednesday of the last Australian Masters in 2015. The reigning US Amateur Champion was invited to play at the beautiful Huntingdale Golf Course to compete against the Pro’s. I was watching (my then boyfriend) Adam Scott smoothing them down the middle of the praccy fairway when I noticed, actually more like “heard” a caddy walk behind me. The clubs were rattling that loudly I thought I’d turn around and see the 11.20 from Flinders Street racing past after derailing at Cheltenham.
“What the …?” I said to myself… and anyone standing within 10 feet. When he banged the bag down next to Adam, I noticed all the irons heads were resting against each other, suggesting it was either a bag full of demo 6-irons or DeChambeau’s “same length” set I had heard about.
Sure enough, up rocks the young American Champ with the old fashioned cap, grabs his 37½ inch sand-wedge with a grip on it that resembled a loaf of Vienna bread, drags what appeared to be a normal sized range ball across and took his stance. It was quickly obvious Bryson’s strange looking clubs weren’t the only elements of his game that made him different. When he set to his ball he looked like the poor bloke had been born without elbows.
My first thought was… “why”? Isn’t the game hard enough with a regular club and a normal stance? When he drew the club back with a total void of any wrist cock everyone watching immediately looked up to the sky to see what he was pointing to. “Maybe his space ship”, I thought.
The whole package looked like he’d prevented himself from experiencing anything resembling an instinctive natural movement because he was in some bizarre Golf Religious Sect which required him to perform self-flagellation. I half expected his caddy to pull a thorn covered vine out of the bag, tie him to the 50 metre sign and begin whipping him while shouting “I told you what I’d do if you bend your wrist again!… 16!.. 17!…”
Anyway, I’m just glad no-one ever listens to me. Here we are just over three years and 5 wins from his last 12 starts later DeChambeau is arguably the best player on the planet at the moment!
“The Golfing Machine” … could well be the most complicated piece of literacy I’ve attempted to read since my first IKEA instructions sheet.
And he’s doing it with a golf game completely built and manufactured from a book. Its called “The Golfing Machine” and it could well be the most complicated piece of literacy I’ve attempted to read since my first IKEA instructions sheet.
It was written by a guy called Homer Kelley and he explains his masterpiece thus: “The Golfing Machine is based on scientific principles covering physics and geometry”. Homer died in 1983 but his book lives on through a bunch of disciples still today.
Kelley’s first follower was Ben Doyle who has also passed away in 2015.
Ben always began his instructional videos with “G.O.L.F – Geometrically Oriented Linear Force”. Whilst it’s a migraine enhancer to read, the book is irrefutably correct to the last .05 of a degree. The videos are pretty “out there” as well but well worth a squiz. He was something of an eccentric with an unusual way to make a point but when he spoke apparently every other coach listened.
About 15 years ago, I had a quick lesson from my old boss Clive Johnston after he’d been to the states and studied “The Golfing Machine”. I’d just finished serving someone in the Pro-Shop when Clive said “Grab a 7 iron and a couple of balls and come outside”. He watched me hit one nut and said – “Push your right hand down onto your left thumb”. I kid you not the next shot was the most perfect strike I’d ever experienced.
Watching Bryson DeChambeau that day, I had no idea he was a follower of this golfing bible and even less idea “The Golfing Machine” could be the basis for such an extreme interpretation. Clive told me he had learned to not explain the physics and geometry, just to give you the cure. Or was he just aware of my brain capacity?
Is it the new way to learn how to play? Will juniors be hopping out their Mum’s car with a duckbill caps and no elbows? Will I ever learn how to read properly?
I guess we will see the impact of DeChambeau’s way of playing will have on teaching the game in the not too distant future. Cobra have already sold 40,000 sets of same length irons and it would appear Bryson is only just beginning his strange career.
I’m not suggesting I’m a convert but I have stopped internally giggling when I see the young American take his stance. And I guess I’ll just have to get used to a set of golf clubs making the same sound in motion as a plumber’s ute driving over a speed bump.