Anyone who has followed the sport in recent years will be no stranger to Bryson DeChambeau and his often-controversial approach to the game of golf… but are there lessons to be learned from Bryson’s most recent antics and can we mimic his ‘lockdown transformation?’
Upon returning from a nearly three month break in the summer of 2020 Bryson DeChambeau, often nicknamed ‘The Scientist’, drew a lot of media attention having gained over 20 pounds of muscle. DeChambeau who worked closely with personal trainer Greg Roskopf pushed boundaries, and really changed the way many golfers now look at their fitness. But why?
Eating a whopping 6000 calories and working out for 4 hours per day DeChambeau considerably changed both his physique and his golf game. Favoring isolation exercises rather than typical compound movements, DeChambeau trains each muscle individually to push his body to the absolute limits. All this rigorous training has proven to be worthwhile for DeChambeau, massively improving his stability, a fundamental part of the golf swing. “Now I’ve got some meat … and some size on me. And that’s what’s really allowed me to feel like I can be stable over the golf ball,” DeChambeau says. “And, from being stable, produce more force. I feel like I’m more grounded so I can rotate harder and punch harder under that ball.” As a result of this, DeChambeau has now found himself top of both the club head speed and ball speed statistics for the PGA Tour in 2021.
Now you may be wondering, ‘what does that mean?’… well, with this impressive increase in speed Bryson DeChambeau has gone from averaging a little over 300 yards to a mammoth 325 yards, with the young American maxing out at an extraordinary 428 yards at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut! With numbers like this it was inevitable that DeChambeau picked up his first major championship at the 2020 US Open, as well as 2 further wins on the PGA Tour.
Whilst 4 hour gym sessions and a 6000 calorie per day diet might not be realistic for the rest of us, a lot can still be learnt from Bryson DeChambeau and his remarkable transformation. Strength training can help improve your golf in the following ways:
As proven by DeChambeau, strength training can significantly support an increase in speed. As little as one or two workouts per week can help improve your strength, this small gain can help improve your ability to efficiently and fluidly swing the golf club. Ball speed is fundamental to hitting “bombs” as Phil Mickelson would say; an increase of 1 mph in ball speed equates to around 2 yards of extra distance. Meaning if you can increase ball speed by as little as 5 mph, you could gain an extra 10 yards of the tee!
Swinging a golf club might not seem like the most physically draining activity, but hauling your bag of clubs around and hitting the ball for 18 holes can take its toll on your body over time. How many times are we as golfers on great score through 9 holes, then unavoidably run out of steam on the back 9? Strength training, particularly within a consistent workout regime, helps to train your body to resist that fatigue so that your final drive down the 18th hole feels as fluid and natural as your first.
Whilst it can be easy to blame a poor golf swing on ‘lack of technique’ or ‘the wrong clubs’, very often swing faults are a symptom that you can’t physically execute complicated motions. Performance Training Coach Eric Dannenberg, who often works with PGA Tour players states: “If you can’t squat or do a lateral lunge, then you probably can’t load weight onto your hips, nor do you have enough trunk stability to do a complicated golf swing. You need to have perfect form on basic motions like a squat and a lunge and a pushup before you can execute a hugely complicated motion like a golf swing. If you can’t get your driver head at a particular level, then it’s probably a function of your inability to move well, not a problem with your technique.”