Before anyone says I’m accusing BDC or Cobra of cheating, I’m not – the driver is perfectly legal, but I would say that because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s good for golf, or even a morally acceptable club to make.
Bryson certainly has increased his weight, strength and swing speed, but the kicker here is the driver he’s using, because he wouldn’t be doing what he’s currently doing with any other driver on the market.
From Golf.com’s James Colgan:
While DeChambeau’s performance is certainly reflective of the changes he’s made to his body over the past six months, some credit belongs to the equipment setup that’s allowed him the freedom and forgiveness to swing for the fences.
I’ll have to admit that my reaction to that assertion (bolding mine above and below) was “Um, no kidding…”
Because this is what followed:
But truly, the Speedzone’s biggest attribute (for both bombers like Bryson and Average Joes) is its ball speed retention.
In robot testing conducted for GOLF’s ClubTest issue, the Speedzone produced nearly identical ball speeds on center-face impacts as it did on shots struck off the toe. For those in the pursuit of Bryson-like distance, that forgiveness can go a LONG way (and make your drives do the same).
So there you have it.
Yes, of course, Bryson would be driving it longer with his added bulk, strength regime and the changes he’s made to his swing (fuller hip turn with the lifting leading heel on the back pivot).
Yes, of course he’s obviously a great golfer (his win on the weekend made it four straight seasons with a win, which you don’t do by being a middling talent).
But come on – he’s using what I call a “training wheels” golf driver that really should only be marketed to hackers. If you can’t hit the sweet spot on the face, you shouldn’t be rewarded with drives nearly identical to having done so.
There is a dual advantage to Bryson’s Speedzone driver – 1. You get longer and straighter drives even not hitting the sweet spot of the face, in fact nearly identically long and straight to having mashed the ball off the sweet spot and 2. Knowing that this will be your result, you can practically “Happy Gimore” it off the tee with the psychological advantage that you literally can’t miss off the tee as long as you set up aiming where you want to hit it.
You can’t tell me that he’d be swinging this hard and this fast if he knew that a toe or heel hit would cost him a stroke or more off the tee with a really poor drive:
This is why I call it a “cheat club,” and yes, if I were playing golf for money or competing in long drive comps, I’d be the first in line to purchase this driver because of the fact that it’s legal.
But it is a deal-breaker and a game-breaker, because more players will of course add this to their bag, and now you’ll have long drive and putting contests instead of actual golf being played.
From “bomb and gouge” to “bomb and chip or putt.”
There’s a reason long drivers don’t play tournament golf – they hit it long and all over the place because they almost never catch the sweet spot on their hardest swings. When they do, it’s that one drive that wins them all the money.
But if you give them a club that does what Speedzone does (and they surely are working on that for the long drive circuit), you’d have long drivers playing pro golf with 500-600 yard drives.
And the stewards of the game are to blame, not Bryson DeChambeau, and not Cobra.
The maker is giving people what they want that’s legal, and BDC is a smart enough guy to know that this club gives him a massive advantage when combined with his weight and strength regime.
And it’s legal.
The choice of club makes him a genius, not the half-baked nonsense about air temps and humidity that we saw the past couple of years.
The stewards of the game failed at their jobs reining in club and ball technology increases (there are aluminum bats in high school and college baseball but not in the big leagues because they should be able to hit home runs with wooden bats) that fundamentally changed the game, probably because of the money rolling in during the Tiger years and the knowledge that longer and longer drives impressed the arm-chair golf viewer.
It also doesn’t bother me, because I stopped watching tournament golf on television some time ago.
In fact, I just un-followed the PGA Tour on my Twitter account after being inundated with BDC’s herky-jerky swing what seemed like dozens of times over the weekend.
Between the obsessive hero-worship, be it Tiger, Jordan, Justin or now BDC and the hyperbolic recitation of driving distances and ball speeds that are nearly 100% a product of the course setups, balls and clubs, not the swings, I have given up on modern golf viewing.
I’d rather do something that doesn’t annoy me as much as watching televised golf does.
I used to, for a while, just watch the big tournaments and majors and the Cups, but now, if the best players in the world are continuing to use “training wheel” equipment designed for hackers who don’t know how to swing and to make a mockery of the course upon which they play, and to have the industry bombarding my social media with this stuff…
Count me out.
I can find clips on YouTube when I want to look at swings.