The Mad Scientist: Bryson DeChambeau
The Mad Scientist: Bryson DeChambeau


One player who garnered a lot of attention on day one of the Masters was US Amateur and NCAA champion Bryan DeChambeau, who was playing his last tournament before turning professional. DeChambeau is a unique personality. He studied physics at Southern Methodist University and definitely takes a scientific approach to the game of golf.

DeChambeau is a bit of a throwback, sporting a Ben Hogan style cap as he makes his way around a golf course. He’s best known for having 37 ½ inch shafts in every iron in his bag. All golfers, but perhaps very few non-golfers, know that the club length gets shorter as you work your way up from 3-iron through pitching wedge. Essentially, all of DeChambeau’s irons are all the length of a typical 6 or 7-iron.

DeChambeau also employs a single plane, upright golf swing that features very little wrist cock. It looks different because it is different. But, make no mistake, the kid can play and proved it in the opening round with an even par 72 on a very difficult day at Augusta National. With the exception of a few bad holes, he played very solidly all week finishing in a tie for 21st place.

He developed his unique approach to the game through his coach Mike Schy. Schy was exposed to a book – The Golfing Machine – as a teenager. The book was written by a Seattle airplane mechanic named Homer Kelly. The book, a kind of self-published cult classic, struck a chord with Schy who had it in his book bag every day of high school.

It’s as if he found the Holy Grail and decided to keep the only copy in his possession. He gave the book to DeChambeau who liked the scientific explanations of how the golf swing works mechanically. The other person important to this story is a gentleman some golf fans are familiar with, Moe Norman. Norman popularized the “natural” golf swing as an alternative to the traditional way of doing things. Norman’s swing is an arms-extended motion that DeChambeau doesn’t fully replicate but definitely has incorporated into his own.

His seemingly radical ways scared off college golf coaches and even DeChambeau’s father. But, he stuck with it and got first Taylor Made and then Edel Golf to make him custom clubs. It has been reported that he will announce a deal with Cobra Golf when he makes his professional debut following the Masters.

DeChambeau continued to play very well on Saturday, until the 18th hole, his 36th hole of the tournament when a huge hook off the tee led to a triple bogey 7, his first stumble of the day. In a span of 10 minutes, he went from three under par to even par for the tournament.

DeChambeau also incorporates a very analytical approach to course management. If you watched him play during the Masters you saw him consulting his yardage book a lot more than your typical touring pro. His extensive note taking and analytical approach to the game is just another facet that make this unique soon-to-be rookie a player to keep our eyes on.

It will be fascinating to see what the future holds for DeChambeau. The only other players to win the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Championship in the same year are Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore – two Hall of Fame golfers and a solid touring professional. The willingness to defy convention and pioneer a new approach to a game that’s been taught the same way for several decades is admirable. DeChambeau is confident with his approach and his track record to date suggests that pundits shouldn’t be quick to write him off. His play at the 80th Masters this past weekend provided additional affirmation.


Bryson DeChambeau, often referred to as “The Mad Scientist,” is a professional golfer known for his unique approach to the game, scientific mindset, and incredible power off the tee. Here's a closer look at Bryson DeChambeau's golfing journey and his distinctive characteristics:

  1. Scientific Approach: DeChambeau earned the nickname “The Mad Scientist” due to his scientific approach to golf. He studied physics at Southern Methodist University and applies scientific principles to his golf game, from equipment customization to swing mechanics.
  2. Single Length Irons: One of DeChambeau's signature innovations is his use of single-length irons. He uses irons of the same length and weight, which he believes offers better consistency in his swing and ball striking.
  3. Personalized Equipment: DeChambeau is known for meticulously customizing his equipment to his preferences, often tweaking his clubs for specific distances and conditions.
  4. Distance: Bryson is renowned for his incredible power off the tee. He gained attention for his dramatic physical transformation, including significant muscle gain, to maximize his driving distance.
  5. Winning Moments: DeChambeau has won multiple events on the PGA Tour, with his first major victory coming at the 2020 U.S. Open. His aggressive style and remarkable distance have contributed to his success.
  6. Putting Techniques: Bryson's approach to putting is also unique. He employs a “vector putting” method, where he factors in both the slope of the green and the hole location to determine the ideal putting line.
  7. Analytical Mindset: DeChambeau's analytical mindset extends beyond the golf course. He calculates variables like air density and elevation to make informed decisions during tournaments.
  8. Health and Fitness: Bryson's commitment to his physical fitness is evident in his muscular physique. He believes in the importance of athleticism in golf and his training regimen reflects that.
  9. Innovative Thinking: DeChambeau challenges conventional wisdom and constantly seeks ways to improve his game. His innovative thinking has sparked discussions and debates within the golf community.
  10. Media Presence: Bryson's unique approach and remarkable game have made him a media favorite. He's often in the spotlight for his actions both on and off the course.
  11. Inspiration: While his methods may not be suited for every golfer, DeChambeau's commitment to pushing the boundaries of golf has inspired many to think creatively about their own games.
  12. Controversy: As with any player who challenges the norm, DeChambeau's methods have faced criticism and controversy. Some traditionalists believe his approach goes against the traditional principles of the game.

Bryson DeChambeau's impact on golf extends beyond his victories. He's introduced new perspectives to the game, sparking conversations about innovation, training methods, and how science can intersect with golfing excellence. While his approach may be unconventional, it has undeniably made a significant mark on the sport.

Q&A session with Bryson DeChambeau:

Q: What inspired you to take such a scientific approach to golf? A: My background in physics played a big role. I've always been curious about how things work, and I saw an opportunity to apply scientific principles to golf for better consistency and performance.

Q: How did the idea of using single-length irons come about? A: It was a combination of factors. I wanted my swing to feel the same with every club, and single-length irons allowed me to achieve that. It took a lot of experimentation, but I found it suited my game well.

Q: How do you balance your analytical approach with the artistic side of golf? A: It's a delicate balance. While I use data and analysis to make informed decisions, I also trust my instincts and creativity on the course. It's about finding that middle ground.

Q: Your distance off the tee is remarkable. How did you develop such power? A: I dedicated a lot of time to increasing my strength and speed through weightlifting and fitness training. It's about optimizing my body's capabilities for maximum performance.

Q: Can you explain your putting technique and the concept of “vector putting”? A: Vector putting involves considering both the slope of the green and the hole's location when reading a putt. It's about understanding the physics of the ball's path and accounting for all variables.

Q: How do you handle criticism and skepticism about your unconventional methods? A: I understand that not everyone will agree with my approach, and that's okay. I focus on my own goals and what works for me. The results I've achieved validate my methods to an extent.

Q: What advice would you give to young golfers looking to improve their game? A: Find a balance between hard work and smart work. Train your body, but also train your mind. Golf is about both physical and mental performance.

Q: What's your approach to course management during a tournament? A: I analyze the course thoroughly before the tournament and create a game plan that plays to my strengths. But I also adapt as I go based on the conditions and how I'm feeling that day.

Q: How do you handle the pressure in high-stakes situations, such as major championships? A: Preparation is key. I trust in my game and my training. When I'm well-prepared, I can focus on executing my shots rather than worrying about the outcome.

Q: What goals do you have for your golf career moving forward? A: My ultimate goal is to continue pushing the boundaries of the game and inspiring others to think creatively. I want to win more majors and leave a lasting impact on golf.