Bryson DeChambeau was always going to be a story no matter how his first season as a professional unfolded. When you employ a set of single-length clubs with 123-gram JumboMax XL grips and have a name for nearly every club in the bag, you automatically move to the center of the equipment universe.
DeChambeau not only lived to the hype by earning his 2016-17 PGA TOUR card via the Web.com Tour Finals, he made head-turning equipment news in the process, becoming the first player in TOUR history to win a tournament with a set of single-length irons at the DAP Championship.
DeChambeau followed up the maiden victory with his first TOUR title last season at the John Deere Classic, and is currently ranked 33rd in the season-long FedExCup standings following a T5 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open — his second top-10 in six starts.
DeChambeau recently sat down with PGATOUR.COM's Equipment Report to discuss everything from his unique setup and testing process to why he uses a graphite putter shaft and decided to switch golf balls.
On the changes he requested during the design process of Cobra's 2018 F8 One Length irons:
I wanted the wedges to flight a little lower and the 4- and 5-iron to flight just a fraction higher, maybe go slightly farther. I also wanted a driving iron head that slotted in after my fairway woods that acted like a hybrid from a forgiveness standpoint but offered a flight that fit my eye. They moved the CG back in the head and it works beautifully for me.
On the time of year he tests new equipment:
I do most of my testing during the offseason — so during the winter before we head to Hawaii — to make sure I'm ready when we restart. But when I first started working with Cobra on the one-length irons, I had to get them in during the middle of the season, which kind of stunk. You just don't have as much time to get acclimated to them, and I really like to do my due diligence. But ultimately it was a great decision because it allowed me to win the Web.com Tour's DAP Championship and perform on TOUR.
On the most important trait when testing a new club:
It's definitely a process for me. First, it has to feel right in my hands. If something feels off, whether it's the weight or whatever, we need to figure out what's going on. Then I have to see it properly through the air, so it needs to be in my preferred window for each club. Looks are obviously the last thing for me. A club doesn't have to blow me away in that department. So long as the feel and flight are good, everything else is a bonus.
On the balance between feel and numbers during the testing process:
It's a combo of both feel and numbers for me. Most look at the launch monitor numbers and if they check out, you're good to go. For me, I want to make sure those numbers are perfect, but I also need to be sensing things properly through impact. I'm the same as any other golfer; I'm just more vocal about the technical side. I guarantee you 75 percent of the guys out there are very technical, they just don't talk about it. They think it's this weird curse where if you're too technical you're going to lose the feel side.
On what he does when the launch monitor numbers are off:
I first look at my golf swing to see if I'm doing anything to allow those numbers to occur. The FlightScope data is incredible so whenever ball speed is down or spin rate is down or something has changed, I first take a look at my swing. If my swing feels the same and I feel the exact same, then I go to the shaft or ball — it's an either or. Sometimes it's the ball if I know that I've made a change recently, or I'll look at the shaft. Is there something in the shaft messing with the deflection patterns and producing unnecessary spin axis tilt? It's a process like anything else. To fix the issue you need to figure out where the problem it's starting.
On validating the single-length iron design:
I think there's a massive validation when you win with something new, especially when you're the first to do it. I think it shows validity to the irons. It's not just showcasing that I'm unique and the only person who can do it. I personally believe it's a better way to do it for the average amateur. If you can get junior golfers using [single-length irons], there's a logical conclusion that you'll see more professionals in the future using them.
On the decision to use a 39-inch Matrix U11-PO prototype graphite putter shaft:
It's stiff as a board. It's the most consistent producing deflection out there. If you change your rhythm it doesn't deflect differently. That's the important thing. People think deflection is so important to produce rhythm, and for most guys it is. But when you understand deflection isn't necessary to produce a certain rhythm, and you can adapt to that rhythm, you realize you need something as stiff as possible to be as consistent as possible. I'm seeing a tighter dispersion on putts and very little twisting and turning of the head.
On his process switching from Bridgestone's B330S golf ball to the Tour B X:
I played the B330S ball for a while, but then I had to switch to something that didn't spin as much. When I did that my distances were going 7 to 8 yards farther, and then depending on the conditions at hand, it could change more or less off those numbers.
We spent three or four hours out at TPC Las Colinas, where I'm practicing and playing out of right now, to determine how much more consistent the new ball was. I'm testing it on the range but also taking it out on the course to determine how it reacts into the wind and downwind. I'm also looking to see how it reacts off of different lies, whether the spin rates change — just get comfortable with every situation.
I'm also looking at what happens when my adrenaline hikes up because that can change the neuromuscular transmission of your rhythm, so you have to take account for that and know what happens in those situations. There are a bunch of variables.
On what he looks for in a putter:
It's mainly the sound. You want to hear a certain sound that gives you a certain perceived feel. If I was to put earmuffs on and hit putt, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a firmer ball and softer ball. It matters how you perceive the sound and how hard you need to hit it, per that sound.
On his go-to shot with the driver:
A straight shot that kind of tapers to the left at the end, just a fraction left. I feel like the face is being glided through impact — not like I'm trying to rotate the face hard or manipulate the face. It's just smooth is the best way I can describe it.