April 06, 2021
By GolfWRX, PGATOUR.COM
- Bryson DeChambeau has been testing a new driver during practice rounds at the 2021 Masters. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Bryson DeChambeau was spotted testing a new Cobra RadSpeed Prototype driver this week at Augusta National ahead of the Masters, and it turns out the club is the product of the pursuit of a singular solution for a singular golfer.
When your average ball speed is 191 mph, and you’ve professed you’re pursuing an amount of clubhead speed that will have the golf ball rocketing off the face of your driver at 220 mph, needless to say, you’re in a unique place as a golfer (and a place previously reserved for professional long drivers).
Even in the world of PGA TOUR golf, where the average ball speed is closer to 170 mph, DeChambeau is bashing his Bridgestone in such a way that it necessitates equipment adjustments and unique solutions.
This has been the case with his driver. DeChambeau began the year in Cobra’s current mode — the RadSpeed — but reverted to his six-year-old Cobra King LTD Pro at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard in March (and event he won, by the way).
At GolfWRX, we heard unconfirmed rumblings DeChambeau, because of his swing speed and unique swing dynamics, was contacting the golf ball more off the toe of his club, and the older driver actually performed better and reduced dispersion.
This, however, was only a temporary solution as Cobra engineers were keen to offer Bryson the benefits of the new technology while incorporating what they learned about what was working for the Golfing Scientist in the LTD Pro.
We reached out to Cobra Tour Manager Ben Schomin and VP of R&D Tom Olsavsky to learn more about the Cobra RadSpeed Prototype.
GolfWRX.com: There is lots of talk about a new RadSpeed Prototype driver head Bryson is testing. What can you tell us about the new head that has been specifically tweaked for his high speeds?
Tom Olsavsky: The big thing here is speed and Bryson has a lot of it. To help build a driver specifically tuned for his dynamics, we removed the adjustable weights to save mass from the housings and have focused on internal changes to help him reduce miss-hit variance.
The other thing we did was increase the face thickness of his drivers to prolong durability. Bryson hits a lot of golf balls and with the amount that he hits both in standard practice and his speed training sessions, we wanted to help eliminate any durability concerns. We also suggest that he rotates the heads during sessions—and the adjustability in the hosel makes that easier to do.
Now speaking of the face, we specifically removed the Infinity Face on this new head, because it allows us to change the face radii easier and reduce the toe radius to help with his toe misses.
GolfWRX.com: Bryson really is unique as far as players you work with, isn't he?
Ben Schomin: Bryson hitting a 5-degree driver at 200+ mph ball speed certainly presents some different ball/club dynamics than we typically design for, so we’ve had to rethink some of our approaches. This head is our latest iteration to find something that works best for Bryson at extremely high speeds.
Tom Olsavsky: It's basic physics: higher speed off-center hits result in greater variability due to the greater forces involved. Much of what we are seeing as far as misses are concerned seems to be due to club/ball friction at the interface between the two surfaces, which is very close to some instabilities in the contact physics. We are doing everything we can from an engineering perspective to keep the ball online more often.
As you can see in the photo of Bryson with the club, DeChambeau also has a large amount of lead tape on the sole of the driver in a unique configuration. It’s unclear whether this is to achieve a desired swing weight (how heavy the club feels), or an attempt to further dial in the performance of the head.
We can’t be sure if DeChambeau will arrive at the first tee of Augusta National with the new RadSpeed Prototype in the bag, but we’re confident his experimentation will continue — and he’ll remain a fixture of the Equipment Report.