Hannah Holden explains why a longer shaft will get Bryson DeChambeau the distance gains he craves
Many players would win their first major and think about taking a break from the game – if only for a week or two. But this is the Bryson DeChambeau era and the newly-crowned US Open champion is already thinking about the next level.
DeChambeau is very open about his progress in the gym, how this has translated to driving distance, and how much further he thinks he can take his physical fitness and distance gains.
And while many argue that technological advancements in equipment are taking the skill out of the game, DeChambeau counters that the spike in driving distances is down to athleticism.
“The COR was locked in back in 2000 or something like that,” he explained following his win at Winged Foot. “You could only have it come off the face so much, right? So it’s been that way ever since.
“The rules haven’t changed. People have just gotten a little longer with their driver. The shafts have become better for sustaining higher swing speeds, and we’re constantly trying to just hit it as hard as we possibly can.
“I don’t think that science [plays] as big of a role in the market today. It’s more athleticism playing a bigger role.
“I was hitting it [as far as the] average tour player a year ago, and then all of a sudden I got a lot stronger, worked out every day. Not because of the clubs, but because of me, I was able to gain 20, 25 yards.”
But, and here’s the kicker, DeChambeau does believe there’s an avenue he can pursue in a bid to eke a few extra yards.
“Next week I’m going to be trying a 48-inch driver,” he said. “We’re going to be messing with some head designs and do some amazing with things with Cobra to make it feasible to hit these drives maybe 360, 370 – or maybe even farther. “
DeChambeau is currently using a 45.5″ shaft in his driver which is an inch longer than the PGA Tour average. The Rules of Golf state a golf club must be longer than 18 inches but not exceed 48 inches.
In recent years driver shafts have gradually been getting longer. Some of this is due to the fact the driver head has got bigger, but it’s largely down to the fact that golfers are increasingly more obsessed with driving distance.
A longer shaft gives you that desired outcome of increased driving distance when you go for a club fitting. But many players find a shorter shaft allows them to strike it more consistently out of the middle which ultimately outweighs the benefits of using a longer shaft.
At address, DeChambeau has his hands pretty high and arms outstretched which creates a straight line from his shoulders to his driver head, while the shaft is aligned with the thoracic spine.
This allows him to create the maximum width with his driver so he can swing the clubhead faster and ultimately hit it further.
By adding an additional 2.5 inches to his driver shaft there is potential to further increase the depth of radius to his swing as well as his clubhead speed.
Of course the quicker he is swinging it the more stable the shaft will need to be. I suspect this will be the trickiest part of the testing.
So will we see DeChambeau with a 48-inch driver on tour any time soon – or indeed, at Augusta? Don’t bet against it.
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