Bryson DeChambeau: In a Dallas living room, golf is secretly being transformed

But, walk into this Dallas home and you’ll quickly find that what’s inside is actually quite extraordinary.

As the world headed for a lockdown in March, Como was at the Players Championship in Florida, working with DeChambeau and another of his students, Emiliano Grillo, when news of the tournament’s cancellation came.

Boarding a hastily organized flight to his base in Dallas, Como began to simmer an idea that had been brewing in his mind for years.

“I always thought it would be really cool to take a technology I used in graduate school and measure in depth what the body does during the golf swing creating a sort of multisport lab for research. at home . “

By the time Como landed in Dallas, his decision was made.

“I went to my apartment, gave my departure notice, called a real estate agent, and I was like, ‘Help me find a place with a really high ceiling.’

“We found a place with high ceilings to be able to shoot some three-point basketball shots… We then built a biomechanics lab in my living room – which is badass.

“I’m clearly not married because I’m not sure the theoretical woman would have let me put this together,” Como joked with Shane O’Donoghue of CNN Living Golf.

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Como helps one of his teaching assistants with his swing.

Salon laboratory

The beating heart of Como’s “living room lab” is a Gears 3D motion capture system – a sophisticated set of cameras encircling the room that records every movement of the user and generates a 3D computer model of the action. It allows Como to analyze the slightest imperfection or change in movement and correct or plan accordingly.

To complement the data collected by the Gears system, Como also has GASP force plates – to measure the force applied to each foot during a swing – and a K-Vest, a lightweight, portable device that provides data. additional on the movement. upper body during an action.

With the lockdown limiting access to golf clubs and spring training facilities, Como’s lab became the base for DeChambeau to work on his game.

“He was coming here and we would evolve the swing and just kept increasing the speed of the club during that downtime.

“Once things started up again he was physically very different … his golf swing too, I wouldn’t say it was different, but it was a lot more explosive,” Como explains.

It is not only DeChambeau who benefits from the data offered in the Como salon.

Dallas Mavericks star Seth Curry and Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn also took the opportunity offered by the lockdown to have their respective jump and slap shots analyzed by Como – both players have since played a key role in the post-lockout playoffs.

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A general view of the Como salon.

Analytical approach

Having studied physics in college, it is perhaps not surprising that DeChambeau, with Côme’s help, took a very analytical approach to golf.

“His philosophy is not to neglect anything and to take risks to try to improve,” said his coach.

It was this risk-reward approach that made DeChambeau’s transformation so captivating, weighing 40 pounds and becoming the longest driver on the PGA Tour, averaging an incredible 325 yards per leg.

It hasn’t been easy for the 26-year-old since the lockdown, however, despite some scintillating golf and a PGA Tour victory, there have been plenty of erratic performances and missed cuts highlighted by a disastrous five on the normal; 10-stroke event on the 15th par-5 hole at the Memorial Tournament in July, a hole that included three drops and resulted in a missed cut.

“The cool thing about making changes to your golf swing, especially if you’re already one of the best players in the world, there is a risk,” Como says.

DeChambeau reacts to his practice on the 16th hole in the final round of the 2020 PGA Championship.

“There have been people before who have tried to improve at the game but actually lost their game, that’s one of the things we discussed in depth, it was like, ‘OK, you take some level of risk, but how can we be smart about it? ”

Como, who was born and raised in the leafy Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, apprenticed with some of the top golf instructors in the United States before settling in Dallas and attending golf school. ‘graduate studies, where he studied biomechanics.

It was this mixture of practical experience coupled with theoretical knowledge that caught the attention of Tiger Woods who hired Como from 2014 to 2017 to replace Sean Foley.

While Woods spent much of that time injured, the California-born coach saw first-hand the qualities that make Tiger one of the greatest players of all time.

“Tiger was very curious, he liked to figure things out, he liked to try to figure out his body and how to hit certain punches,” Como said.

“When I was working with him he suffered a lot of injuries, but he just had this consistent approach to the game: how can I get better?”

It’s an approach to the game that’s almost identical to Como’s latest star pupil.

“Bryson is a very curious person, he loves trying to figure things out and he works incredibly hard… He’s just determined to be the best so he’s a lot of fun to work with.”

The data collected by Como is examined on a laptop computer to improve performance.

Too much data?

Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw once said, “Golf is the toughest game in the world. You can never get it. Just when you think you are doing it, the game jumps up and puts you on. your place.”

So just how far does Como think data and the lab can unlock the golf swing mystery?

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“Honestly, I don’t think the mystery will ever cease to exist in our lifetime,” he said. “That’s the beauty of this game, even with all of this technology, we’re only measuring a small amount of what’s really going on in the swing.

“It’s part of what makes golf so fun, it’s one of the great mysteries out there.”


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