Bryson DeChambeau: These are the 7 things I think about before every shot

May 8, 2019

A trip through the mind of Bryson DeChambeau never disappoints.

The physics major from Southern Methodist University is one of the most cerebral guys on Tour, and while his ideas seem pretty out there for regular golf fans, there’s a method behind his ever-evolving madness. Take his pre-shot checklist, which at one point included a compass and still includes detailed calculations about air density, among other things.

“It actually actually started when I missed 14 cuts in a row. I said to myself, ‘I need to find a way to get more consistent,” Bryson told GOLF.com on the range at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Tuesday. “This process is the the reason why I have confidence. If you ask any shooter or sniper or long-range shooter, they’ll tell you that all this stuff matters.”

So, what goes through Prof. DeChambeau’s mind before, say, a 150-yard shot? Grab a notepad and a pencil and start taking notes. Class is now in session…

1. Air Density

“It’s number one because that’s how far the ball is going to fly at that point in time, at your local position. It’s what matters most because it’s literally how the ball is flying through the air. You can have two winds that are the same, but they’ll fly through that wind differently because of air density. So air density relates to literally every factor.”

2. Elevation Change

“Easy, how much the altitude affects the flight of the golf ball. Think about it: If I go out and play a tournament one week at 1,000 feet of elevation, and then the next week go play in 2,000 feet of elevation. If I hit a 150 shot from last week, and the next week it flies 156 — that’s not a correct adjustment by the way — it something you have to take into account.”

3. Wind Vector

“Vector is the magnitude and direction. It’s a physics term to say how hard it’s blowing and in which direction.”

DeChambeau took us to school Tuesday at Muirfield Village GC.
DeChambeau took us to school Tuesday at Muirfield Village GC.

4. Local Slope Adjustment

“That’s how much it’s statically changing loft. Wind vector and elevation change relate to each other, because if you hit off a downhill slope or an uphill slope, it’s going to affect how that shot is going to fly into the wind, so we have to relatively move that. Every degree of slope is going to change the launch angle a degree.”

5. Roll Out Number

“This is affected by our air density stuff. Basically, the total distance the ball will travel, both in the air and on the ground.”

6. Something Secret

“I’m not going over that one. Intuitively the top players in the world know it, but they don’t understand why it happens. I do.”

Bryson DeChambeau at work on the course.
Analyze that: DeChambeau hard at work on the course.

7. Shot Shape

“I don’t choose a shot shape and then take all that into account because if the wind is variable — let’s say we have a wind variability of X and it’s decreasing and increasing in magnitude a little bit, that influences the direction component of it. There’s a certain array of shots I can hit, and a certain number of shots I should hit, so we have to make the shot adjustment relative to everything else.”

Bonus: Dew Point!

“Dew Point isn’t the secret, but it affects the secret.”