22-year-old DeChambeau's unique set of irons

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Scott Rushing
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22-year-old DeChambeau's unique set of irons

You've probably seen the iron ads before, from One Iron Golf, all irons in the bag the same length.  And the 2015 NCAA Champion, DeChambeau, builds his own clubs, all the irons the same length as a standard 7iron, 37.5" long.   He's a physics major and has apparently studied the physics of the swing process and felt this was the best way to do it.  The commentators were refering to Mo Norman, who was a golfer with incredible accuracy back in his day.  But DeChambeau did OK at the Abu Dhabi Classic last week, leading with a 64 after round 1.  Fading late with a 3 round 78, did not finish as strong as he started but looks like we'll see more of him.  

 

From the Golf.com website...

On Thursday, he was comparing his trailblazing qualities to those of Albert Einstein and George Washington, and calling himself "The Golf Scientist.

One thing's for sure about the 22-year-old DeChambeau, he isn't lacking in confidence.

And he's got the game to back it up.

DeChambeau shot an 8-under 64 at the Abu Dhabi Championship to take the first-round lead in what might be the strongest field in a European Tour event this year. Not bad for an amateur making only his seventh start in a professional tournament, and his first on the regular European Tour - through an invitation.

Any nerves? Don't be silly.

"Why be nervous?" said DeChambeau, whose deep tan is explained by his California roots. "There's no expectations. I'm not worried about anything. If I hit a bad shot I've got an opportunity to show my grace and my character. In that situation, there's no downside to it."

DeChambeau may just be the most unique, colorful golfer around.

He's a physics student at Southern Methodist University who has devised his own way of playing golf. It includes modifying all of his irons so they are the same length, lie, angle and bounce - the only difference between them is the loft - and means he can keep the same posture and set-up; hitting two different drives that he has named The Fairway Finder and the Crank Ball; using water and Epsom salts to establish which of his golf balls are slightly flawed so they can be discarded; and adopting a putting routine in which he crouches and extends his putter as if fly-fishing.

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"You look at trends in humanity and people like following the norm," DeChambeau said, when asked if he is a trailblazer. "You've got people out there like Einstein, George Washington - they just stood out and capitalized on their differences and showed the world a little different side.

"I tried (his unique swing) out in 2011 ... I hit a striped shot 210 yards right next to the flag and I thought, "This could change golf."

DeChambeau isn't just all talk. Last year, he became only the fifth player - after Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore - to win the NCAA and U.S. Amateur titles in the same season. He made his PGA Tour debut in June that year and finished tied for 45th, and was runner-up in the Australian Masters in November.

He said Thursday that he is not thinking of when to turn professional.

"I never try to set goals. I'm more of a journey man," said DeChambeau, who wears a Ben Hogan-style flat cap. "I like focusing on the journey process.

"I'm an intern. I've learned to believe in myself. That's the ticket. It happened at the NCAAs and I'm just growing that confidence, that belief each and every single day. Today definitely helped."

The highlight of his round was a 3-wood from 278 yards that ran through a greenside bunker and rolled up to within 20 feet of the pin on No. 8. He knocked it in for an eagle, and also hit seven birdies around a long, challenging course.

"I'm getting more comfortable out here and getting used to the rhythm of things," he said. "I only played 18 holes before I played today. Nine holes Monday and nine holes Tuesday and that's all you need if you understand the golf course - you have contour maps and everything like that it makes it super simple, super smooth to get the golf course figured out."

It seems DeChambeau has golf figured out, too.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
So you see this guy is doing

So you see this guy is doing pretty well in the masters.  I heard a few more things about his clubs, and his game yesterday.   So all his irons are bent 17 degrees upright!  Not that's upright.  He uses a 1 plane swing that's pretty rare to see on tour.  All his grips are oversized, I mean big oversized.

And he tests the balance of all his golf balls.  He puts them in a glass of water and spins them.  if it takes more than a slight pressure from the fingers to spin, then he knows their not balanced and he won't play with them on the course.    Just does it by feel.  That was pretty nice.  Seems like he just loves golf, soaks up all the history. 

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scomac
scomac's picture
So you see this guy is doing

So you see this guy is doing pretty well in the masters.  I heard a few more things about his clubs, and his game yesterday.   So all his irons are bent 17 degrees upright!  Not that's upright.  He uses a 1 plane swing that's pretty rare to see on tour.  All his grips are oversized, I mean big oversized.

That sounds more than a bit extreme to me, Scott.  I have read on other sites that De Chambeau has a six iron length in all of his irons and wedges.  A standard six iron today is ~61.5° lie angle.  Using the Ping Color Code Chart you would get a variation of +/- 4.5° from the standard to cover almost everyone.  To say his irons are 17° upright is to say that they are somewhere from 74° to 83° lie angle.  74° is upright for a putter and 83° is more upright than any broomstick putter I've hear tell of.  I'm not sure how you could swing a 37"-38" club square at those lie angles with an atheletic posture no matter what your physical dimensions are.  Granted, I did see a few shots of him playing at the Masters and his swing plane is extremely steep, so I guess it's possible, but it sure looks ungainly.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Something like this I thin is

Something like this I thin is what teh kid was doing :

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypiL9ao90NM

 

 

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Scott Rushing
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Yeah, in watching him, he

Yeah, in watching him, he stands very upright and his swing is pretty steep.  but at the end of the day, it's about consistency and apparently he can control it so, time will tell.

Just fyi, I did my own test on the golf ball floating similar to the above video.  Tested 9 golf balls, all tour quality, Titleist, Taylormade and Srixon.  Of teh 9 balls, 1 continuously came up in the same location when I marked and spun it in the water.  All the others tended to vary where they settled, but this one ball always settled with the mark on top where it started.  So clearly that one was not fully in balance.  Now how much it was off balance I don't know.  For this test, it probably doesn't have to be far off to show this result.  But if I were playing in a tournament, I probably would not use that ball. 

Now I'm sure it's not 11% failure rate on all balls but that's what my simple test was.   This weekend I'll try some more tests and see what the result is. 
 

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DON
Video link above

Scott; I clicked on the link above and got a video about balancing golf balls. I watched it and then a few more about golf ball balance checking. What I found the most interesting is that in a few of the videos the ball they were balance testing was a  Pro V1. the number 1 ball in golf, and it the video the ProV1 balls were NOT perfectly balance, they were off enough to cause a miss when putting. So for all those golfers out there that claim that todays top of the line balls do NOT need to be balance tested, that's a bunch of horse mature.

And this is the reason I always Spin balance every ball I play. Tests done today with top end balls shows that it does make a difference, both in the air and on the greens. Balls fly straighter and longer and roll straighter when the ball is aligned by the balance point you find when doing the balance testing.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

cac
cac's picture
Ill have a look at my balls

Ill have a look at my balls for balance. If I find one that settles on the same spot then how is that used when putting ? Always start it at the top ? CAC.

 

cac handed Geordie.

DON
Correct

That's correct cac, you place the top of the ball mark you get from float testing at the top and hit it. This will give you the best roll on a putt and the longest and straightest ball flight off the tee.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Yeah, I did another 19 golf

Yeah, I did another 19 golf balls today, 18 new top line tour quality and one used ball.   Interesting results.  The used ball always returned to the same position.  now this is a well used ball and it had some scuffs on different sides, and what you would have thought might have been the "lighter" side or the "top" when floated wasn't.  The new balls all balanced pretty well though I will say the Srixons seemed to come the closest to being off balance.  They never returned to their spots but the spot was usually visible.  Could have been coincidence but the Pro V1s never did that.

Don, I have a spinner as well.  But doesn't that show you the most balanced line and doesn't really tell you that it's not balanced?  I mean honestly, I don't know that I want to putt with a ball that's that much out of balance but I bet the ones I found that were skewed would still consistenly show you the line in the spinner.  I'll try that tonight with one.  So to me, the spinner will give me the best line for that ball, but it still might not be a ball i want to use....

And I agree Don .   Yes probably today's balls and manaufacturing is better but it's still not perfect.

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DON
The spinner will give you the

The spinner will give you the BEST way to align the ball on the tee and on the green. ONE thing you might want to try would be to spin the ball and mark it, and then spin it AGAIN to see if the ball spins up the same way. If it does, it's at least a little bit out of balance, If it doe NOT, you have a near perfectly balanced ball. And I'm sure you have had a few balls or more that started to JUMP around in the cage when you did the spin testing. Those are the balls that are WAY out of balance and might want to use for Chipping practice only. You will still get the same Feel off the club and the same bite and roll out on the green, but it may not roll as straight as you'd like. Or save it for the day you're 9 over on the front nine and you don't really care how the rest of the round goes.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.