06/30/2016

Each shot has a story to tell. That story is told in the form of numbers.

When using technology in golf, the average golfer might get confused analyzing smash factors or trying to depict the difference between face angle and angle of attack. But one golfer, a player taking the golf world by storm, uses each of these numbers to help him improve. They are imperative to his success.

His name has evoked its fair share of buzz over the past year. He’s been a player who many have said could change golf as we know it. He wears a Ben Hogan style cap, something he calls his “cape,” akin to Superman or Batman. His equipment is the most unique development to golf equipment in the past 20 years. He’s part scientist, part artist, and one of the rising stars in American golf. His name is Bryson DeChambeau.

After a career year in 2015 where DeChambeau won both the NCAA Individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same season, DeChambeau took his game, his style, and his one-length clubs to the next level and PGA Tour stardom. But his playing golf for a living hasn’t changed the way he practices. His work is a technology-based style of practice which centers on one of the best pieces of technology in the golf industry.

For DeChambeau, consistency is the element in which he rests his entire career on. Consistency in the length of his ironsconsistency in his golf swing (a one-plane swing), consistency in his practice, and consistency in his counsel. He and his coach Mike Schy (pronounced “Shy”) have been working together since their early days, DeChambeau’s junior career. It was Schy who nurtured DeChambeau’s interest in “The Golfing Machine,” eventually helping him to adopt the clubs that made him “the most fascinating player at the [2016] Masters.”

Last week during the 116th U.S. Open at Oakmont, Schy spent his week pacing the fairways with DeChambeau, up and down the hills of the famous Pittsburgh track. DeChambeau had played through tumultuous weather and a handful of annoying delays during the start of a week where he would finish t-15th.

In between rounds, Schy and DeChambeau did what they do during every practice session– “okay, maybe 90% of the time,” says Schy. They used their Flightscope and hit shots.

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DeChambeau and Schy use the Flightscope to measure the shot dispersion on each ball they hit. They take note of practice-session shots to see how off-center DeChambeau’s ball-flight is.. It’s especially critical given DeChambeau’s game.

“Bryson tries to hit every shot straight,” noted Schy. Even though the shot may appear to have a right-to-left ball flight, the shots travel primarily straight. After hitting a group of 3-irons, they’ll note the average dispersion of the grouping (e.g. 15-feet to the right). This helps them make the adjustments needed to help DeChambeau continue to hit the ball even straighter. 

Schy followed by saying, “Bryson hits it straighter than anyone on the planet. We’ve measured him against some of the best ball strikers and no one hit it as straight, with the consistency that Bryson does.”

DeChambeau and Schy love the Flightscope because it offers what competitors don’t. They utilize the acceleration profile while measuring shaft performance of the equipment DeChambeau uses. Schy also appreciates the great support from the Flightscope team. After using the equipment for 8 years, he’s able to trust the product. In golf, trust is everything.

During practice sessions, both at home and on the road, the duo has the Flightscope with them. When seen during sessions with a video camera or any other tools, that simply means they forgot something. The Flightscope is their baby. Their goal is to eliminate as many variables as possible to find the truth behind the ball flight.

“Our goal is to let the numbers tell the story, to take the emotion out of it,” said Schy.

Where ball flight can be dictated by many things, the numbers are a pure representation of what’s happening at impact. By honing in on the numbers, Schy and DeChambeau know they are building something that will last and yield success. 

“Bryson hits it straighter than anyone on the planet.”

 Mike Schy, Bryson DeChambeau’s coach

 

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As for Schy, he’s been a self-defined “techie” for years. Anything that had to do with technology, he used it. He started as a custom club fitter for Henry-Griffitts, a company who was at the forefront of custom building golf clubs. As he left his focus in club fitting and moved into teaching, he carried with him the passion he has for technology innovation. When video cameras first came out, Schy was using them. He’s worked through many aspects of the industry, giving him a foundation for teaching.

“I’ve always wanted to have accurate information with the latest technology,” said Schy.

People inside the industry have always asked him for advice. Schy has always given them tools and devices to help them better teach the game. It’s this desire for the best technology which led him to Flightscope. After all, the Flightscope is a cost-effective device for instructors of all levels, while providing the best numbers in the industry.

When Schy talks about the importance of understanding numbers, he says the following.

“Guys who play well know their numbers inside and out, those are the great players. They play to their strengths.”

It’s critical.

What Do They Measure in Bryson’s Game?

When looking at DeChambeau’s game, it’s an intense combination of physics, mathematics, and artistry.

DeChambeau plays the game in such a unique way, using technology becomes important. When he and Schy are working with their Flightscope, they measure. The better they know the numbers, the more DeChambeau is able to be an artist. It’s an interesting dichotomy. The deeper he dives into the data, the more he finds freedom. Through understanding shaft angles, spin lofts, and launch angles, Bryson plays a looser game. It probably helps fuel the confidence he airs on course.

During practice, Schy notes they begin by measuring start lines. By knowing where Bryson’s shot starts, it better gives them a grasp as to why the ball behaves a certain way. Each shot has a story to tell. That story is told in the form of numbers.

“Bryson has all shots measured out to the number. Within that, dispersion is the key,” explains Schy. 

The Flightscope is especially useful during practice with wedges.

“[The Flightscope] is great for wedging. We’ll measure the spin, bounce out, roll out,” says Schy, as it gives them the best representation for every shot he hits. 

While hitting wedge shots, DeChambeau will go work on “59-yard wedge shots,” or “53-yard wedges.” Remember, he has every number measured out to the number.

At the end of the day, by understanding the numbers, they know they’re removing the element of chance. This puts the numbers in their favor. 

Schy explains it simply. “We want to be the casino, the house, not the gambler.”

And for those who know anything, the house always comes out ahead.

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For more information on the Flightscope, visit flightscope.com.