No one chases speed like Bryson DeChambeau. It’s a borderline obsession. Maybe not borderline.
Though he’s never reached over 200 mph ball speed during a competitive round on the PGA Tour, he has crossed that threshold several times in practice. He said he hit 211 mph on the range earlier this week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
DeChambeau has recently been working alongside World Long Drive champion Kyle Berkshire in a bid to improve his ball speed. Berkshire set the world record (228 mph) en route to winning the WLD final in 2019.
DeChambeau managed on Thursday to hit one drive 405 yards – the second longest of the opening round (Cam Champ, 421 yards) – on his way to a 4-under 69 on the Plantation Course. He is four shots off the opening-round lead, held by Harris English and Justin Thomas.
After his round, DeChambeau was asked what he had learned from Berkshire. DeChambeau said he didn’t want to reveal too much, but did say that he worked so hard that he nearly blacked out on occasion: "There was times where I was seeing a tunnel and I had to stop."
"[Berkshire] gave me some nice little secrets that allowed him to get from, in college he was 118, 119 [mph swing speed], to where he is today, around 150. So I implemented some of his techniques. A lot of it has to do with pushing the limits of your body and going for long hours of swinging your golf club with a golf ball and trying to help up the ball speed.
"There are points where, I don't know if you've ever experienced a runner's high or something like that, where you get these extra endorphins and that's kind of what breaks your neurological CNS (Central Nervous System), I guess, is what breaks your nervous system down, which is a great thing. And over time as you keep building it and you keep pushing it and pushing it, just keeps going up and up.
"So that's kind of a basic principle of what he's done. He's just overworked his CNS like a madman and he's shown me some really cool techniques that have allowed me to sustain speed on the golf course. So I feel like I was a little faster out there today, which was awesome to have, and I just got to hone it in."
DeChambeau hit eight of 15 generous fairways, averaging nearly 300 yards on the two measured driving holes. His 405-yard drive came at the par-4 12th, when he drove it near the front of the green on the 423-yard hole. That was one of his six birdies on the day.
Where is this all going? DeChambeau said that, in the next year, year and a half, he hopes to routinely reach 205-210 mph ball speed.
"Once I achieve those speeds and I'm comfortable with that," he said, "not trying to swing my butt off, it just happens naturally, that's when I'll probably stop and go down the chipping rabbit hole and try and understand my chipping and wedging a lot bit better."