Posted at 5:00 am
Bryson Dechambau scared many when he arrived with his new muscular apparatus and extraordinary feats in 2019. Some argue that development of new equipment should be limited. Others that it will be necessary to prolong the reasons. Has golf become too easy for the pros?
The answer is unanimous in the golf community: No. exactly the contrary. Apparently, new techniques and training methods favor long shots over a tee. However, golf is still a hard sport to master, even for the best in the world.
Bryson DeChambeau wowed all of his fans, as well as his competitors, when he emerged with an extra 30 pounds in 2019. Thirty pounds of muscle. His average driving distance increased from 302.5 yards to 322.1 yards over the following season. He broke a distance record of 17 years. In 2021, the scientist increased that average to 323.7 yards per tee point.
Some observers worry that golf is no longer challenging enough for DeChambeau and other athletes to gain strength and distance.
However, even if these elements make us fear the worst, the statistics don’t lie. The average score per round played has remained relatively stable for 20 years in the PGA. In 2002, the league’s average score was 71,411 and the number one player was Tiger Woods with an average of 68,561. Today, the overall average is 71,344 and the player with the highest average score is Cameron Smith with 69,338.
The beauty of golf is that even if you hit 350 yards, you still have to put it in the hole at the end. It’s not over yet.
Antoine Saint-Jean, coach at McGill University, owner of the Gilles Golf Center and coach of the year in 2021 at PGA Quebec
Remy Arnault, manufacturing engineer at Taylormade agrees: “It’s obviously an advantage for Bryson, but has he won all the tournaments he’s in? No. He also made concessions and there he was injured a while ago.”
According to Massimo Roche, founder and principal of East Coast Pro, golf has obviously undergone many transformations. The players and equipment they get are definitely better. However, he believes that it is not a problem if the competition remains strong and level. “The players play in the same conditions. They all play in the same stadium, on the same day, in the same weather. For me, there is no problem. Let’s develop the sport as much as possible and see where the limits of sport are for a person.”
In his opinion, the most dangerous thing is to compare the statistics of today’s players with the statistics of older generations. It is clear that progress has been made since the era of Palmer, Nicklaus, and Lair. However, this difference is not a problem. She is normal.
When it comes to dips, Antoine Saint-Jean thinks of amateur and recreational golfers, who represent the majority of golfers on the planet. Modern equipment helps these golfers generate more power, be more accurate, and ultimately have more fun.
That’s why Yohann Benson, a professional at Le Mirage Golf Club, and a professional analyst at RDS, believes there should be two different equipment standards: one for professionals and one for amateurs.
“The PGA Tour is a different animal. The leagues want to put very strict limits on the impact of the trampoline on the face of a stick, but manufacturers will be able to make much more efficient sticks for Mr. and Mrs. everyone. It just needs to be regulated so that the pros can’t get These kinds of sticks.”
On the subject, Remy Arnault asserts that manufacturers have already begun this shift, giving more and more importance to amateurs: “Tailormad was really focused on the PGA Tour, a few years ago […] We’ve changed our stance and now we only have a few professional golfers on the tour that we’ve really targeted, who represent our values and may have a more specific impact on social networks. We have already changed this aspect and now we are more focused on the customer. »
The real revolution
Assures all the speakers, the most important change in the world of professional golf was not the increase in distance or new equipment, but the fact that golfers became true athletes.
Johann Benson, who regularly rubs in with some of the best players in the world, talks about the “Tiger Woods Effect”. Thanks to the tiger, golfers have become great athletes, training and spending many hours in the gym. Woods imposed a way of life. It was the only way to keep up with his rhythm at the time. That’s still the case today, especially since most players on the PGA Tour excelled in other sports, such as baseball, basketball or hockey, before choosing golf, Benson asserts.
“Even if you gave them a bamboo sprig with a wooden head, they would hit the ball 300 yards. Brooks Koepka can lift 250 pounds on the bench press, and it’s not the same game anymore. We’re constantly talking about equipment, but Koepka could be an NFL player. This is the big change,” Benson added.
Today, it is the fact that golfers take care of themselves that promotes strength gain. Benson notes the same phenomenon among WGA golfers. Take, for example, sisters Nelly and Jessica Korda. “The Korda sisters can excel in different sports, they train like crazy,” he explains. Nelly is No. 2 in the world rankings, she is 22 years old, 5’7″ and has an average driving distance of 268.64 yards.
“There is an awareness in the players and we are adapting to this development, confirms Remy Arnaud. With different rates of ball rotation and different shooting angles than they were 10 or 15 years ago. The bullets go very high and very fast. Before, it was much less and had a greater impact. Our clubs are really programmed. To increase performance, whether it is ball speed, distance or tolerance.”
After all, playing golf isn’t necessarily the easiest, according to Antoine Saint-Jean. Sports become easier to analyze. With new training methods, advanced stats collection and technological tools like Trackman, capable of analyzing swing with tons of data and images, golfers perform better and improve more easily.
Before, they were hitting balls to shoot balls and they got better with time. Today they can hit 100 balls in a day and that would be better than hitting 1000 balls without knowing what they are doing. It is more profitable.
Antoine Saint-Jean, instructor at McGill University
Even if these changes in paradigm, culture and approach can be astounding, all stakeholders we met agree that they are beneficial to golf. Sport has never been so amazing, exhilarating, and fashionable.
Strength is one thing, sure, but the best players in the world right now aren’t necessarily big hitters. Scotty Scheffler, Cameron Smith and Colin Morikawa aren’t the dominant ones when it comes to hitting distance, but they excel in all aspects of the game, especially with their short game.
Golf is a tough sport and it always will be. A happy find for the lounge enthusiast who wants to enjoy a Sunday, but it’s a less enchanting result for amateur golfers hoping to break the 90 mark soon.