How will DeChambeau be remembered when his career comes to an end?
After 9 top-ten finishes in 2018 — including 3 wins — starting off on a hot streak in 2019, and the full embrace of his scientific method, Bryson DeChambeau has cemented his place on the A-list of professional golf. But is he also in danger of becoming his own worst enemy?
Admittedly, this author is not a fan of The Professor, but I’m not a hater, either. The dude’s got style, he’s great with his fans, and he’s been a big part of the not-your-dad’s-PGA image that’s capturing the attention of younger generations. DeChambeau is good for golf, no doubt. I’m not a fan simply because I can’t relate to “the scientific method” approach he uses for the game — show me one average golfer making gains by measuring the barometric pressure and carrying around a protractor. Oftentimes I find it annoying. But he’s not called “The Scientist” for nothing, and he owns it.
What DeChambeau may not be calculating, though, is the power of his celebrity.
Before the buzz of Sergio’s epic bunker meltdown and subsequent disqualification from the Saudi International earlier this month had died down, cameras caught DeChambeau swinging his club in frustration and taking a chunk of turf from the lip of a bunker at Rivera last weekend.
Heat of the moment, yeah; emotional player, who isn’t? No harm, no foul.
But the cameras were at work again at the WGC Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chepultepec — Bryson, there’s ALWAYS a camera somewhere — catching DeChambeau slamming his putter into the practice green before promptly fixing the damage (and unbeknownst to Rich Beem who was being interviewed by Sky Sports).
“I want to apologize to my fans, fellow players and the staff at Chapultepec for my actions following the round yesterday,” DeChambeau said Friday. “I am an extremely passionate player and I am always working on ways to be better. I am certainly not perfect but I respect the grounds staff and the game of golf and am focused on working harder on this just like I do on my golf game.”
(DeChambeau’s frustrations continued Friday with a +2 73 in the second round, 17 strokes behind leader Dustin Johnson going into Saturday’s round.)
Airing one’s frustrations on a global stage is one thing, but DeChambeau’s approach to the game — his signature — has slowly crept its way into the seemingly everlasting pace of play controversy, and it’s an even worse look. Players and fans are growing more and more frustrated with undeniably slow play on the Tour, and estimating the amount of dew between the ball and the club face, or whatever, during your pre shot routine isn’t going to help you with that argument.
“I think that anyone that has issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do,” DeChambeau said after video surfaced of him working calculations during his pre shot routine during a European Tour event.
That stance won’t work for very long. J.B. Holmes offers the same kind of rebut to critics of his slow play, as do others, and while their names may not be DeChambeau, and they haven’t been officially penalized for it yet, slow play is slow play. The Tour is running out of good excuses for its rampant pace issues, and with a rise in demand for change, you better believe it’ll be looking to make an example out of someone. Being the most famous offender may not be a good thing when that time comes.
Fortunately for DeChambeau, his star status remains strong enough to keep earning him a pass — J.B. Holmes and Sergio are the current poster boys for related issues — but the underlying issues are still there. If DeChambeau’s not careful, his unquestionable celebrity status could be used to redefined him by his less desirable qualities when all is said and done, and that’s much worse than any three putt.
The Big Cat made his professional debut in Mexico this week, and the storylines are aplenty. But in a Wednesday press conference, Woods brought up an oft overlooked variable courses like Club De Golf Chapultepec present: high altitude ball flight.
“It’s a challenge,” Woods said. “I hit a couple shots with a wedge on the course [Tuesday] that flew 180. On Sunday [at Riviera], I hit a 5-iron from 171.”
See the full press conference here (his 180 yard wedge comments come at 17:00):
That’s, uh, impressive, for sure — and he’s probably not lying.
From an average golfer’s perspective, the same golf.com piece — which also discusses the effect temperature has on ball flight — offers a Chapultepac-specific example:
“Let’s say you’re the same guy who usually carries the ball a respectable 250 yards in 70-degree conditions at sea level, on a calm day. … in 90-degree heat and its overall elevation hovering around 7,000 feet above sea level, and that same 250-yard drive will now fly about 270 yards.”
20 added yards of carry? Yeah, science!
CGB is headquartered just over 6,000 feet above sea level, at the foot of Pikes Peak, and we can attest to the joys of boosted ball flight. Unlike Woods, though, our struggle is figuring out how far the ball is going when we aren’t at altitude, and the results are often demoralizing. After a number of humiliating rounds, we’ve adopted a 2-club rule when playing at sea level: take the club you’d normally play, and club up twice for full swings. This rule is anything but scientific (sorry, Bryson) — and obviously doesn’t apply when you find yourself at, say, 3 or 4,000 feet — but it’s been a good starting point for us to plan shots at different altitudes.
For the amateur golf world, if you’ve never seen your ball soar effortlessly through the thin air at high altitude, you’re missing out — talk about golf porn. Most of us probably won’t be roping 180 yard wedges anytime soon, but with a little help from atmospheric pressure, it’s nice to know it’s plausible.
The PGA Tour suffered an early, downright no good, really bad week — and it’s its own fault.
The bad vibes started when Mayacoba Classic winner Matt Kuchar’s compensation for fill-in caddie David Ortiz came to light. Of Kuchar’s $1.2 million purse, Ortiz had requested $50,000 — caddies are often paid more for top-10 finishes — but Kuchar paid him $5,000. Though technically Kuchar did pay Ortiz a bonus, telling golf.com the two had originally agreed to $3,000 to $4,000, the payment caught the attention of social media (and you know how that goes).
It didn’t take long for Kuchar to flip his script and apologize to Ortiz, paying him the full $50,000 requested and making a charitable donation to Mayacopa Classic charities — and saving a some face in the process. In hindsight, a minor blemish in an otherwise good start to the season.
Later in the week, with fewer “KOOOOCH” cheers and little more heckling, the attention had shifted to the Genesis Open, but the Tour’s bad week was just getting started. After a tortuous 5.5 hour round and a disastrous finish from Justin Thomas, J.B. Holmes hoisted the trophy for his fifth Tour victory.
No one cared about Holmes’ win. Instead, the Tour found itself in the crosshairs for its rampant pace of play problems and apparent unwillingness to enforce the rules, and Holmes became the face of the issue.
Pace of play isn’t a new problem, and Holmes has never been known to play quickly. The difference now is the right people are voicing their frustration, and have the platforms to make sure a lot more people hear it.
Before the Genesis incident, Adam Scott joined the likes of Brooks Koepka and others in keeping the issue in the headlines, going as far as volunteering to be penalized for slow play so the Tour can set a precedent.
“I think that anyone that has issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do,” DeChambeau said.
It’s easier for the “The Scientist” to get a pass for his slow play as he’s established himself a fan favorite, but while Holmes brushes off his slow play as well, he doesn’t share the same distinction.
Unfortunately for the Tour his ugly win combined with the growing backlash created a shit-storm large enough to cast a shadow on the otherwise fun Genesis Open weekend. What’s worse for the Tour: this is a controversy that won’t go away until it actually starts enforcing the rules.
In the same interview Scott said real change won’t happen until tv sponsors step in and that “it’s a waste of time” talking about it. But that’s where he may be wrong.
Yes, sports leagues answer to tv and money contracts. But tv broadcasts, in the long run, answer to the viewers tuning in to see the players play, and talk about playing. Now, with more of the world’s best players speaking out publicly, and more often, the Tour won’t be able to hide from the problem anymore, and let’s hope that means it’s just a matter of time before it does something about it.
TRUE Linkswear has a simple ask: Enjoy the walk. And they’ve made it extremely easy.
To say the 10 year-old company is making the best golf shoes money can buy may be bold enough, but I’ll take it one step further and say TRUE Links is also making the best lifestyle shoes money can buy.
I’m not lying, but first I’ll make our case for them on the course.
We were first introduced to the TRUE Originals ($149) and the TRUE Outsiders ($139) two years ago when they graciously sent a few pairs to the CGB headquarters. Both lines tout casual yet athletic designs — clean lines and simple, tasteful features, and just the right amount of edge — but the performance of the shoes is what’s most evident at first look.
Set atop the company’s signature cross life rubber tread is beautiful full grain waterproof leather, layered with a waterproofed Symptax bootie, and coated with a water repelling “system.” All this is to say that, according to the companies website, TRUEs are the highest performing waterproof shoes in the game. The company backs that claim up with a 2-year waterproof guarantee — depending on the model — but they may be selling themselves short.
(For those curious and or concerned about where TRUE’s waterproofing products are sourced, the company places a high priority on health and environmental safety. See this page for more details.)
Colorado can’t compare to the sogginess of the Pacific Northwest, where TRUE Links was born, but we do have a fair share of elements to deal with on the course all year round. A little more than 2 years in, and after countless rounds in rain, sleet, snow, ice, mud and everything else, our TRUEs are still going strong. Aside from the nicks and creases that come with normal wear and tear my Outsiders perform like new, keeping my feet dry, and happy.
The comfort level is off the charts, mainly due to the wide base sole that lets your arches and toes spread out naturally as you step and swing — particularly important for those of us with wider feet — and the foot-conforming inserts have only gotten more comfortable over time. The sturdy tread proves reliable no matter how wet and slippery the conditions, and moves like tennis or hiking shoes. Strolls down the fairway aren’t interrupted by any rubbing, pinching or other discomforts either. You truly couldn’t ask for more from a golf shoe on the course.
To many, though, golf is more than a game; it’s a lifestyle. It only makes sense a golf shoe company would deliver a product built for the grind on and off the course.
We live an active lifestyle off the course — hiking, skiing, camping, sports, etc. — so the TRUE Outsiders and Originals remain a go-to for worry free footwear. My pair is a must for trips to the creek at the local dog park (where the 2-year waterproof test for this review occurred). No matter how much mud and gunk I traipse through, a simple rinse with a damp rag and these shoes and ready to go again.
Other times, though, something a little more relaxed is in order. That’s a perfect time to bring out the TRUE Knits. The Knits’ ($129) design is more in the casual sportswear realm, meaning high points in performance can still be expected on and off the course, and they’re a perfect tennis shoe substitute. Clearly, the Knits are not waterproof, but the polyester material does keep your feet dry in dew-like conditions — and talk about ventilation.
The Knits are effortlessly cool. The design is sleek and sublet at first glimpse, but a closer look reveals a classic wingtip pattern formed into the beautiful material. On more than one occasion I’ve taken my Knits from a business meeting straight to the tee box, and never fail to earn some compliments along the way.
TRUE OG Premium
The TRUE OG Premium ($179) is the company’s latest release. While we have yet to get our hands on them — or feet in them, if you will — the OGP may the best TRUE shoe yet. As noted in the product description, it’s basically the Original design wrapped in a ultra premium vintage brown leather. Given TRUE’s performance track record and the stunning design, the OGP went to the top of our 2019 wishlist immediately.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, know that we have nothing negative to say about TRUE Linkswear’s offerings (except wishing there were even more lines to shop from). With unmatched performance, unquestionable style, and the highest quality materials, TRUE Links is making the best golf and lifestyle shoes. And that’s no lie.
When CGB got an invite from The Country Club of Colorado to try GolfBoards, we could barely contain our excitement. We had all seen the promo videos, but we we also heard some horror stories, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. In the pro shop we learned there was a training video and liability waiver we’d have to sign prior to taking them out on the course, but that wasn’t about to stop us from the prospect of shredding down the manicured fairways of C.C.C. on these things. (We ended up skipping the video, by the way — safety first!)
The GolfBoard setup is brilliantly simple: a wide board platform — a little bigger than your average mountain board — mounted on two axels and four sturdy tires. A large handle bar is fixed to the front of the board with forward/reverse and speed controls (high or low), a very basic cupholder, and bag straps on the front for weight distribution, but the handlebar is not used for steering. The steering mechanism is controlled by moving the board platform itself, much like snowboarding’s toe and heel turns. The sturdy build gives you confidence in the machine’s durability, and the wheels and tires prove capable of handling most any course landscape like your standard golf cart.
When we first laid eyes on the GolfBoard in person, though, there was definite hesitation. I’m not sure why I thought differently, but the boards are a lot bigger than what I expected, and seeing the attendant trying to maneuver the thing out of the cart barn hinted that this wasn’t going to be a get-on-and-go kind of situation.
After some peer pressure and not wanting to disappoint our hosts, the first ride was a quick circle in front of the pro shop. But it wasn’t quick if you include all the stop and gos, awkward bailouts and near crashes.
These things are heavy. At 165 pounds, I’d venture to say I’m pretty close to the same weight of a GolfBoard itself, or less, and even as a veteran snowboarder I had a lot of trouble maneuvering it at low speeds, especially on pavement. Turning radius wasn’t on my mind at all until I was actually standing on the board, and it takes some getting used to the fact that they basically have none — seriously, You’ll make sharper turns in a club cart. I also struggled to keep myself from trying to rely on the handle to steer like a scooter.
Truth be told, the majority of our foursome grew skeptical of the boards after our short jaunt in front of the pro shop, so our videographer, Dave, was assigned to take the only one we had off the first tee. A couple holes in, though, it was clear our test rides were far from the actual GolfBoard experience. Watching Dave tear down the no.1 and 2 fairways quickly had us all itching for a turn.
These things haul down the fairways and rough on the high speed setting — and it’s incredible how much easier it is to maneuver them on turf. The smooth ride is ridiculously fun, and makes it hard to focus on your shot planning when all you can think about is getting back on the board and pulling the throttle back. The good times only slow down again moving between greens and tee boxes — basically anytime you’re on pavement or making turns of any kind.
It’s is easy to feel like you’re losing control of the board and not know how to react when things get dicey at-speed. From my personal experience I can tell you: Just bail off the board, safely, and let the automatic brake stop the it before something catastrophic happens to one or both of you.
By the time each of us had a turn on the board we were hooked. After a round of 18 C.C.C. was gracious enough to offer our group another 9, with 3 more GolfBoards, and we couldn’t say no.
With each of us equipped with a board one thing became abundantly clear: enjoying this kind of thrill while playing the game we love is one thing, but GolfBoards enable an incredible pace of play when playing ready golf. After our foursome’s first 18 with one board and two carts — coming in at just over 3.5ish hours — we made quick work of the pristine back 9 with the 4 boards, in just under an hour and a half (including plenty of time “testing” the product.)
GolfBoards are available in several makes and models for retail — with accessories available — but with a high price point you’re better off getting your kicks at a “showcase” course. GolfBoard makes it easy with a nationwide GolfBoard course finder.
In all, the GolfBoard delivers an exciting, one-of-a-kind experience to add to what we love about the sport of golf. It’s an icing on the cake product with the added benefit of faster pace of play and a roaring good time. It’s damn near impossible not to have fun when you’re cruising fairways on one of these, and fun is what this game is all about.