Four years ago, Bryson DeChambeau was looking to elevate his golf game and Mike Schy thought he had just the tool.
So the Riverbend Golf Club teaching pro handed DeChambeau, then a Clovis East freshman, a copy of “The Golfing Machine.”
In layman’s terms, the Homer Kelley-penned book — which DeChambeau said reads like a college engineering textbook — breaks down the different ways to hit a golf ball.And while DeChambeau admitted it took him around a year to completely comprehend “The Golfing Machine,” he credits the book for giving him the knowledge needed to blossom into one of the area’s most consistently low-scoring golfers.
DeChambeau’s standout four-year career was highlighted by a victory May 30 at the CIF Southern California Championships, where he fired a 6-under 66 at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena for a one-stroke victory to become the first golfer from the Central Section to win a SoCal title.
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“I’ve always been a guy who wants to understand things,” said DeChambeau, The Bee’s Boys Golfer of the Year who went on to tie for ninth at the State Championships with a 72.
“(The book) really piqued my interest. I wanted to become this technician and a consistent player. ‘The Golfing Machine’ helped get me there. It’s been an influential book in my life that I’ll never forget.”
DeChambeau spent much of his sophomore and junior seasons working on the concepts he read in “The Golfing Machine” to perfect his swing, hoping to even out the inconsistencies that would see him occasionally shoot a 69 one day and a 79 the next.This year, with a consistent swing and clubs that were fit just right, DeChambeau found that consistency.
He earned Tri-River Athletic Conference MVP honors after posting the lowest scoring average in the 10 years coaches have been keeping the stat at 69.4 strokes per 18-hole round.
The Southern Methodist-bound senior also recorded his best-ever placing at the Central Section Individual Tournament, finishing in a tie for third at even 72.
“There are a bunch of different ways to hit a golf ball, but the book explained the most efficient ways to hit it,” DeChambeau said. “From there, I worked my butt off to achieve those swing patterns. And when I was able to do that, it took my game to a new level.”
Clovis East coach Gary Giannoni enjoyed watching the development of DeChambeau, who as a freshman placed second at the North Area tournament before finishing fifth at the section tournament to earn the first of his three SoCal Championship berths.
As a sophomore, DeChambeau won the North Area title, placed fourth in the section individual tournament and qualified for SoCal. As a junior, he failed to reach the SoCal Championships after losing a tiebreaker after finishing in a tie for ninth at the section individual tourney.
“Bryson is a fierce competitor with a pure swing. His mathematical insight to the physics of golf is astounding and unrivaled,” Giannoni said. “I don’t believe that I will ever have the privilege of coaching someone of Bryson’s caliber (again) in my lifetime. He was made for golf.”
The SoCal Championships was the only missing major title of DeChambeau’s high school career after excelling on the amateur stage at the local (past Fresno City and Fresno County amateur champ), state (second at the California State Amateur in 2011) and national (U.S. amateur Championships qualifier in 2011) levels.
He opened the SoCal Championships with birdies on three of his first four holes and never looked back.
“I knew I was playing some pretty good golf coming in,” DeChambeau said. “I just had to make some adjustments to my putting and I felt I’d be right there. When I made some birdies early on, I knew it would be a great day.”
He’s qualified because: The Southern Methodist recruit became the first golfer from the Central Section to win the CIF Southern California Championship tournament, shooting a 6-under 66 at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena. Was MVP of the Tri-River Athletic Conference with a league-record 69.4 scoring average, followed by a tie for third place finish at the Central Section Individual Tournament (72) and a tie for ninth place at the State Championships (72).