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Why size matters as it pertains to distance


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Excuse my ignorance but why are folks putting alot of stock in the added bulk of Bryson? How does that size translate to ball speed? I know the height and length of a player matters but confused on why size matters. I take a Cameron Champ for example. He is long and lanky but still pounds the ball. I'm a fairly muscular guy by golf standards and find that being this muscular can sometimes take away from my flexibility. Thanks for educating a poor sap like me.

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I think people are just seeing Bryson's bulk and are tripping out on it. I find it interesting because I'm built similar. I've always been pretty strong and bulky. But, it hasn't translated into any golf prowess. The difference is that Bryson is an elite golfer (as opposed to a weekend warrior hacker like me). He could get thick like an olympic HW powerlifter and probably still be competitive. I just think people are fixating on his transformation. They need to calm down. This guy's efforts should be appreciated, To answer your question: Bryson certainly took a very analytical approach to his bulking up - incorporating speed work, lots of mobility too. Very few people that thick are anywhere near being able to take the club parallel at the top. And, he was starting from the point of effective swing mechanics.

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It is my understanding that the added size/muscle will allow his body to swing at higher speeds without as much risk to injury. If all of a sudden I gained 20mph club speed, I would injure my back/hip/neck/shoulder/knee after one range bucket because my frame has not been trained to support that force. Bryson is training his body to support the new speed he is gaining

Who's body looks like it will hold up at high speed for a long time, Bryson or Akshay? My money is on Akshay being seriously injured before he's 25. Joints/ligaments/tendons have little support

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Totally agree. Larger frame/mass supports heavier load/force. We find examples of this in every day life, such as heavy duty vehicles, firearms, even the furniture we sit on. So, with the skill level he has already achieved, a larger body mass supports his ability to really go after it. Eventually, the law of diminishing returns will apply, as it may have already with players like Rory and Tiger, who have both dropped some mass in the last year or two.

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I'm not sure Newton's Second Law applies here. Bryson's mass is not applied as a force. His added size and longer backswing has allowed him to gain more clubhead speed. More clubhead speed has resulted in more distance. Maybe his added strength allows him to control the club at greater speed, but just being big and strong does not automatically result in more speed.

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See, you said “strength”. Not size. Look at BK, guy now benches 225 for 14. But he gained a measured amount of muscle weight to correspond to the strength gains. And this has been over the course of years.

 

Strength gains is a lower rep range than hypertrophy/size gains.

 

There is no advantage to gaining 30 pounds of fat. Unless you’re a across the line of scrimmage from a guy who weighs 30 pounds more than you do.

 

The strength training, the speed training, the new driver set up, swinging harder. All good.

 

Gaining 45 pounds and 30 pounds of fat, don’t see how this helps for golf. But, a bulk and cut would be something a bodybuilder would do to gain mass, then shred, so they can look good. Nothing wrong with that either ; )

 

 

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There are many different ways to hit the ball a long way. A taller, lankier player can generate a lot of speed by creating a wider swing arc giving the clubhead more time to generate speed before impact. A stockier player like Jon Rahm takes a really small back swing but has so much lower body power to hit the ball far. Other than size, Bryson is swinging with the same swing philosophy he's had since becoming a pro so he must feel that in order to maximize distance for the way he swings that he needed to add mass. He also seems very data driven so I could see him gather his stats with his new frame and then if he isn't getting the results he wants dial it back to find a happy medium.

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Take a look at the "Big Break Theory". Summed up, it says "You will only accelerate to the point of which your body knows you can safely decelerate. Therefore, the stronger and faster your decelerators are, the faster you can develop your accelerators."

Increased strength will allow you to improve the amount of force your decelerators can handle (i.e. injury resilience). Speed training (e.g. Superspeed) will allow you to improve both the rate at which you can fire your accelerators and decelerators.

Your brain has a governor, if you will, built into it that restricts how fast you can move to protect itself around injury. If you just exclusively do strength training (at least for muscles relevant to the golf swing), you will increase your potential to move faster without injury, but without actually training yourself to move faster, your brain might never alter the governor and you don't really end up moving faster.

This is where speed training comes into play. The point of speed training is to alter your brain's governor to allow you to actually move faster. When you do speed training on your dominant side (i.e. right handed swings for a right-handed golfer), you are training your accelerator muscles to fire faster. When you do speed training on your non-dominant side (e.g. left-handed swings for a right-handed golfer) you are training your decelerators to fire faster. However, if you only do speed training (and not strength training), it's possible you might go beyond your ability to safely decelerate, which could result in injury. On the other hand, if you have enough strength, you will be able to alter your governor without a significant injury risk.

Note that I also used the term strength instead of mass or size, which I think is an important distinction when someone talks about a golfer putting on "mass" for distance. If someone puts on 20 pounds of fat and 0 lbs of muscle, you aren't getting stronger. Now your body needs to stop that extra 20 lbs of fat in the swing -- so now you need to stop that extra 20 lbs of mass without any added ability to stop that mass. You arguably are (relatively speaking) weaker when you put on 20lbs of fat.

On the other hand, let's say someone puts on 5 lbs of muscle and 15 lbs of fat*, that still means they need to stop that extra 20lbs of mass. However, that extra muscle allows that same person to stop that extra mass. So even though they still need to stop 15 extra pounds of fat, they are still more resilient to injury because the added muscle can handle it. Generally speaking, it's almost impossible to naturally build muscle without also gaining fat. So even if someone adds more fat than muscle, it's not necessarily an added injury risk as long as the new strength is able to handle the extra mass.

* I just used this as an example since everyone is commenting on the fat that Bryson also seemingly put on. I don't know off-hand what a "good" and/or "realistic" muscle-to-fat ratio would be. But my point still stands as long as that ratio makes you "stronger" overall.

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I like your "governor" analogy. Anyone who has ever tried to play a round of golf with an injury, particularly the back, can relate to this. You just don't move the same. Also believe it is why many ams struggle with lessons as they are told to do things they just can't physically do, or their "governor" won't allow them to do.

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I guess I keep going back to how one leverages strength to increase speed. By what has been mentioned shouldn't baseball pitchers be lifting (gaining more muscle) to increase strength? I always thought if you were longer, lankier, and more flexible then you were able to have a wider swing arc allowing for the opportunity for increased speed.

 

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I remember seeing Dave stewart when I was young...

u could see his calf muscles thru the polyester uniform...

 

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Exactly this and I think it was part of longer term plan for BD as he returns to Golf. Say he put on 10 lbs of muscle and 15 lbs of fat. Studies show that during a cutting phase you can maintain most of your muscle mass by continuing to lift. This is even more true if you lose the weight do to increase in exercise to attain a calorie deficit instead of eating less. If BD maintains or slightly lowers his eating habits but now hes adding in 6 rounds of golf a week plus his regular workout/range routine the added fat will melt away over the course of the season and he will be absolutely shredded because of it. The real question is can he maintain energy levels at the same eating habits, if he requires more food he will stay a chonker which isn't necessarily a bad thing if he's still playing well.

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Good grief. Has anyone on this thread ever watched a long drive event?

 

The stronger a person is, as long as they maintain decent flexibility and mechanics, the faster they can swing a golf club. the faster you swing a club the farther the ball goes.

 

Its incredibly simple. Look at baseball. Stronger guys Swing a bat faster and hit the ball farther....Hence the steroid debacle.

 

Im guessing steroids Will be a topic of conversation in golf once everyone Finally realizes distance makes the game easier.

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Kyle Berkshire in his Callaway talking distance video with Phil Mickelson talked about how he was the only guy under 230 lbs to make the final 16 at long drive worlds. His and Sadlowski’s long drive swings appear to be nearly “maxed out” in terms of body rotation, length of club travel, separation of segments, ground reaction forces, etc. while some of the 230+ pounders swings aren’t nearly as optimal for long drive golf but are still muscling it 400+ yards.

Similar to how Ken Griffey Jr. swung the bat vs. Bonds/McGwire to produce homers.

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I don't think you can break it down to an either/or issue. For any athletic venture. Certain body types are going to respond differently to different training regimes. Dennis Eckersley and Randy Johnson were long, lanky types. Roger Clemens and C.C. Sabathia were more of a large, bulky frame. All still got it done. I don't think golfers like Justin Thomas or Rickie Fowler would do well doing what Dechambeau has done.

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Yes, a taller person with good mobility has a higher distance potential -- assuming the same ability to accelerate/decelerate and the same efficiency of the motion. DJ has an advantage over Rory on body type alone, but Rory can overcome that with firing his muscles faster (faster acceleration/deceleration) and/or more efficiency in his technique.

Similarly, most amateurs will see substantial distance gains by improving their efficiency without ever needing to spend time in the gym. Honestly for most ams looking to hit the ball further, unless you already have a technically sound swing, getting lessons and making your swing more efficient is the easiest way to get gain distance.

There is another theory that there is a "speed window" between puberty and sometime in your late-teens/early 20s in which you can quickly make huge speed gains. If a shorter person learns to swing fast in this speed window, and a taller person doesn't, there is a good chance the shorter person (provided they continue to play) will still be longer than the taller person no matter how hard the taller person works as an adult. That's one of the reasons so many junior golf instructors teach their students to hit the ball as far as possible, then try to straighten them out later.

I'm not going to try to answer the pitching question regarding strength training since I don't know the enough about the debates surrounding how pitchers should train.

 

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Of course he got stronger. I mean, I hope so, he hired this expert trainer, right? ; ) But out of the 45 pounds, 30 was fat.

But BD said his weight gain, at least the last 20 pounds did not factor into distance gains. It was the “speed training” he did. He says himself,

 

“I’ve upped about 20 pounds,” he said after his opening round 65 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

“It doesn’t mean I’m going to hit it farther, but I’ve done a lot of speed training to attain these new ball speeds.”

 

 

It’s very strange but, he did accomplish his stated goals: gain a lot of weight and hit it farther.

 

As far as linebackers and comparisons to BD and Tiger Woods and linebackers. There are none.

In football terms relative to golf, Tiger is Lawrence Taylor and BD is like Uncle Rico ; )

 

 

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When I see little dudes try to get distance, it often seems to involve some kind of workaround - a ballerina dance, a jump, a contortion, an over-length setup...whatever. I see bigger guys doing this less. A little more muscle, a little more weight...perhaps these equal more stability and can help support the speed training.

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From a physics standpoint stronger muscles can create more clubhead speed. Any added mass to many of the moving parts of the swing would reduce reduce the clubhead speed, but can of course can be overidden if the addtional force from the added muscle strength overrides it.

Also, TW more or less regretted putting on so much upper body mass no doubt due to his back injuries. A larger rotating/moving mass will stress the structural elements involved. For example, if you drop a dragster engine in a normal car what would happen to the drivetrain/rear differential?

I like Bryson but he has a very young man's swing that might carry him into his early 30's. If he wants more speed he should look at Bubba Watson's swing as an example, who in my opinion has among the most efficient swings I have seen.

 

 

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