Why Bryson DeChambeau uses a compass when reading greens
Golf Culture

Why Bryson DeChambeau uses a compass when reading greens

Bryson DeChambeau is a scientist. You know that. He figures out distances with calculations us heathens can only imagine, accounting for wind, barometric pressure, humidity, the earth's rotational axis and more. (Not sure how much of that is accurate, but you get the idea.)

Unlike a lot of players on the PGA Tour and in the pro game, DeChambeau uses something extra in figuring out putts and chips around the greens. Yes, he uses a green book, which has topographically accurate maps of the putting surfaces, but he also occasionally uses a compass -- not a protractor and not the kind of compass which shows direction -- to help map out shots. DeChambeau used a compass in view of CBS cameras at the 2018 Travelers Championship.

DeChambeau's compass can give him a starting point for where he might hit a shot or putt, then use the radius of the compass to help him draw a partial circle to give him an idea of where to land the ball and what might happen in his shot at the point he intends to land it. Will the ball land on an upslope, downslope or flat portion? How quickly will it run out at that point?

Of course, DeChambeau has to work at scale, but he's got that figured out. And it can give him a way of taking pin sheet information and putting it to work for him on green book schematics.

DeChambeau, who has two PGA Tour wins including the 2018 Memorial, said he likes to blend feel and data to his benefit.

"It's not necessarily that the technique is what overwhelms the feel -- it's not necessarily about that. It's only an additive, something that aids in my feel," he said. "And as they start meshing together and better and better it's a system that works beautifully."

The skeptics think DeChambeau is just trolling golf at this point, whipping out circle-drawing devices you probably haven't used since high-school geometry class. However, DeChambeau believes in his methods, and his commitment is why he's been successful.

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