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How to add muscle and gain more distance than Bryson



GolfWRX recently asked me to write a perspective piece on Bryson DeChambeau’s newly bulked up body and increased distance off the tee because, if you were to play “guess the golfer,” I’d say most people would guess this is Bryson and not me

  • Lived in California and has family in Fresno
  • Has a science background from college
  • Wore a flat cap as part of his golf style
  • Plays single length irons
  • Shot a low round of 64
  • Added 23 pounds of muscle in 12 weeks
  • Added 37 mph of clubhead speed in 47 days
  • Hit competitive longest drive of 421 yards

What a strange amount of similarities! So, who better to give you outside perspective than someone who has both gained a lot of muscle rapidly and also quickly added a massive amount of distance?

Since I haven’t recently communicated with anyone from Bryson’s team, I figure the most useful thing I can do for you with this piece is to tell you what I personally did to achieve such results and how I’ve helped other golfers do the same through Swing Man Golf.

How to Add Lots of Muscle Rapidly

The above transformation was done in 2002 over 12 weeks.

I started the transformation weighing 208 pounds, and, over the course of those three months, I dropped 27 pounds of fat and added 23 pounds of muscle. Although I ended up only losing 4 pounds overall, finishing at 204 pounds, you can see the dramatic difference in the muscle makeup of my body. I added nearly 2 pounds of muscle per week…without steroid use!

There are several key take-a-ways for how to do this.

First, you need to do strength training.

For this transformation, I had originally set out to lift weights six days per week, but with being busy with my computer engineering job and life in general, I actually ended up averaging only four days per week. I never worked out in any individual session for more than an hour. To give each area time to recover, I divided up my workouts into a schedule like this:

  • Workout 1 – Chest/Triceps/Obliques
  • Workout 2 – Back/Biceps/Abs
  • Workout 3 – Legs/Lower Back

You don’t have to use this one specifically. There are a variety of workout cycles you can do that will be effective. You could work out your entire body all at once and repeat that a couple of times per week. Or you could do a 2-day schedule of push vs pull or upper vs lower body exercises followed by an off day and then repeating the cycle. What you do can really be tailored to your goals and lifestyle.

Whichever you choose, remember to give each body part at least two days of rest before you hit that body part hard again. As long as you repeat the workout again without seven days, you should be able to continue to make small gains each session without getting too sore.

As far as reps go, for the transformation, I would do a set of 12 reps for warmup with a weight that felt pretty safe and easy. I would follow that with a weight that would be tough to do 10 times, then a weight that I could get eight reps out of, followed by a set in which I could do six reps. At any point in which I could exceed that amount of reps in any set, I added more weight.

In hindsight, I didn’t really need to do that many reps. Anytime, when I am in a phase where I’m lifting and getting back in the gym, I typically only work with 3-4 sets of 2 reps for a particular exercise, with the same idea of adding weight whenever possible from workout to workout.

With patience and persistence, it’s just a matter of time before you get a lot stronger (and bigger if that’s what you are going for). When I was last training my half squat for golf in 2017, I recall I had worked up to 725 pounds. This would have sounded unbelievable to the kid that first stepped in a weight room in high school and had trouble squatting 95 pounds.

But, like me, you can do it if you hang in there.

Second, work was required in the kitchen.

To build muscle, you need to get enough protein. For my 12-week transformation photo, I was taking 1 gram of protein per day per pound of body weight. For me, this ended up being a little over 200 grams of protein per day. I’ve since learned that for me I don’t need that much. As long as I’m getting about 0.5 grams, that’s enough for my body to make muscle and strength gains. You can test on yourself, but the point is you’ll need to make sure you get enough protein.

If you want to actually cut fat while you are adding muscle, at a higher level, the way bodybuilders do that is to cut their fat and carbohydrate calories down to the point that they are in a slight overall caloric deficit. I know from tracking my calories with MyFitnessPal and previously using an activity tracker like a WHOOP strap that, at my size, I’ll burn nearly 3000 calories simply by existing so, if I stay below that 3000 net mark each day over time, the fat weight leaks off.

I would caution against going too low in your calories. You can test for yourself, but for me when I go below 1,200 calories per day, I get really irritable, and I lose fat weight so quickly that my skin doesn’t have time to adjust and I’ll get stretch marks. 1,600-1,800 for me, is more doable without feeling too crazy. Plus, my skin can handle that level of adjustment. In the low 2,000s is much more comfortable, but it does take additional time and patience to drop the fat weight.

You can break your daily calories up however is effective for you. My 12-week transformation was done with the old “6 smaller meals per day” strategy. I didn’t like it, though. I never felt satisfied and it made it difficult to go out to eat with friends. I much prefer condensing all my calories into two larger meals with maybe another smaller snack during a fat cut.

Of course, real whole foods are better for you and will help your body recover more quickly and make more rapid gains. You don’t have to be perfect every day though. Just get your protein and keep your overall daily calorie average for the week or month in a relatively consistent deficit.

Supplement-wise, the most effective for muscle gains (and also adding swing speed) is creatine. You can find that online or at most supplement stores.

Beyond that, stay hydrated to recover and make the fastest gains. A lot of times, people also think they are hungry, but they really just need water. I try to get hydrated first thing in the morning, before all meals (which also helps me eat less), and near bedtime.

Create a good sleeping environment and get lots of sleep too. That’s also important for recovery, making the gains, and preventing injury. Through sleep trackers, I’ve found I need to be in bed about 9 hours to get sufficient sleep and feel fully rested. Whatever amount you need, if you wake up to an alarm, just go to bed early enough that you naturally wake up right before your alarm and you’ll be good to go.

How to Quickly Hit It Longer Through Golf Fitness

As for gaining a lot of distance quickly, through the 2020 PGA Championship, Bryson’s driving distance average is about 20 yards longer than last season. He’s also reportedly put on over 40 pounds. You might think that you need to work hard over the better part of a year to bulk up like he has to gain any appreciable amount of distance through golf fitness, but this is actually not the case.

In fact, it’s relatively easy to add 30-40 yards in only a month without really changing your body weight at all.

I’ve written about how to do this before for GolfWRX. Rather than reiterate what I’ve already said, I’ll just point you to a few key articles.

Beyond that, if you are even more serious, read ‘More Distance for Golf (Part 3): Long Drive Fitness’ or take a look at the swing speed training programs available at Swing Man Golf…as well as the certification program if you happen to be a pro or trainer interested in learning more while at the same time picking up some continuing education credits.

Adding new muscle and achieving massive distance gains will take some elbow grease on your part, but fortunately not as much work as you may think. Plus, you’ll be pleased to find out you don’t actually need to add on a lot of extra body weight unless that happens to be one of your goals.

Enjoy and have fun hitting bombs!

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Jaacob Bowden is a Professional Golfer, PGA of America Class A Member, Top 100 Most Popular Teacher, Swing Speed Trainer, the original founder of Swing Man Golf, the creator of Sterling Irons® single length irons, and has caddied on the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS. Two of his articles for GolfWRX are the two most viewed of all time. Formerly an average-length hitting 14-handicap computer engineer, Jaacob quit his job, took his savings and moved from Kansas to California to pursue a golf career at age 27. He has since won the Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a televised 381-yard drive, won multiple qualifiers for the World Long Drive Championships including a 421-yard grid record drive, made cuts in numerous tournaments around the world with rounds in the 60s and 70s, and finished fifth at the Speed Golf World Championships at Bandon Dunes. Jaacob also shot the championship record for golf score with a 72 in 55 minutes and 42 seconds using only 6 clubs. The Swing Man Golf website has helped millions of golfers and focuses primarily on swing speed training. Typically, Jaacob’s amateur golfers and tour players pick up 12-16 mph of driver swing speed in the first 30 days of basic speed training. You can learn more about Jaacob, Swing Man Golf, and Sterling Irons® here: Websites – & &; Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf & @SterlingIrons; Facebook – & & <; Instagram - YouTube – – Millions of views!!!



  1. Pingback: Average Golf Swing Speed Chart | Swing Man Golf

  2. Brandon

    May 23, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    My apologies. Started playing golf is the last year and regularly go to the gym. I was interested in your article until you claimed the amount of “muscle” gained in 12 weeks. You may have added 23 pounds of weight (possible to do). However, there isn’t any way you added 23 pounds of muscle! I immediately lost interest in the article after that claim. I don’t dispute any of you distance claims, they are impressive, but please be accurate when providing information to people who simple want to increase their driving distance off the tee.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Dec 15, 2021 at 11:29 am

      Hi Brandon,

      I originally went to school to be a pharmacist, which means I’ve had a lot of coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, physics, statistics, etc. That’s also meant a lot of lab work and learning how to run experiments and isolating variables. I’ve also previously worked as a personal trainer.

      I’ve used the same Slim Guide body fat calipers from creative health solutions for at least 19 years…and I always weigh myself in the same way (go to bed hydrated, wake up in the morning, and weigh in on the same scale each time after going to the bathroom, without clothes, and before I shower).

      Statistically speaking, it is true that I am an isolated person. I also happen to be gifted with athleticism, strength, and the ability to build strength quickly with smart and hard work. As such, not everyone would get the same results as me.

      However, I can assure you that the info provided in the article is indeed accurate!

      If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me personally.

  3. Cal

    Aug 20, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    My thoughts exactly…the leading experts in the world say 3LBs lean muscle gain per month is phenomenal…

    This fraud is saying he did 23lbs of lean muscle naturally in 3 months on a caloric deficit.

    Not possible.

  4. Mark

    Aug 20, 2020 at 9:15 am

    It is genetically IMPOSSIBLE to add 23 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks. Complete nonsense which makes the rest of your article a lot less credible.

    • Cal

      Aug 20, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      My thoughts exactly…the leading experts in the world say 3LBs lean muscle gain per month is phenomenal…

      This fraud is saying he did 23lbs of lean muscle naturally in 3 months on a caloric deficit.

      Not possible.

      • Jaacob Bowden, PGA

        Dec 10, 2021 at 1:29 pm

        Hi Mark and Cal,

        As an industry expert, I can tell you that it is indeed genetically possible to naturally add 23 pounds of muscle in 12 weeks, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten those results.

        I would also say that it is good that you are questioning things because sometimes experts and published research are misleading and/or false. However, I don’t think calling me a fraud is helpful simply because you don’t believe the results.

        A better approach would have been to say, “Wow, that sounds amazing.” And then ask me how I did it to see what you might learn that is different and new.

        Please see my reply above to Brandon for additional insight.

  5. Cal

    Aug 20, 2020 at 9:05 am

    23LBs of muscle in 4 months operating at a caloric deficit = not possible without steroids/ TRT

    Even the most progressive muscle building studies out there show 2LBs of lean muscle per month as top end…please be honest with your readers.

  6. Jaacob Bowden

    Aug 19, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Take a look at the “Golf workouts at home for clubhead speed with PGA Pro Jaacob Bowden: Part 4.” article and video. For that one, you only need something to swing (like your driver), something to measure club head speed (you can get basic swing speed radars online for about $120), and some resistance bands which allow you to do personalized golf swing specific exercises to increase the strength of your swing over time. Do that workout, take 2-7 days off (depending on how much rest you feel like you need), and then repeat!

  7. Paul Runyan

    Aug 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Hi Jacob!

    Great article!! Years ago I talked to you and joined your training program. You asked me what Kind of athlete I had been earlier in life. A runner. Then asked me how I ran faster. I ran and trained faster! Now at 70. I still have a speed of over 100. I know I can do your program again and easily get to 110+.

    So, all the gyms are closed around here and I have a Total Gym, Swing Emulator (machine with a stack of weights up to 100 lbs) what would you recommend for seniors to maintain and increase speed without injury?

    The Swing Machine would be the same as your videos using bands in a static and dynamic state. Great machine!


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19th Hole

5 examples of how Lexi Thompson has been treated harsher than any of her peers



Following Lexi Thompson’s Solheim Cup post-round presser on Friday evening, the 28-year-old has been the topic of much discussion.

Golf pundits and fans alike have been weighing in with their takes after this exchange with a reporter surrounding an untimely shank on Friday afternoon went viral:

After the incident, LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez said that Lexi has “been picked on and drug through negative comments. She is tired of it”

So has the criticism of Lexi Thompson been justified, or is this yet another example of her being unfairly treated?

Well, here are five times, in my opinion, that Lexi has been scrutinized far differently over the years than her peers.

2022 KPMG PGA Championship

At the 2022 KPMG PGA Championship, Lexi Thompson held a two-stroke lead with three holes to play. She couldn’t close the deal and lost the tournament.

Afterwards, she was fined $2k (as were the rest of the group) for slow play.

Lexi declined to speak to the media and got hammered on social media for doing so…

Almost every golfer at some point has skipped a media session following disappointment on the course, and nobody has really batted an eyelid.

Tiger skipped back-to-back post-round media briefings at the 2019 WGC Mexico after being frustrated with his putting. Remember the backlash over that? Nah, me neither.

Donald Trump


Every (or nearly every) big-name golfer under the sun has played golf with Donald Trump. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy etc. Nobody really cared.

For whatever reason, when Lexi Thompson did, it was a story, and she took herself off social media soon after the photo was posted.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi)

2021 U.S. Women’s Open

In the final round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Lexi Thompson had a 6-foot eagle on her opening hole. She missed and made birdie to lead by five.

She then lost the tournament.

Following the round, Brandel Chamblee said on ‘Live From’:

“She’s got 6 feet away. Now professional golfers don’t miss the center of the face by a pinhead. Look where she hits this putt on the very 1st hole. Look where this putt comes off the face. She would have missed the center of the putter there by a half an inch. I have never — I have never — seen a professional golfer miss the center of the putter by a wider margin than that. That was at the 1st hole. “

Honest? Absolutely. Correct? Brandel usually is. Has any other LPGA golfer been handed the full-on Chamblee treatment? Not to my knowledge.

2023 Solheim Cup

Lexi Thompson spoke the words, “I don’t need to comment on that” when a reporter asked her about a failed shot, and the golf community collectively lost their minds.

Lost on many people is the fact that she literally answered the question instantly after.

Jessica Korda described the reporting of the awkward exchange with the media member as yet another example of the golf media shredding Lexi, but in reality, it was really just golf media covering the furore created by golf fans reacting to the viral clip.

Lexi then won her next two matches, collecting 3 points from 4 for the U.S. team. But nobody seems to care about that.


‘yOu ShoUlD PrAcTIce puTTinG’

There’s very few golfers that have been plagued with such inane posts on their Instagram page as Lexi Thompson has.

I’ve tracked golfer’s social media accounts over the past few years (job requirement, sort of?). I can categorically say that Lexi gets some of the angriest and most aggressive responses to her posts of any golfer. Male or female. (She also gets some very nice ones too).

Despite countless posts of Thompson relentlessly practising her putting, the number of comments from dummies accusing her of neglecting that area of her game is both bizarre and alarming. Notice how the comments have been disabled on the post below? Probably not a coincidence.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi)

Go on any other golfer’s social account, and it will be hard to find the same dynamic.

Throw in the scandalous rules decision at the 2017 ANA Inspiration that cost her a second major title and spawned the “Lexi rule,” and it’s hard not to think Lexi has had a bit of a raw deal at times.

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The Wedge Guy: My top 5 practice tips



While there are many golfers who barely know where the practice (I don’t like calling it a “driving”) range is located, there are many who find it a place of adventure, discovery and fun. I’m in the latter group, which could be accented by the fact that I make my living in this industry. But then, I’ve always been a “ball beater,” since I was a kid, but now I approach my practice sessions with more purpose and excitement. There’s no question that practice is the key to improvement in anything, so today’s topic is on making practice as much fun as playing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the range, and always embrace the challenge of learning new ways to make a golf ball do what I would like it to do. So, today I’m sharing my “top 5” tips for making practice fun and productive.

  1. Have a mission/goal/objective. Whether it is a practice range session or practice time on the course, make sure you have a clearly defined objective…how else will you know how you’re doing? It might be to work on iron trajectory, or finding out why you’ve developed a push with your driver. Could be to learn how to hit a little softer lob shot or a knockdown pitch. But practice with a purpose …always.
  2. Don’t just “do”…observe.  There are two elements of learning something new.  The first is to figure out what it is you need to change. Then you work toward that solution. If your practice session is to address that push with the driver, hit a few shots to start out, and rather than try to fix it, make those first few your “lab rats”. Focus on what your swing is doing. Do you feel anything different? Check your alignment carefully, and your ball position. After each shot, step away and process what you think you felt during the swing.
  3. Make it real. To just rake ball after ball in front of you and pound away is marginally valuable at best. To make practice productive, step away from your hitting station after each shot, rake another ball to the hitting area, then approach the shot as if it was a real one on the course. Pick a target line from behind the ball, meticulously step into your set-up position, take your grip, process your one swing thought and hit it. Then evaluate how you did, based on the shot result and how it felt.
  4. Challenge yourself. One of my favorite on-course practice games is to spend a few minutes around each green after I’ve played the hole, tossing three balls into various positions in an area off the green. I don’t let myself go to the next tee until I put all three within three feet of the hole. If I don’t, I toss them to another area and do it again. You can do the same thing on the range. Define a challenge and a limited number of shots to achieve it.
  5. Don’t get in a groove. I was privileged enough to watch Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a golf lesson one day, and was struck by the fact that he would not let Tom hit more than five to six shots in a row with the same club. Tom would hit a few 5-irons, and Mr. Penick would say, “hit the 8”, then “hit the driver.” He changed it up so that Tom would not just find a groove. That paved the way for real learning, Mr. Penick told me.

My “bonus” tip addresses the difference between practicing on the course and keeping a real score. Don’t do both. A practice session is just that. On-course practice is hugely beneficial, and it’s best done by yourself, and at a casual pace. Playing three or four holes in an hour or so, taking time to hit real shots into and around the greens, will do more for your scoring skills than the same amount of range time.

So there you have my five practice tips. I’m sure I could come up with more, but then we always have more time, right?

More from the Wedge Guy



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19th Hole

Vincenzi: Fortinet Championship First Round Leader picks



The PGA Tour begins its fall season with a trip to Wine Country as the world of golf patiently awaits the 2023 Ryder Cup which is just a few weeks away. Silverado is a course where plenty of players with varying skill sets can compete, but strong West Coast history tends to be a major factor.

In the past four editions of the Fortinet Championship, there have been six first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the six, three have started their rounds in the morning wave, and three started in the afternoon. The leading scores have all been between 63 and 65.

As of now, the winds look to be very docile, with speeds of 4-7 MPH throughout the day. I don’t see either the AM or PM wave as having a major advantage.

2023 Fortinet Championship First-Round Leader Picks

Zac Blair +9000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 1.22 p.m PT

A big theme for me this week is targeting players who have had success at both Silverado and the West Coast in general. Blair finished 22nd here last year, and also finished 4th back in 2019. That year, he shot 66 in rounds two and three, showing his ability to go low on this track.

In 2022, Blair gained 3.8 strokes putting and in 2019, he gained 8.6. The 33-year-old seemingly has these greens figured out.

C.T. Pan +9000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 8.23 a.m PT

At the end of the 2023 season, C.T. Pan showed flashes of what made him a good player prior to his injury struggles early in the year. He finished 4th at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May, and 3rd at the RBC Canadian Open in June. He also finished 6th at Silverado back in 2021, gaining 4.5 strokes on approach and 6.6 strokes putting.

A few weeks off may have given Pan a chance to reset and focus on the upcoming fall swing, where I believe he’ll play some good golf.

Joel Dahmen +110000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 7:28 a.m PT

After becoming a well-known name in golf due to his affable presence in Netflix’ “Full Swing” documentary, Dahmen had what can only be considered a disappointment of a 2023 season. I believe he’s a better player than he showed last year and is a good candidate for a bounce back fall and 2024.

Dahmen finished in a tie for 10th at the Barracuda Championship in late July, and the course is similar in agronomy and location to what he’ll see this week in Napa. He has some strong history on the West Coast including top-ten finishes at Riviera (5th, 2020), Pebble Beach (6th, 2022), Sherwood (8th, 2020), TPC Summerlin (9th, 2019) and Torrey Pines (9th, 2019).

James Hahn +125000 (Caesars)

First-Round Tee Time: 1:55 p.m PT

James Hahn absolutely loves golf on the West Coast. He’s won at Riviera and has also shown some course form with a 9th place finish at Silverado back in 2020. That week, Hahn gained 4.7 strokes putting, demonstrating his comfort level on these POA putting surfaces.

He finished T6 at the Barracuda back in July, and there’s no doubt that a return to California will be welcome for the 41-year-old.

Peter Malnati +125000 (BetRivers)

First-Round Tee Time: 12.27 p.m PT 

Peter Malnati excels at putting on the West Coast. He ranks 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting on POA and has shown in the past he’s capable of going extremely low on any given round due to his ability to catch a hot putter.

His course history isn’t spectacular, but he’s played well enough at Silverado. In his past seven trips to the course, he’s finished in the top-35 four times.

Harry Higgs +150000 (BetRivers)

First-Round Tee Time: 1.55 p.m PT

In what is seemingly becoming a theme in this week’s First-Round Leader column, Harry Higgs is a player that really fell out of form in 2023, but a reset and a trip to a course he’s had success at in the past may spark a resurgence.

Higgs finished 2nd at Silverado in 2020 and wasn’t in particularly great form then either. Success hasn’t come in abundance for the 31-year-old, but three of his top-10 finishes on Tour have come in this area of the country.

Higgs shot an impressive 62 here in round two in 2020, which would certainly be enough to capture the first-round lead this year.

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