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Opinion & Analysis

How to add muscle and gain more distance than Bryson

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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 – JaacobBowden.com & SwingManGolf.com & SterlingIrons.com; Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf & @SterlingIrons; Facebook – Facebook.com/JaacobBowdenGolf & Facebook.com/SwingManGolf & <Facebook.com/SterlingIronsGolf; Instagram - Instagram.com/JaacobBowden YouTube – YouTube.com/SwingManGolf – Millions of views!!!

10 Comments

10 Comments

  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!

    Thanks!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Plenty to be thankful for

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golf course sand bunkers

This has always been my favorite week of the year, well, at least since I got old enough to understand that Christmas gifts do not just “appear” out of nowhere. I think that was about 60 years ago! This is the week of the year where, hopefully, we all take time to ponder the wonderful blessings of our lives.

No matter what 2022 might have brought you, I’m sure you can find at least a handful of blessings to be thankful for. My favorite holiday movie is a 1942 Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film called Holiday Inn. If you haven’t seen it and enjoy old movie musicals, you might make it a “must see” this season. Besides being the movie where the classic White Christmas was introduced, there is a wonderful song for Thanksgiving called Plenty To Be Thankful For. It’s also a favorite of mine.

As I ponder my own year and the 70 years before it, I realize I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for. That starts with my blessing of good health. I find it remarkable to be on the north side of 70 and still have no issues. No prescription drugs. Only one visit to the hospital in my life, the result of a motor scooter incident when I was 13. A fabulous Mom and Dad, small town upbringing. A lifetime of great friends and the blessing of living in a small town on the Texas coast. And most recently, the entry of a great lady into my life that makes it all so very much better.

I have the opportunity to run a fledgling custom wedge company, Edison Golf, which allows me to challenge the entire category with different thinking. And I love writing this column every week to share the many lessons learned and observations made in this 40-year career in the golf club industry.

There are just so many things I cannot list them all. But right there with them is the blessing of the strength and flexibility to still move the golf ball around pretty good. To be able to still play to a low single digit handicap from the regular tees (no ‘senior tees’ for me, thank you), and test courses from the back tees occasionally is fun.
That last blessing comes straight from God, of course, but I “help Him out” by making stretching and fitness a part of my daily regimen for over 30 years. And that is something anyone can do to improve their golf scores.

As we all face the “off season” (even here in South Texas it gets cold and rainy occasionally), you can make the decision to have lower golf scores to be thankful for this time next year. Just because you are cooped up inside for the next few months doesn’t mean you have to forego golf and preparation for next year can begin right now.
I believe flexibility is more crucial to stronger shots and lower scores than strength. A simple internet search can turn up dozens of good guides to stretching for a longer, fuller and stronger golf swing. If you add a bit of endurance and strength training to that, it’s amazing what will happen to your golf fortunes. Nothing more complex than a daily walk and swinging a weighted club daily or several times a week will pay off big dividends when you can get out on a winter golf vacation or next season starts.

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, and I look forward to another year of being able to share my lessons from a lifetime in golf and over 40 years in the golf equipment industry. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship: Betting Tips & Selections

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Is Cam Smith in Oz the Jon Rahm of the Spanish Open?

The recent, dominating T2/winner of the DP World Tour Championship went off at around 9/4 to beat Tommy Fleetwood, Min Woo Lee and company in Madrid in October, eventually sauntering home by six shots and delighting home fans supporting his third win at his home Open.

This week, Smith looks like going off at much bigger (at 7/2) to beat a slightly fuller depth of field, again including Min Woo, to win his third Australian PGA, after going back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.

There is little left to say about the winner of the 150th Open Championship in terms of class, summarised by the run of T2/T10/T3 at the three most recent Masters, as well as wins at the Sony Open, Tournament of Champions and The Players.

Of course, his career year has also been hot with controversy, denying a move to LIV and then vehemently defending his right to join the Greg Norman-led tour a couple of weeks later, but that’s not our concern as bettors. Indeed, look at the way his presence has been received back home.

Smith’s local Brisbane Times reports that the 29-year-old superstar was the first golfer to be awarded the ‘keys to the city’ and will also probably get his desire of a LIV event in Queensland.

He’s huge news back home, and if we are looking back at that Rahm comparison, looks pretty big at over 3/1.

Smith, though, is a grinder, no matter how good of one, and whilst wins have come in decent numbers under par, he tends to win when the short game simply outlasts everyone else in tough conditions. I’m not certain he gets that here, where the winning score was 22-under last time (in January 2022), and examining his impressive victories, it’s worth noting that none of his six PGA Tour victories have been by more than a single shot, with his second Oz PGA by just a stroke further.

You can count the LIV victory as better than I do if you like. No complaints on that score, but following that win he’s gone 42nd and 22nd on LIV – beaten by a lot less a player than he faces this week.

The filthy each-way doubles look certain to be popular, with Smith across the card from Joburg fancies Bezhuidenhout and Lawrence, but in a light betting heat, I’ll take a chance with just a couple of wagers.

Just one outright for me this week.

Golf form site, tour-tips.com  rates Ryan Fox the number one this week, a short-head over Smith, and whilst he isn’t quite that elite class, his form shows he is plenty good enough to beat the favourite on his day, and hasn’t that much to find in comparison to Adam Scott, MIn Woo and Cam Davis, all of whom are rightfully respected and popular.

Fox is easy to precis.

In what has been a stellar season for the always-promising Kiwi, the 35-year-old has improved from around 200th in the world rankings at gthe start of ’22, to a current ranking well inside the world’s top-30, and certain of invites to all the most desired events.

Fox waltzed home by five shots in the desert at Ras Al Khaimah and won again by a stroke at the Dunhill Links, an event including tournament stalwarts Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood. In between, Fox posted eight top-10 finishes including running-up in Belgium, at the Dutch Open, Irish Open and, just a couple of weeks ago, by a shot to Fleetwood and one of the latter’s favourite courses, the Gary Player GC.

Fox went into last week’s DP championship as a live contender for the title, which, given his commitment to the European Tour, would have been richly deserved. Perhaps that’s too political for here, though.

Either way, despite starting slowly in Dubai, he made his way up to 19th after four steadily improving rounds, enough to hold off Rahm from swapping places at the end-of-year rankings.

The silver medal is the least Fox should have got, and with a strong game on the sand-belt and a significant win in Queensland at the QLD PGA in 2018, challenging here should be a formality.

Fox has always had a strong driving game, and finding greens has rarely been an issue. However, he’s now gone from being one of the worst with the flat stick to ranking in the top-10 for putting average at even the toughest of courses.

I have the selection at the same price as Min Woo, who may have needed the run-out when a beaten 6/1 favourite here 11 months ago, so that 14/1 is simply too big to resist, especially as the latter has not won since July last year.

Fox can continue a big year for the Kiwis following Lydia Ko’s brilliant victory and subsequent crowning as this season’s LPGA queen.

The only other wager that appeals as a value pick is defending champion Jediah Morgan over Marc Leishman in a match bet.

Leish is a bit of a hero of mine, but it may sadly be time to give up on him as a serious potential winner in this class.

After a lucrative career, the 39-year-old came off a Covid slump to once again show up at Augusta over the last couple of years, but this has been a poor year.

There have been highlights – top-15 at the U.S Open, maybe – but he played poorly at River Highlands, in an event at which he historically does very well, and followed that with missed cuts at the Scottish Open and Open Championships, and midfield, don’t-write-home-about-it efforts at the first two FedEX play-off events.

Leishman is now at LIV, doing nicely ‘thank you’ and collecting $3 million for doing nothing much. In fact, his individual results gained him less ‘sole’ money than Pat Perez, another who caught onto the coat-tails of his teammates.

Respect to him, but Leishman isn’t going forwards these days, and will need the weather to turn bad if he is going to be able to live with some of these birdie machines.

Count Jediah Morgan as one of those birdie machines.

Although he produced a 100-1 shock in January when winning this event in just his fourth event as a professional, Morgan did it in some style.

The 22-year-old recorded three rounds of 65/63/65 to take a nine shot lead into Sunday, and simply went further clear, crossing the line 11 shots clear of Andrew Dodt, himself with plenty of previous in this grade at home, and a further shot clear of Min Woo.

In 2020 Morgan had won the Australian Amateur around this course, beating Tom McKibbin (see Joburg preview for his chances over there) by 5 & 3, an event that has thrown up Cam Smith amongst other multiple international winners, and whilst he hasn’t shown his best lately, returning to a venue he knows so well should be to his big advantage.

Morgan was one of the surprise signings to LIV Golf, although, as he admits, he “didn’t have much in my schedule,” given his exemption to the DP World Tour didn’t kick in till the 2023 season, plus it gave him the chance to compete at Centurion Club for LIV London – “The field is nice and strong so it’s a cool format to see how I shape up.”

Morgan has played every event since, although mixing it up with sporadic entries and invites onto the PGA, DP and Asian tours do not help a young golfer settle.

His Dunhill Links effort wasn’t bad – a 76 on that horrendous day two the cause of his eventual missed cut – but 25th and 13th at the last two events are as good as Leishman produced at the same events.

Leish has the back-form and the class but looks on the way down, and while the attention of being defending champ could overawe the younger man, he has put up with ‘Golf, but louder’ for a few months now.

I have these much closer than the prices suggest, so take the 8/5 in a match.

Recommended Bets:

  • Ryan Fox 14/1 Each -Way
  • Jediah Morgan to beat Marc Leishman -72 holes – 8/5 
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Opinion & Analysis

TourPutt – The secret of the pros?

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Driver vs. Putter: Your Choice?

If you were granted one golf-related superpower, which would you choose? The ability to hit 300-yard drives straight down the fairway all the time, or never 3-putt again?

Bobby Locke, one of the greatest putters in the game, said to ‘drive for show, but putt for dough’ And when you consider that the putter is the most used club in the bag, it seems like a no-brainer. But then again, according to Mark Brodie and his ‘strokes gained’ method, a long, straight driver may be more important to saving strokes. So what would you choose?

For me, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with the putting skills as I am currently suffering from the worst case of yips I’ve ever experienced in over 30 years. Sure, it’d be nice to outdrive the guys in my regular foursome, but I don’t think I can live down the shame of missing inside of 3ft all day, every day. And with no genie in site, I have searched high and low for that perfect putter that can cure my woes.

After trying nearly 50 putters over the past two years and enduring numerous snide remarks to get putting lessons instead, I finally gave in. I bit the bullet and sought professional help from Jong-hwan Choi, Korea’s number one putting coach to the pros.

Choi’s resume includes LynnBlake Master Instructor certification, AimPoint LV3, PuttDoctor, MichaelHebron Neuro Learning for Golf, and many others.

Choi is an accomplished Tour putting coach who has made a name for himself through relentless research and dedication to master his chosen craft. Thus far, the pros and elite amateurs he helped have won a total of 350 tournaments, including KPGA, KLPGA, and LPGA wins. He is so popular that it can take up to a year to book a lesson with the man himself, but I was desperate. After pulling all the strings I can muster, I was able to get an interview with him in the hopes of getting some help
with my flat stick.

When the day finally came, I arrived at Choi’s academy armed with 3 of my current best-performing putters. I was eager to glean the secrets of the pros and to find out which of these best fit my stroke. I was greeted by Choi and briefly shown around the spacious academy, which had a large flat putting surface and some basic training aids that are common online. Upon chatting about Choi’s background and teaching philosophy, he reminded me of the motivational speaker Tony Robbins. He was constantly emphasizing positivity and proactive learning reinforced with hard work and dedication towards self-growth – that skills are built, not born. Sure, I get that.

But surely, preaching alone doesn’t improve (my) putting?

TourPutt: The Secret of the Pros?

When Choi offered (after some subtle arm twisting) to look at my putting, I was puzzled when he pulled out a tablet rather than some kind of putting trainer. I figured maybe he was going to film me first, then point out some flaws on the monitor. Nope.

We were going high-tech for this one. We were joined by his friend and business partner Chan-ki Kim, a software engineer who co-developed TourPutt, a state-of-the-art putting training system.

According to the dynamic duo, TourPutt was developed to accurately assess a player’s putting tendencies, habits, and skills utilizing big data and A.I. Rather than second-guessing and trying to identify the faults, Tour Putt acts like an MRI machine that shows the doctor where to problem lies. Once the diagnosis is made, Choi would bring to bear his extensive experiences to cure the ailing putter. Sounded simple to me. But how would it know what my problem was?

As Choi’s fingers danced over the tablet in his hand, the TourPutt sprang into action and a small circle the size of a hole-cup appeared on the artificial putting surface. As I surveyed the circle of light beamed from a ceiling projector, Choi asked me a question I hadn’t considered before. ‘Which breaks are you most comfortable with on short putts? What are the odds that you make them?’ Taking my blank look as his cue, Choi proceeded to explain the process of mapping my putting pattern to gauge my stren gths and weaknesses.

To begin, I was directed to putt a golf ball into a hole from 36 random locations ranging from 3 to 6 ft. A ball tracking camera with two projectors mounted on the ceiling rendered various crisp, clear images onto the putting surface. Prior to start, I was informed that the putting surface was sloped 3% from top to bottom. So if you were to imagine a clock face, the 12 o’clock location would be a 3° downhill straight putt, while 6 o’clock would be a 3° uphill straight putt.

As I am right-handed, all putts from the left side of the 3 o’clock would be a hook like, and the left side a slice lie, all to varying degrees. When I asked why it was fixed at 3%, Kim explained that tour regulation greens don’t allow for more than a 3 degree slope within 6ft of the hole. Also, most amateur golfers had a difficult time detecting such a small amount of slope, and thereby misjudge the breaks to a higher score.

Knowing Where to Tap

After the pattern test began, it took me a little over 20 minutes to complete a total of 36 putts at random locations. I was quite conscious of the many eyes on my performance and equally frustrated at how often I was missing putts despite my best efforts. After I was done, Choi pulled up my results, or key performing index (KPI), on a large screen TV where I was able to see exactly where I was effective in my short putts. In brief, I had a tough time with both hook and slice lie putts. I showed slightly better results with uphill straight and slice putts, but absolutely nothing to write home about.

Now, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the story of the plumber who was called to fix a steam pipe. After looking around the pipes and tapping a couple of valves, he charged $200 for his services. When the irate customer demanded to know why it cost so much and asked for a detailed breakdown of the services, the plumber replied, ‘$10 for tapping, $190 for knowing precisely where to tap.’

As such, my results from the pattern test were eye-opening. I’ve never known what lie I was more effective at, much less the percentage of probable success. For example, the more often I use TourPutt to practice or diagnose my putting, the more accurately it can diagnose my skills. Thus, I can pinpoint which area to improve through practice, as well as try to get the ball to an area I am more likely to save par.

Wow. This was tour pro stuff. Was this the secret of the pros?

The green area indicates a successful putt and the red is where I missed. The numbers show how long it took me to strike the putt after being instructed by a bell sound.

I was starting to get heady with the possibilities this digital marvel was able to provide. It took both of them to bring me down to earth again by informing me that knowing the areas of improvement is only half the battle.

For the actual tapping part, Choi and Kim then walked me through the many innovative features of TourPutt focused on helping me improve my putting. I was mesmerized by the detailed graphics that flashed all over the putting surface.

I was already impressed with the diagnostic aspects of TourPutt, but upon seeing the actual features to help me improve my putting, I was doubly blown away. From reading the green speed and breaks accurately to effective swing tempo and motion tracking, the system seemed straight out of the future.

Putting from variations of the 3% slope helps golfers to get a better feel the greens, a skill that can translate onto reading the breaks on actual greens.

Before TourPutt came into being, Choi was frustrated with the difficulty in collecting crucial data from an actual green as it was difficult to find a flat area to map his student’s patterns. When he discussed the matter with Kim back in 2019, Kim immediately became interested in ways to mesh modern technology and A.I. driven data to the art of putting. As an elite level golfer with extensive knowledge in the fields of VR and AR (virtual and augmented reality), Kim understood right away the issues faced by Choi and how he could help.

Delving deep into Choi’s experience and insights, Kim designed the TourPutt’s interface to yield accurate and reliable data that can be cross-checked, correlated, and compared across past and future performances. Best of all, TourPutt and its proprietary app feature the ability to keep track of all of my performance from any TourPutt system and access the data anywhere at any time. I could even replay all of my past putts and see the speed and the path it took, and compare them with other golfer’s data in the system. Mind. Blown.

Kim further explained that this feature of collecting real-world significant big data is one of the biggest advantages of TourPutt, and enables it to evolve further with every putt stored in its vast database.

The app can be used in both English and Korean, and can keep track of my performance and improvements.

The Student Becomes The Teacher

Once the flaws are identified, we moved on to the more traditional slow-motion video to see what I was doing wrong to miss the putts. For me, I kept too much weight on the back foot, and also needed more forward press to keep the putter head online through impact.

After several minutes of drill to correct the issues, I was holing the putts much better. The data from the second pattern test confirmed the improvement, and I was also shown the actual paths that my two putts took before and after the fix. All in all, being able to verify that the diagnosis was correct with immediate results, all backed by data was highly reassuring and enlightening. But what if these improvements were short-lived? That as soon as I walk out of Choi&#39;s presence, the magic evaporates and my crappy putting returns? I can’t tell you how often a club I thought was the answer to my prayers devolved into an ordinary stick as soon as I paid for it. It’s downright uncanny how often this happens.

To this end, Choi gave me a glimpse of hope. He assured me that since I was investing time into my skills and not money into more equipment, it will definitely last longer. Also, the coaching provided by Choi is reflected in each and every putt I had made since the lesson and recorded as part of my putting profile. So if I were to stray from the ‘good’ putts, the system can be used to bring me back on track. And if this cycle of improvement continues, I would be able to be my own teacher and
eventually practice effectively and independently on my own.

Honestly, I don’t know about this part. After all, I too know that the right diet and exercise will give me a six-pack; but knowing and doing it are two separate things. In the end, how effective any tool can depend on how well I make use of it, so it will have to remain to be seen. What I can say with certainty, however, is that TourPutt seems to work for a lot of people. Choi’s students continue to post wins on various tours with regularity, each crediting him with their improved putting performance. In turn, Choi credits his partner Kim and TourPutt’s growing database for accurate diagnosis and self-learning.

ToutPutt and its built-in sensors are capable of sensing where the lies have changed. The self-learning A.I. system actively adjusts for the changes to the putting surface, thereby eliminating the need for recalibration.

In Korea, the art of putting has found its poster child in Choi, with more and more golf academies and private studios installing TourPutt for its members. Several local tour pros and top amateurs have also installed the not-so-cheap system in their homes and have said to benefit from the move. Remember when Tiger showed up one day at the range with his own Trackman? I would imagine having a TourPutt in your basement is something like that, but I can only guess. I don’t have a personal Trackman either.

Choi attends seminars all over the world each year to continue his improvement in putting instruction.He is currently working on compiling his own training and certification program to impart to a new generation of would-be putting gurus.

Now that I know where I need to improve on, does this mean I will be taking money off my foursome buddies with alarming regularity? Well, let me see. I signed up for pilates a few months ago and found out exactly where I need to work on for more flexibility. But as I still creak all over when bending over to tie my shoes, I’d guess my putting won’t miraculously improve right away neither. But hey, that’s on me. I’ll just have to start working on the tapping part. Anyone looking to buy some used putters?

For more information on TourPutt from the man himself, check out the video below.

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