Bryson DeChambeau's coach, Chris Como, takes us behind the scenes of his new speed studio
When the Players Championship was cancelled after one round in 2020 because of the onset of the pandemic, Chris Como figured golf was headed for an extended disruption.
“As I was on the plane back home to Dallas, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I knew I needed a place to work that I wouldn’t get locked out of,” says the newly voted No. 2 on Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers ranking.
He quickly traded his downtown apartment for a 3,100-square-foot, five-bedroom house that met one important benchmark—a main room with enough height and size to accommodate a basketball hoop and three-point line for down time, and a full 3-D camera system for teaching.
Through early 2021, Como, Bryson DeChambeau (who lives minutes away) and teaching assistant Brian Ziegler (who is now DeChambeau’s caddie) spent hundreds of hours in this living-room “speed studio” working on the building blocks for swinging faster. You might not have the $100,000 in swing measurement gear Como has at his pad—or DeChambeau’s relentless drive to squeeze out every yard he can—but you can borrow from what they learned to hit it farther right now. Let Como show you how four pieces of tech informed his teaching and how you can use that info to make your fastest swings.
REMOVE YOUR GOVERNOR
“This might sound funny, but an important early step toward swinging faster is giving yourself permission to do it,” Como says. “Like some race cars that are restricted from going beyond a certain speed, think of it as removing the internal mental governor that holds you back from swinging faster.”
Weighted clubs have been around forever, and they’re designed to get you moving a heavy object faster so that your driver feels lighter. “The Stack ($350, below) is a modern interpretation of that concept,” Como says. “It’s a heavy club with a brain, and its app tells you when to change weights as you create more swing speed.”
GO HEAVY TO SWING FASTER The Stack, a weighted club with a computer chip (above), trains you to swing the driver faster—with the speed coming in the right place.
Measured feedback from an app is great, but you can get faster right now without the tech, Como says. Grab a golf shaft and swing it harder and harder (below), trying to make the whoosh sound louder and louder (and as late in the through-swing as you can). “When you focus solely on the making the whoosh noise, your swing will start to organize itself automatically to create more speed,” Como says. “You won’t have to think about swinging faster, your instincts will take over, and you’ll just do it. That’s a powerful idea to take back to your regular golf swing.”
USE THE GROUND BETTER
PUSH AND SHIFT Force-plate technology (above) confirms that your club will move faster if you push hard into the ground right from the top of the swing.
The $30,000 GASP 3-D force plates that Como is standing on (above) measure how players shift their weight during a swing. “You need to increase your push off the ground to make the club go faster, and the force plates indicate how and when to do it,” Como says.
Borrowing from the footwork patterns of speed freaks like World Long Drive Champion Kyle Berkshire, Como was able to improve DeChambeau’s ground-force production. “Your lead foot needs to push much earlier than you might think—right from the top of the backswing,” Como says. “And it should push down in a diagonal direction, angling to the left of the target (for right-handers). That early, angled push gives you much more space to make your downswing and helps you get the momentum you’re generating out through the clubhead into the ball.”
The way to feel the proper shift: Put a chair angled behind you and rehearse a downswing with the club stopping around impact. Your pelvis should rotate toward the chair, even bump it (below), Como says.
SUPPORT YOUR UPPER BODY
A $40,000 3-D, motion-capture system like GEARS—Como is wearing its sensors (above)— will tell you important things about spatial relationships in the swing. The markers on the suit reflect light to a ring of cameras, and the system records how those markers move during the swing, providing more evidence about what long hitters do—and what you can copy without spending thousands on the tech.
“You want to pay attention to the relationship between your pelvis and your sternum,” Como says. “You know how we learned from the force plates to get your pelvis turning with diagonal force? Pair that with a quieter upper-body early in the downswing, and you’ll store more power for flash speed.”
The takeaway? Feel like your sternum is stacked over your pelvis at the top of your backswing, but as your hips turns through in the downswing, keep the buttons on your shirt lined up over your belt buckle as long as you can (below). This delayed release of the sternum toward the target provides an extra source of speed creation down by the ball. “Where you want it,” Como says.
PERFECT THE SECRET STRETCH
A guided workout station with virtual training, like the $3,000 Tonal device you see behind me, was a godsend to avoid public gyms during the pandemic, Como says. This device also grooved a key power move that got DeChambeau crushing his drives.
CRACK THE WHIP This Tonal virtual exercise machine helps train the snap speed needed for power.
“Here I’m in a side-on, lat pull-down position (above), but I’m not trying to yank the cable down,” Como says. “I’m concentrating on stretching my lead arm across my chest. It’s the same stretch you should feel in transition, where your body is starting to turn back toward the ball, but your arms are still finishing their trip up to the top of the backswing.”
Compare DeChambeau’s current swing to what he was doing a few years ago, and that stretch should now be immediately recognizable. “It’s similar to the way your arm should continue to go back as you step forward to throw a ball,” Como says. “You’re initiating the whip or sling sequence that is the centerpiece of speed.”
You can use a cable machine at the gym or even some stretch bands anchored to a high point in your home to train this move, Como says. “And then feel that arm stretch when you take your driver to the top and are about to start down (below),” he says. “You’ll be loaded up to put some real power into the ball.”