I Doff My Cap to... Bryson DeChambeau
As part of the I Doff My Cap series, I discuss everything from risk taking to branding and storytelling. The beauty of this series is that each instalment is entirely different – and some of which, are also completely different to my personal views. Furthermore, many of the ‘doffed’ brands are actually the alternate of my personal taste or point of view, but all are noteworthy in their achievements.
In Bryson’s case, I personally do not like his assault on the world of traditional golf, with the view that distance and strength can bully his way to the top of the game. However, there is absolutely no denying that this approach has already reaped him great benefits, including his first major win. It has also resulted in many of the world’s top players, such as Rory McIlroy, begin to work out how they can mirror this approach in their game, too.
And, just like many entrepreneurs find competitor advantage from breaking away from the ‘norm’ and doing things their own way, Bryson DeChambeau has certainly made a name for himself in the world of golf – by being as non-conformist as the rules will allow!
I understand the innovative approaches and thought-provoking campaigns, and I’m genuinely impressed with the results, regardless of my personal opinion, which is why I doff my cap.
From golfer to entrepreneur
In today’s instalment, I am doffing my (flat) cap to Bryson DeChambeau and his ability to adapt to the ever-evolving sport that is golf and how his entrepreneurial spirit to challenge the accepted norms has seen him rise in huge success both on and off the course.
DeChambeau has purposefully set out to look at all aspects of the game and set about challenging every element he could. From standardising his club lengths and utilising different shafts and longer drivers to different swings, greater data analysis and changing his body shape, the list goes on.
An entrepreneur looks to challenge and change the environment in order to get an advance and gain, and that is exactly what Bryson DeChambeau did, and continues to do.
Changes in golf
Traditionally, golf is a sport recognised for its skill and strategic game of mental chess.
The change has impacted not only the sport, but its entire industry, all the way to manufacturers of equipment.
And this change I am speaking of is one that focuses less on the usual skill of golf, but a new skill, with a different focus and emphasis; hitting the ball as hard and as far as you possibly can, which, some might say, is the opposite of the sport's original intentions.
Driven by media want, and I’m sure, commercial benefits to those financially invested in the sport, this change has made an impact in many ways.
The change in direction for both the sport and the industry will surely have driven to an increase in equipment sales, on a global scale. Bryson is at the forefront of this commercialised drive to hit the ball further and further, all with the support of the latest and greatest technological equipment released with large price tags. As such, I am sure that Bryson is commercialising his status equally effectively.
Bryson DeChambeau, the brand
If you’re a golf fan like myself, then when you think of Bryson DeChambeau, your first thoughts probably go to his nickname, The Scientist, or his signature style of the flat cap, inspired by Ben Hogan.
A seemingly unusual character in the world of golf, Bryson has a very analytical and scientific way of thinking, hence his nickname.
And, with a major in physics, it is no surprise that he takes to the sport in a completely different approach to his fellow athletes.
Meticulous and complex beyond the realms of logical need, The Scientist is also known for having his own language with his caddy.
All these attributes and characteristics is what has turned Bryson into the brand he is today, but that isn’t why I am doffing my cap.
Taking risks and adapting to change
As I’ve already mentioned, recently, the golf industry has undergone some rather drastic changes, and many of which are paradoxical to Bryson’s character.
What’s important to note is that Bryson, or any other professional golfer for that matter, have no control over industry changes and have no say in the direction the industry chooses to go in.
What they can do, however, is adapt. And whilst many golfers are continuing to play it safe and keep it relatively traditional, Bryson has gone against the grain and has created his own unique approach, too.
Bryson has focused on the alterations within the industry and utilised these technological advances more than anyone else has. He was an early adopter and is continuing to see the benefits as a result.
But Bryson’s determination and dedication goes far further than simply the equipment. Before returning to the pro tour of 2020, Bryson had spent several months changing the shape of his body. Having put on approximately 45lbs of muscle, Bryson had bulked up for one particular reason.
Training several times a day, changing his diet and entire lifestyle, his aim was to take bigger, stronger, and harder swings without causing an injury. Unsurprisingly, his new lifestyle regime has allowed him to do exactly that.
How you swing and the amount of speed you have equates to more distance, which is key in this new era of golf.
Not only that, but Bryson worked with manufacturers to ensure his kit would benefit him even further.
What’s inspiring, is that Bryson had the skills and self-confidence to capitalise all of this, turning them into positive and impactful changes.
Because of his new-found brute strength and adapted skillset, this has meant that Bryson DeChambeau has added to the showmanship during these events.
Bryson has become an event within the event, with people from all over the world eager to see his incredible transformation on the golf course.
Going against everything he traditionally stands for; Bryson has simplified the game. And in doing so, he became a major winner for the first time at the U.S. Open in Winged Foot in September 2020, proving that his innovative approach to the game has been entirely worthwhile.
Making entrepreneurial moves
Whilst I may not necessarily agree with the changes happening within the industry, I must give credit where credit is due, so I doff my cap to Bryson DeChambeau. Not just for his ability to take such huge risks, but to his bravery to challenge the ‘status quo’ head on to give himself the biggest competitive advantage possible, all within the rules, resulting in him going on to win two career-changing events.
From challenging the norm to becoming a golfing superstar in his very own right, DeChambeau is continuing to make history.
Now a regular favourite and winner, Bryson is ranking fifth in the world. But winning golf is one thing, becoming bigger than the sport is another, and Bryson has already transcended the pages of golf magazines to be a major sporting brand in himself.
Bryson has proved to be bigger than the sport and understands the power of branding.
He simply saw an opportunity and took it, which is why I doff my cap to Bryson DeChambeau.
Bryson is proof that hard work, dedication, and entrepreneurial risk taking is all worthwhile.