You gotta love Bryson DeChambeau.

He has convinced recreational golfers that it’s possible to hit 375-yard drives and to figure out the break of a putt with a protractor and to crash 200-yard 9 irons out of rough five feet tall. And now – yes! – his latest lesson is that we can blame our equipment for all manner of failure out there on the local 18.

Salute to Bryson!

If you missed DeChambeau’s diatribe after a nasty first round last week in the Open on British shores, he reported that his driver “sucks” before being hammered by a fierce rebuke from manufacturer Cobra, one of his partners in the game. DeChambeau apologized, but the damage was done on a personal and professional level. For the rest of us, however, it was a certification of something we’ve known for virtually all of our golfing lives.

It’s always about the equipment!

Missed a three-foot putt? The blade on the putter has a dent. Drive soared off into the deep wilderness? Clubhead wasn’t attached properly. Wedge into the green fell 20 yards short? Shaft wasn’t strong enough.

Let’s stretch this to other sports. An outfielder misses an easy floater to centerfield because the webbing in his glove isn’t tight enough. A wide receiver drops an on-target pass because his gloves aren’t sticky enough. A swimmer loses a second of time because his suit isn’t sleek enough. A jockey finishes second because his horse sucks.

This dynamic fits best in golf, however, because equipment obviously is such an important part of the game, especially at the sport’s highest levels. A professional can take months to get used to a new driver, having wrestled with such things as launch angle and clubhead speed and other overly scientific stuff that regular folks don’t address and only Bryson DeChambeau has a doctorate in.

Recreational golfers approach the failure of their equipment in numerous ways, the most obvious and most satisfying being the tossing of an 8 iron down the fairway, its distance often longer than the ball it just hit. This response can be particularly pleasing when the 8 iron slams into a tree with great force, but lawsuits are possible if humans happen to be in the way.

For those who don’t have a good throwing arm, slamming a poorly performing club into the ground can be a good alternative. Careful here, too, though, because one can damage one’s wrist with an act of fairway violence, and scoring the rest of the round is likely to suffer.

The safest response to a bad round caused by equipment failure, however, is to drive straight from the course to the golf shop, where one trades in faulty irons for a shiny new set that appears perfect. 

This response can work on a number of levels. I bought a new golf bag last year and immediately improved four strokes.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.