The debate of whether golf is more art or science is a question inextricably linked with the game. It’s a point of contention and confusion, and when someone comes along that seems to endorse one side more than the other, it re-boots the conversation all over again.
The Fried Egg shone an interesting light on the topic with its episode on The Golfing Machine book last week, and appearing as the guest on this week’s Off Course podcast with GOLF Top 100 Teacher Claude Harmon III (which you can subscribe to on iTunes right here), Bryson DeChambeau tackled a similar topic.
Bryson is often seen as the figurehead for the role of science in the game of golf. And, indeed, using evidence-based approaches are something he embraces when he encounters a problem in his game. But asked by Claude at the one-minute mark below whether golf is more art than science, Bryson’s answer was more nuanced than you might think.
Art through science
“I think they’re the same thing. There’s a misconception that they’re completely separate and you can either be this way or that way,” DeChambeau says. “Personally I think it’s the combination of the two that meld beautifully. All the science and things that I do are to allow me to express my artistry on the course to my fullest capability. A lot of people think he’s this nerd, he’s weird, he’s quirky … but all that stuff allows me to express myself.”
He goes on to say that he arrived at his current viewpoint simply as a way to improve. Golf didn’t come naturally to him, Bryson says, and he needed to work hard to find different ways to improve.
“I was never really the best I could possibly be, and I was always trying to find a distinct edge. That was something I was always struggling with,” he says. “I wasn’t the best. There were players that were way better than me. … I had to find new ways to get an edge through a lot of trial and error. Whether it was swinging weirdly, putting weirdly, whatever. I had to try to find ways to get an edge.”
You can listen to the full episode on Spotify below.