Phil Holmes BA (Hons), PGCE, Adv Dip.Nut MRSPH

Bryson has his first US Tour win since his phenomenal physical transformation. He fully deserves the success as he has forged his own path to find a way of squeezing even more out of a brilliant golf game as a means of becoming the world’s best player.

There are a couple of key points I wish to raise though. First, Bryson is following the practice of many before him and keeping many cards close to his chest. He is answering questions in press conferences but not with any degree of accuracy that would give the majority of us average golfers any meaningful insight as to how we can improve. His recent suggestion that he eats around 3000-3500 calories per day is nowhere near the right figures when looking at an athlete of such physical mass. There are teenage athletes I work with who hit these numbers. The other part to that would then become, what does 3500 calories look like? It certainly shouldn’t be shaped by half a dozen protein supplemented products as we can all gain our protein needs from food, in other words, a well devised and specific set of meals that also give vital nutrients; something a shake or bar will not.

Secondly, Bryson has the resources to make changes quickly. Here are 10 areas of his life that work to his advantage:

  • No family demands
  • Financially secure
  • Fantastic gym facilities which have been open to him during lockdown
  • Expert nutrition guidance
  • Expert strength and conditioning guidance
  • Playing privileges that are guaranteed given his previous Tour wins = allow him to take time away from regular events which lesser players cannot do
  • No other work commitments as he is a full time, professional golfer
  • A smart and trusted team of people around him who fulfil their roles
  • A well researched and considered plan as to how to improve his golf game (seek more distance)
  • He has reached full physical maturation which allows him to gain mass in a short time

How many of the points above relate to you as the reader? Therefore how close to Bryson can you get and in what time frame?

Golf has always fascinated fans, partly due to the range in approaches that players bring to the game and win with. In recent times Zach Johnson has famously tamed Augusta due to a razor sharp short game. Webb Simpson has won a major despite onlookers questioning the aesthetics of his swing. Bubba Watson plays with a great deal more shape on his shots than is ever considered advisable. We can all think of different examples.

But now there’s a volcanic change been brought to the game. It isn’t necessarily due to Bryson hitting the ball so far. Tiger famously did this in 1997 at Augusta, John Daly burst onto the scene six years prior with his USPGA win, Rory, Phil, Rahmbo, Champ…these guys are noted for setting it out there. But the visual shape change and the speed of how this has been achieved has really rocked golf. This could partly be due to the fear I assume the world’s best now feel and also in the criticism from many quarters that Bryson is playing a game which isn’t in line with the grace and beauty of Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan or Ernie Els.

What is clear is that Bryson has stolen a march on his peers. Many young players are now going to look at ways to mimic this style.

The key messages for any players who wish to emulate Bryson are:

  1. Seek expert nutrition help (yes, I would say that but it’s because I don’t want players aimlessly walking down the wrong path and failing to fulfil their aspirations)
  2. Know what it is you are planning to achieve
  3. Realistically assess where you are at physically
  4. Consider your age and the speed at which you may make changes
  5. Consider the opportunity you have to make the physical changes in line with playing schedule, College work, career commitments, finance available, access to strength & conditioning and support from close family & friends
  6. How would physical gains align with your golf swing and the technical advice from your swing coach?
  7. Do you have the finances and patience to eat food in such quantities that you do gain mass in a way that helps your game, and doesn’t harm your health, in the long term?

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