The longest hitter on the PGA Tour, Bryson DeChambeau overpowered Winged Foot in September to win the US Open, the only player under par (6 under). His performance put everyone on notice and is having an impact at all levels.
“It’s becoming more of an athlete’s game,” said Lincoln-Sudbury senior Weston Jones, the reigning Division 1 state champion. “I think everybody’s getting accustomed to that. Golf courses are getting longer. It’s 100 percent becoming a long-hitter’s game.”
The old golf adage says, “Drive for show and putt for dough.” But while putting is still important — DeChambeau ranked 10th last season in Strokes gained: Putting — driving the ball well is more important than ever.
This change has also affected the way golf is taught. For Dan Boisvert, director of instruction at Kohr Golf in Natick,, who works with several of the area’s top high school players (including Jones and Xaverian junior captain Joey Lenane), the initial player development process is about generating distance.
“Everything’s about speed, hit it as far as you can, while having good control over your balance and figure out how to score from there,” Boisvert said. “The longer you swing at pace, the easier it’s going to be for you to start controlling it.”
No matter how far modern golfers hit the ball, the most successful players are the ones who can best blend distance with accuracy. For Lenane, those components go hand in hand, with his work in the gym adding to his on-course routine.
“There’s no way it can’t help, especially for someone like me who needs more strength to keep the ball straight almost,” Lenane said. “So the ball will go further, but it also helps me hit it straight. I’m hitting a straighter cut based on the things I’m working on right now.”
Combining distance with accuracy is one of the most difficult things to do in golf, and Lenane believes that challenge will help separate the best players from the pack.
“[Junior players] are going to benefit a lot from it,” Lenane said. “But it’s going to go both ways because you’ve got to practice, too. You can’t just hit it far and then not practice because you’re going to spray it everywhere. It’ll show who’s really disciplined and who’s not that disciplined.”
At the professional level, there will be plenty of players looking to follow in DeChambeau’s footsteps, but it is far from a one-size-fits-all approach.
“People think they just need to go lift weights and get strong, and swing as hard as they can,” said Matt Hutchins, a former Globe All-Scholastic from Lincoln-Sudbury currently playing professionally on the Latin America Tour.
“I think you’re going to see injuries because of this. And all of our swings aren’t built to swing that hard and that aggressively at the ball and be able to keep it on the planet.”
No matter how strong the top players become or how far they drive the ball, Jones believes accuracy and distance control will always be rewarded.
“Accuracy plus knowing your distances, that’s just how you play good golf,” Jones said. “And so even if you’re not the furthest, if you know how far you hit it, then all you have to do is just worry about whether you’re hitting them right.”
▪ Winchester senior Owen Egan capped high school career Tuesday with an ace on the 123-yard ninth hole at Winchester Country Club in a 44-28 Middlesex League win over Arlington.
Egan hit a pitching wedge onto a green that slopes back to front. The ball landed about 15 feet from the flag and trickled back into the cup. The shot looked good immediately, with playing partner Trevor Lopez asking for the ball to go in right after contact.
“Trevor and I were walking off the eighth green and we talked about how cool it would be to make a hole-in-one on the last hole of high school golf,” Egan said. “We saw the ball go in and everyone around the green started cheering. It was fun.”
The ace is Egan’s second hole-in-one — he also aced the sixth hole at Winchester CC in 2017. The spectacular finish punctuated an even-par round of 35 as Winchester (10-0) finished the season unbeaten.
▪ Egan was not the only player to finish with a flash. Bishop Stang senior Lucas Oliveira drained a 25-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 ninth hole at Allendale Country Club. His 2-under 34 helped the Spartans (12-0) defeat Dartmouth to cap an undefeated season.
▪ The Hockomock championship is scheduled for Monday at Franklin Country Club, featuring top three players per team and a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start. Golfers will tee off with teammates to minimize interschool interaction. An individual and team champion will be crowned.
▪ The Catholic Central championship, which was originally scheduled for this past Friday, will be played Tuesday at Hillview Golf Course.
Players of the Week
▪ Eric Boulger, Xaverian — The UConn-bound senior fired a 1-over-par 70 at Worcester Country Club to lead the Hawks to the Catholic Conference Shootout title Monday.
▪ Aidan Emmerich, St. Mary’s — Last year’s Catholic Central league co-MVP followed a 2-under 34 at Hillview GC with a 3-under 32 at Newton Commonwealth as the Spartans defeated Catholic Central foes Matignon and St. Joseph Prep
▪ Jacob Finard, Weston — The senior captain helped the Wildcats (9-0) cap an undefeated season, carding a 1-under 35 at Weston Golf Club in a 69-38 win over Cambridge.
▪ Justin Peters, Bridgewater-Raynham — He shot a 1-under 69 Monday at Thorny Lea GC as the Trojans followed a 10-0 regular season by winning the Southeastern Conference tournament.
▪ Colby Sanville, Wellesley — The Trinity-bound senior finished as the Raiders' medalist in both wins over Natick, including a 2-under 34 at Nehoiden Golf Club Monday. Wellesley finished the regular season 10-0.