By Paul Myers
Given the talent that is obvious when you watch Graham DeLaet play golf, you might think that he would have burst onto the PGA Tour scene a little bit earlier in his career. After all, he was a standout performer at Boise State University in his college days, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see him make a quick move up onto the Tour. That isn’t the way it played out, but nonetheless, DeLaet is now taking his place among the best in the game.
One of the first things you will notice when you see DeLaet play on Tour is simply what an impressive athlete he is. Despite standing less than six feet tall, he is in impressive physical condition and it is no surprise that he can work the club through impact with such power and speed. He is exactly the picture of what the modern Tour player has come to be – strong, fit, and athletic. Where most golfers used to be a little bit overweight or out of shape once upon a time, those days are behind us. Golf has gotten more and more competitive, and fitness has simply become a required part of the equation at the highest level.
Graham DeLaet set back by injuries
A big part of the reason that DeLaet has arrived on the scene a little bit later than his talent might have indicated is that he has been set back by injuries along the way. He turned pro in 2007 and made it onto the PGA Tour for the first time in 2010. However, the 2011 season was lost to injury and he spend much of the next couple years regaining his form. It didn’t take long, though, before he was back on his game and he was even selected for the 2013 Presidents Cup team as a demonstration of his standout ability.
In the Bag
On Tour, DeLaet is a Titleist player, with Titleist clubs all the way through the bag, with the exception of an Odyssey putter. He uses a combination iron set, with cavity back long irons and muscle back mid and short irons. This is a popular strategy for many players, whether they are professionals or amateurs. If you are a golfer with moderate to advanced skill, you might want to look into this option as a way of improving the performance of your iron game. The cavity back long irons offer more forgiveness than do the blades, while using blades in your short irons provides more distance control and feedback on your shots. It is very much the ‘best of both worlds’ when you employ this strategy.
Putting that Physique to Good Use
The muscular frame that is so obvious as DeLaet works his way around the golf course is translating into some rather impressive power numbers – especially for a player who stands less than six feet tall. Graham DeLaet’s swing speed so far on Tour in 2015 is a whopping 117.68 MPH, which ranks him within the top 30 on the Tour. That club head speed is translating nicely into total driving distance as well, where he ranks 17th at more than 302 yards per drive.
Before you think that he is just reaching back and swinging as hard as he can, however, it is important to note the accuracy that comes along with that power. DeLaet’s drives are finding the fairway more than 63% of the time, helping him to rank 5th in total driving at this time. There is certainly more to success on the PGA Tour than just great driving, but that is a nice way to start.
Even if it might have taken a bit longer for DeLaet to make his mark on the Tour than some would have expected, the future looks bright for the 33 year old. His first ever major championship with the Open Championship in 2013, so he has plenty of experience still to gain and would figure to only get better and better as the tournaments go by. Those who enjoy watching powerful players with impressive golf swings go about their business will want to keep an eye on Graham DeLaet in the years to come.