Monday, April 9, 2012

Who Needs Lessons: Bubba Watson and his Unusual Path to Victory

For the past 20 years Bubba Watson has been looked at as the most unusual, most interesting golfer of recent memory. For his entire career, Bubba has been criticized for his unusual approach, and almost crazy style of play on the course. In case you do not know much about Bubba I will give you a little background information on his golfing style.
Bubba is known for “never hitting a straight shot,” and “his ridiculously long Tee Ball.” The first of these two might seem crazy to you, but all that means is that Bubba attempts to shape every one his shots instead of just hitting the traditional “straight ball.” Many golf experts have criticized him for this unusual style, but to Bubba’s credit he has stuck to his ways. And we should all be thankful for this, as this weekend Bubba proved to the world that there is no set formula as to how to win on the PGA tour.

Bubba pulled of one of the most remarkable shots in the history of the PGA tour, and his imagination was to thank for that. Most golfers would not even be able to picture the wedge shot that Bubba pulled off on the second hole of the playoff. But Bubba used his incredible creativity, and imagination, to envision “the shot.” He then proceeded to use his talents and incredible guts to pull off the near impossible shot. If you are reading this and thinking what the heck am I talking about, here is a link to the incredible shot that I am talking about:

Bubba is the only golfer on tour that has openly talked about the fact that he has never taken a lesson, or even seen his swing on videotape. Other professionals, bring their coaches with them to tournaments, and basically have a lesson everyday of their life. They have seen their swing so many times, that they can basically visualize each part of it without even looking at it.
I think we as golf fans should applaud Bubba for his ability to be a real person, and to truly teach himself the game. For anyone who has ever played the incredibly frustrating and difficult sport of golf, they know how hard it is to teach yourself the game. Many people give up before they ever are able to break 100. This is what makes this so remarkable. Bubba was so persistent and determined, that he figured out all of his kinks, (even though his swing is definitely not something you should practice) and was able to prosper on the PGA tour.

I want to take this time to find out what people think about this incredible accomplishment. Do you think that we as fans should idolize Bubba for never taking a lesson, and figuring out his swing on his own? Or should we applaud him for his victory, but look at this as a fluke event, that future professional golfers should not attempt?


  1. Good post. To answer your question I would just say that every player needs to do what works best for them. While this obviously seems like a harder route to take, it worked for him and it payed off. It is not something I would recommend to anyone, but it this is the route someone is wanting to take I would not discourage it either. This goes for any sport as well. There are several NBA players that have very weird shots such a shawn marion of the dallas mavericks. In addition, one of the best players in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki has a very unusal one foot-fadeaway-off balance shot that works for him very well. Just because something is unorthodox does not make it wrong and in no way is bubbas win a fluke. He is consistently one of the best golfers around and is always competitive and it was just a matter of time before he finally won a major.

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  3. Sam,

    I think your post is really interesting. I had the opportunity to meet Bubba last year, as he is a member of a golf club that my grandparents belong to in Arizona. He could not have been a nicer person, offering to talk to me for a good amount of time and even give me a few pointers on my swing. I think there is something to be said for someone who is such a "regular" person in such a high stakes game, and I think fans truly appreciate when they feel they can relate to the everyday man playing golf on their television sets. It really begs the question of how important the human element is to games and sports, and whether it gives the player any kind of advantage if they are in touch with themselves and the people who watch them intently.

    - Alex Jacobs

  4. Watching the Masters is one of my favorite things to do and it is always exciting to see who takes home the green jacket on sunday. This year was an awesome sunday, including a drama-filled playoff creating excitement at Augusta. I have always been a fan of Bubba recently and he has been playing some pretty good golf. He's a lefty who bombs the ball down the fairway and seems to having fun no matter how well he is playing. It was incredible watching him on sunday this year at Augusta. Even though he missed two putts on the last two holes to win the Master's outright, he pulled off one of the most spectacular shots that I have ever seen. On the tenth hole, Bubba drove the ball way right into the woods leaving himself a small window for a shot at the green. he miraculously pulled off the shot and put it about ten feet from the whole, leading to his victory. As a golfer, i have to say that the shot Bubba had on that 10th requires a tremendous amount of skill and I don't think that I would be able to do that if you gave me a hundred tries. It's exciting to witness the Masters every year especially when a well liked player wins the tournament. I think that Bubba's win was great for his resume and more importantly it was great for the game of golf.