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Bubba Watson - never had a golf lesson, can someone elaborate on this?


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Since Bubba won the Masters I've heard people mention on TV and on the course about how he never had a lesson in his life. What does this mean exactly? He started playing golf at an early age, and just practiced and practiced and practiced and 'figured it out' ? Discovered something that worked for him? Or did he study the body of knowledge that you would acquire from getting lessons, and just cut out the middle man?

Does Bubba have a deep understanding of swing mechanics like the rest of the pros? Does he video his swing and draw lines representing shoulder tilt, hip angles, weight distribution etc.? Does he scrutinize his swing the same way Tiger and Sean Foley do?

I'm genuinely confused by this. The way people talk, they are acting as if Bubba just picked up a driver one day and started swinging until he figured out how to crush a golf ball 360 yards down a fairway.

Can someone shed some light on this?

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I'd be curious to know the specifics as well.  Especially considering he played college golf.  I doubt it's as if he was on scholarship and told the coach(es) they couldn't coach him.

Brandon

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I'd be curious to know the specifics as well.  Especially considering he played college golf.  I doubt it's as if he was on scholarship and told the coach(es) they couldn't coach him.

Good point. Years ago, I read somewhere that Herschel Walker was allowed to do his own strength training routine, which consisted of thousands of pushups and situps rather than the usual weights, but I'm pretty sure even he didn't draw up his own running plays.

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I've been wondering about this as well.  Let's hope a commentator or journalist pursues the matter, now that Bubba is a super-hero.

How's about someone sends Bubba a Tweet or a FB message or something ....... I'm too archaic to do either.

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if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. He has one of the most unusual and uncanny swings in the game. I imagine it took a LOT of time, frustration, and hard work to get the end result, especially if it was self-taught.

If only i could mirror him. Im a lefty as well and Bubba is certainly a great role model, however, i dont know if i should exactly take too much from his mechanics. LOL

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Originally Posted by bodeman1329

He has one of the most unusual and uncanny swings in the game.

There are plenty of those swings on tour...and a few of them have won big-time events before.  This current media angle reeks of recency bias.  I had to turn off the "On The Range" episode Wednesday because some guy was going on and on about how you can learn more about the game of golf by watching Bubba Watson than any other player, and something about how he'd much rather watch him than other "robotic" golfers who "try and perfect the golf swing."

So Bubba doesn't work to perfect his swing and make it as good as possible?  Like he doesn't obsess over his own swing mechanics?  Even if he doesn't, stop pretending that it's going to result in some new trend away from swing coaches and conventional mechanics.  I mean, let's not act like Bubba is some young phenom who has dominated the tour with his improper mechanics.

Lastly, the roundabout implications that other top players are "robotic" and don't shape the ball is pretty asinine.

Brandon

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I guess there is only one conclusion... Bubba Watson is clearly some sort of magical creature.

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I like Bubba but he's really playing up this country boy character that never had a golf lesson and has a gift to be able to visualize his shot and make it.  I guess anything is possible, but since he won the Masters he seems to be playing a character during the interviews I've heard and not being very genuine about how much time and effort he puts into golf.

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I don't think it's an act.  He really is a southern guy from Bagdad, Florida.  He isn't sophisticated (he PO'd the French that one time) and doesn't have a swing coach.  He figures out the golf swing on his own.  That's his deal.  He's the anti-Tiger.  He played on his high school team and then for a junior college and then for the Bulldogs of Georgia.  To think that he never got any coaching from any of those schools is a stretch.  I'm sure there was plenty of "Bubba, you're hitting off your back foot!"  He still does that.

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Originally Posted by CraiginKSA

(he PO'd the French that one time)

He didn't PO the French.

He made a complete fool of himself.

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As BP Lewis mentioned, Bubba's college golf coach surely gave him some instruction. As far as the "uniqueness" or wildness to his swing. I find it no coincidence that his swing looks very similar to Phil Mickelson's (both left handed, and Mickelson was the best lefty when Bubba was just a young pup) I'd say Bubba's swing is both a hyperbole of Mickelson's swing (more extensor action, bigger hip turn, more speed) and a refinement (more centered, better left elbow/body connection at P5, better downswing path)
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Originally Posted by newtogolf

I like Bubba but he's really playing up this country boy character that never had a golf lesson and has a gift to be able to visualize his shot and make it.  I guess anything is possible, but since he won the Masters he seems to be playing a character during the interviews I've heard and not being very genuine about how much time and effort he puts into golf.

I tend to agree.

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Originally Posted by CraiginKSA

I don't think it's an act.  He really is a southern guy from Bagdad, Florida.  He isn't sophisticated (he PO'd the French that one time) and doesn't have a swing coach.  He figures out the golf swing on his own.  That's his deal.  He's the anti-Tiger.  He played on his high school team and then for a junior college and then for the Bulldogs of Georgia.  To think that he never got any coaching from any of those schools is a stretch.  I'm sure there was plenty of "Bubba, you're hitting off your back foot!"  He still does that.

That's the best thing, he is Dawg!

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I think there's a difference between receiving instruction & trying to fundamentally change someone's swing.

Somewhere along the way, probably in college, his coach realized Bubba had an unusual way of hitting the ball so he didn't mess with it. I mean, here comes a kid that hits it halfway to the moon & if I'm the coach, I would just work with him on things like timing & consistency, and stay away from achieving technical perfection.

Freddie addresses it with an open stance. Furyk damn near crashes into his right hip on the downswing. Trevino played off an open stance & laid the club off. Jack had a flying elbow. Most players have some kind of quirk in their swing, but the proof is in the results.

So back to Bubba. I believe you don't get to the point of winning the Masters without receiving instruction. Fortunately for him, he likely had people that knew to leave the fundamentals of his swing alone & instead schooled him on making it repeatable.

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

I think there's a difference between receiving instruction & trying to fundamentally change someone's swing. ...

Somewhere along the way, probably in college, his coach realized Bubba had an unusual way of hitting the ball so he didn't mess with it. I mean, here comes a kid that hits it halfway to the moon & if I'm the coach, I would just work with him on things like timing & consistency, and stay away from achieving technical perfection. ....

So back to Bubba. I believe you don't get to the point of winning the Masters without receiving instruction. Fortunately for him, he likely had people that knew to leave the fundamentals of his swing alone & instead schooled him on making it repeatable.

The college where I teach had one such golf team member, but I doubt he's headed toward the pro tour. He played baseball in high school, but picked up golf the summer before he entered college. He got a few tips from friends, read up on the golf swing, and became a self-taught golfer.

Our college sports teams compete in NCAA Div. III (no scholarships). In college, he was on the team's "second line" and often shot in the upper 70s. He had an excellent short game - chipping and wedges. He said he normally had one or two holes a round where he blew a shot badly and ended up with a double bogie.

So, it can be done. But, such people are rare.

I was self-taught for about 10 years, and have spent the rest of the time recovering. My first clubs came from a "mixed bag" with a couple of irons literally from the 1930s. The driver in the bag, I found out after two years of playing, was an early homemade "Medicus" type. The head had been drilled out and filled with lead, to be used as a muscle strengthener when swung slowly. And here I was, a 90-pound kid trying - unsuccessfully - to hit tee shots with it.

I've had clumps of seasons where I have swung fairly well, but old weird swing moves seem to creep back in at the wrong time.

So, some people can self-teach, but most can't. And self-teach normally involves some advice from others, just no formal lessons.

As for kids in golf, many child-development people agree that it's best to let grade-schoolers play at golf... fun stuff... putt around the green, have little chipping contests, maybe learn the basics of grip and stance. But, sending 6-year-olds to a weeklong golf camp is more likely to kill golf urge than cultivate it - they don't have the attention span.

Get the kids involved in other sports - helps overall conditioning and prevents overuse injuries from one sport. Then, get them more formal lessons in junior high.

Gee, if I click SUBMIT, I can hit the driving range...

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I've read that Bubba's father taught him fundamentals as a youngster so it's not like he picked up a club and figured it out by himself. He's obviously a fine athlete with great hand/eye coordination like most golfers at this level.

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