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Golfingdad

Could Bubba Watson Benefit From Instruction?

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I was watching 'On The Range' the other day and they were highlighting Bubba and his swing.  By now, we all know he is a freaky-talented golfer who is self taught and, when watching his swing, it's easy to believe that ...

So what happens to a guy like this when things start to go south?  Is somebody with this unorthodox of a swing, and who is already this talented on their own, coachable?

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I was watching 'On The Range' the other day and they were highlighting Bubba and his swing.  By now, we all know he is a freaky-talented golfer who is self taught and, when watching his swing, it's easy to believe that ...

So what happens to a guy like this when things start to go south?  Is somebody with this unorthodox of a swing, and who is already this talented on their own, coachable?

My guess is no, he's not coachable in his present form.  He's the Tim Tebow of golf.  He does everything wrong, but manages to get by because he's learned to compensate for all the fundamental mistakes he makes.

When you're the only guy on the planet who tries to do things the way you do, you can't really go to someone who does it a completely different way and expect to get useful info, can you?

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Originally Posted by dave67az

He's the Tim Tebow of golf.  He does everything wrong, but manages to get by because he's learned to compensate for all the fundamental mistakes he makes.

What? He does everything wrong? U serious? And did you really just compare him to Tim Tebow, who couldn't throw the ball in the ocean if he tried? Bubba's swing is ridiculously good. He does so many things right. He still has to follow the laws of physics, like everyone else, whether you or he realizes it or not. His swing is a great example of a lot of great pieces, and he can certainly be used to illustrate to students many mechanical things in the swing that he executes at a world class level. Bubba himself doesn't need to be aware of the good things in his swing in order to play well.

To the OP: No, right now, Bubba Watson could not benefit from golf instruction for one simple reason: He doesn't want it. You can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn.

Now, if he one day woke up and said, "I want a lesson," then yea -- if he went to a good teacher -- he could benefit from it.

But people who don't want to learn are not very teachable.


Originally Posted by Golfingdad

So what happens to a guy like this when things start to go south?

When Bubba's swing goes south, he just figures it out by himself by hitting balls during practice rounds or at the range. He's that good.

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He's not the Tim Tebow of golf, he's won at the highest level. I also don't think he does everything wrong. Doe he have an unconventional swing? Yes.
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Originally Posted by JetFan1983

When Bubba's swing goes south, he just figures it out by himself by hitting balls during practice rounds or at the range. He's that good.

All of those guys are phenomenal, no question, but there must be a reason why most of them have swing coaches that they either see regularly or occasionally.  With a guy like Bubba, I would fear that because he is unconventional (not wrong - no doubt he's got all the keys) and his swing is never something a teacher would model somebody else's swing after, that it would also be very difficult for even the best teachers to tweak it.

I could be totally wrong, I relaly have no idea ... just thought it might make for interesting discussion.  (Could be wrong about that too ;))

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Unless there was someone else who helped him build that swing who he could go back to, I'd say Bubba will be on his own without a coach. Take Jim Furyk - another unorthodox swing. His swing coach is his dad, who I'm sure helped him build that swing. I haven't really searched, but I don't think Furyk had another swing coach besides his dad.

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In Tiger's case, his dad has been his coach since birth. For Tiger, having a coach is natural. Bubba's dad couldn't break 100. Born with incredible natural ability, Bubba just dug it out of the dirt on his own, and that's what comes natural to him I guess. He made it all the way to the highest levels of the game doing it, so why change?

Mike said it best once when he said, "if I taught Bubba, I'd just show him swings of himself when he was playing well and show him the differences between that and when he was playing bad." I think that's all you'd need to do with Bubba.

Sure, you wouldn't use Bubba as a model, but you wouldn't really use anyone out there as a model for the perfect golf swing. Each great player is a prime example of a handful of universal pieces in the swing. In Bubba's case, straightening the back leg to turn your hips comes to mind as the most obvious move he makes to show a student that it's okay to make this move. He has steep shoulders, lag, a flat left wrist, a steady head, an absolutely incredible jumping move, secondary axis tilt, a steep backswing, a shallow downswing, and he tosses the flying wedge away amazingly well post impact.

Just off the top of my head, those are things you could use as examples to teach someone else when comparing swing videos.

My biggest fear for Bubba is one day he just goes down a bad path and can't fix himself anymore. It remains to be seen if that will ever happen though.

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Originally Posted by Dave H

He's not the Tim Tebow of golf, he's won at the highest level. I also don't think he does everything wrong. Doe he have an unconventional swing? Yes.

Okay, I kinda assumed that when I used an absolute like "everything wrong" it wouldn't be taken literally.  I should have known better.

He does not follow many of the fundamentals that I've been taught.  Hands turned back at address.  At top of backswing, club is rotated about 45-degrees past parallel with ground.  Left elbow really high at top.  Front foot spins out after impact.

Seriously, if you saw a guy at the range doing these things and he hadn't won a Masters, would you tell me he had a good swing?

I'm a big Bubba fan so I love that he can do it the "wrong" way (what you call "unconventional" or "unorthodox") and still succeed.  I grew up as a Cal Peete fan who ALSO did it the "wrong" way (mostly because of a physical handicap) but he was still the most accurate golfer on the tour for quite some time because he worked within his game.

Bubba is great at working within his game, and for that I'll always be a fan.  But I have this feeling that when his body starts aging and he doesn't have that flexibility he has now, his game's going to suffer until he learns a new "more fundamental" swing.  Just my two cents.

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Bubba is too cerebral for a coach, he's an unorthodox guy with an unorthodox swing.  If they tried to make changes, he would lose it completely because of the way his brain works.

I also fear that one day he will have something creep in that he can't work himself out of, which would be a shame.  He's a lot of fun to watch.

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Originally Posted by dave67az

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave H

He's not the Tim Tebow of golf, he's won at the highest level. I also don't think he does everything wrong. Doe he have an unconventional swing? Yes.

Okay, I kinda assumed that when I used an absolute like "everything wrong" it wouldn't be taken literally.  I should have known better.

He does not follow many of the fundamentals that I've been taught.  Hands turned back at address.  At top of backswing, club is rotated about 45-degrees past parallel with ground.  Left elbow really high at top.  Front foot spins out after impact.

Seriously, if you saw a guy at the range doing these things and he hadn't won a Masters, would you tell me he had a good swing?

I'm a big Bubba fan so I love that he can do it the "wrong" way (what you call "unconventional" or "unorthodox") and still succeed.  I grew up as a Cal Peete fan who ALSO did it the "wrong" way (mostly because of a physical handicap) but he was still the most accurate golfer on the tour for quite some time because he worked within his game.

Bubba is great at working within his game, and for that I'll always be a fan.  But I have this feeling that when his body starts aging and he doesn't have that flexibility he has now, his game's going to suffer until he learns a new "more fundamental" swing.  Just my two cents.

Lol, okay, I get what you're saying now. Thanks for clearing that up. You obviously can't win the Masters without doing a lot of things right

If I saw Bubba at the range effortlessly hitting balls over the 300 yard fence, and I didn't know who he was, you better believe I would walk over there and watch him. Or at least say to myself, "damn, that guy must be doing something right."

I'm a big Calvin Peete fan too. Great player despite his arm disability.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dave67az View Post

He does not follow many of the fundamentals that I've been taught.

Sure, you wouldn't tell someone to swing past parallel or whatever, but he can do it and still play incredibly well. He can also hit a 3/4 swing too if he wants. He has all the shots. I think its different teaching an amateur who has trouble breaking 100, 90 or 80, and then teaching a tour pro.

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Bubba's swing has more moving parts than a Swiss watch. The same goes for his head. I loved following him around last year at Doral when he shot 62. He was just brilliant in the way he moved the ball.  How do you coach an artist?

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Originally Posted by dave67az

Okay, I kinda assumed that when I used an absolute like "everything wrong" it wouldn't be taken literally.  I should have known better.

He does not follow many of the fundamentals that I've been taught.  Hands turned back at address.  At top of backswing, club is rotated about 45-degrees past parallel with ground.  Left elbow really high at top.  Front foot spins out after impact.

Seriously, if you saw a guy at the range doing these things and he hadn't won a Masters, would you tell me he had a good swing?

I'm a big Bubba fan so I love that he can do it the "wrong" way (what you call "unconventional" or "unorthodox") and still succeed.  I grew up as a Cal Peete fan who ALSO did it the "wrong" way (mostly because of a physical handicap) but he was still the most accurate golfer on the tour for quite some time because he worked within his game.

Bubba is great at working within his game, and for that I'll always be a fan.  But I have this feeling that when his body starts aging and he doesn't have that flexibility he has now, his game's going to suffer until he learns a new "more fundamental" swing.  Just my two cents.

Sorry I couldn't resist responding. Everything was wrong with that post!

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Originally Posted by Dave H

Sorry I couldn't resist responding. Everything was wrong with that post!


Yeah, I've been told there's something not right about me.

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The guy has a major, multiple wins, and more than enough money so I'm not sure having a coach would give him any benefit.

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Seriously, if you saw a guy at the range doing these things and he hadn't won a Masters, would you tell me he had a good swing?

If I saw Bubba at the range, every impact sounding like a gunshot, every ball going 30-40% further than everyone else, 330yard drives right down the pipe... Yeah, I wouldn't need to see the green jacket to think, "Holy Moses this guy has some serious m****r f*****g game!!!!" "Holy Moses" LOL

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I was watching 'On The Range' the other day and they were highlighting Bubba and his swing.  By now, we all know he is a freaky-talented golfer who is self taught and, when watching his swing, it's easy to believe that ...

So what happens to a guy like this when things start to go south?  Is somebody with this unorthodox of a swing, and who is already this talented on their own, coachable?

I think you framed the question almost perfectly.  Because if the question is, "can he benefit from instruction," the theoretical answer is: yes.  Any player could.  And definitely Bubba.  However, is he mentally able to accept it, believe in it and commit to it (i.e., be "coachable")?  I think not.

It seems pretty clear that Bubba prides himself on not having a swing-coach and being "self-taught."  So, mentally, I think it would be difficult for him to embrace the concept of anything else, especially if the process sent his game backwards even for a brief period of time.  It would be tough for him to commit to it.  Not to mention, he has basically campaigned for other Pros to cut out the instruction, so I think it's also a part of his image.  And I believe he cares about his image a great deal.

Lastly, I said you framed the question nearly perfectly because I don't think the unorthodox nature of his swing is what makes him uncoachable.  Nothing about an unconventional swing should limit a player's ability to benefit from instruction unless the teacher doesn't have the ability to teach it (IMO).

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First of all, Bubba isnt exactly self-taught.  He had a golf coach in college.  Its not as if he is some guy who picked up the game in his mid 20s and somehow managed to win a major with no lessons.

Could he use lessons?  Of course.  We all could.  Bubba has some serious flaws in his swing and while he may have found a way to work around it and be a great player in spite of it, Bubba could be even better with the right coach.

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First off I don't think he has as many flaws as you guys might perceive.  Might look funky sometimes, kind of like how Arnold Palmer's swing looked weird but when you break it done, lots of good stuff.  Yeah Bubba is self-taught and he prides himself on that so don't expect him to be seeking instruction anytime soon.  Any change to his swing could completely ruin his game.  Instruction that might help him would be AimPoint (get his caddie to learn it) and ball flight information.  Why did that shot over draw?  Why did I try to cut it and pull it?  If I have to hit the fairway/green, what shot should I hit?  Stuff like that, he doesn't need to worry about contact or hitting it further.  How to position the ball, handle location and alignment of his body to change shot curve/trajectory.  I'm sure he does a lot of this already but making sure he's not operating on incorrect assumptions, like rolling the hands over creates a draw.  Obviously even that could be too "technical" to him lol

When Bubba starts playing bad he probably just takes a break or chalks it up to "that's just golf".  I don't see him grinding it out on the range trying to figure it out.

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