Golf Bubba’s Way
I have come to realize that people play golf very similarly to the way they approach life. People who think like engineers tend to analyze and focus on swing positions and technique. Artistic people are better off playing by feel and visualizing. Either way, to be successful you need to embrace your personality, and do not diverge from who you are.
The 2012 Masters tournament was one of the most highly anticipated tournaments in recent years because of the outstanding play of the top players in the world rankings leading into the tournament. The stage was set for viewers to watch Rory, Tiger, or maybe Luke Donald to win the green jacket. Unfortunately it did not play out according to what analysts predicted. This year the green jacket belonged to Bubba Watson.
Most of today’s touring professionals have similar, machine-like swings based on ideal technique and positions. They rarely hit shots without the critique and watchful eye of a top-rated instructor. Some players like Phil Mickelson have several instructors for each aspect of their game including the mind and body, not to mention full swing, short game and putting. Did I forget to mention he has a caddie as well? Dr. Rick Jensen is one of the top advisors to the mental approach for many professional athletes, Olympians and top executives. His belief, contrary to the popular one, is that golf is a team game and should not be played without other teammates like Mickelson does. Watson has never had a lesson in his life, and this is what separates his approach from everyone else and it’s what draws such a crowd.
Watson is a unique person in every aspect of life. Watson drinks his iced tea out of a mason jar, he refers to himself in the third person, he plays with pink clubs, he drives the General Lee, and let’s not forget, his name is Bubba. He plays a game that is unfamiliar to most conventional theory. Watson is famously recognized as one of the longest drivers to ever play the game. He has also become a model of creating insane curvature with his golf ball to execute a desired shot. With today’s golf ball technology, it has become increasingly difficult to impart a lot of curvature to a golf ball. A combination of excessive speed, creative imagination and a gifted athletic control of the clubface allows him to hit such impressive shots that not many people have the ability to accomplish or even think to try. This ability secured his win at Augusta where, on the second playoff hole, Watson hooked a wedge 40 yards out of the woods onto the green, winning him the tournament.
There are many different ways to play golf. Some players like Watson are creative, shaping shots. Others like Jack Nicklaus have played the same shot shape for most of his career.
Watson won the green jacket because he was true to the way he played golf and not what others consider normal.
Darren deMaille is the Head Golf Professional at The Bridge in Bridgehampton. Prior to The Bridge, Darren worked at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. and The Country Club of Fairfield in Fairfield, Conn. Darren has had many top 100 instructors influence his philosophy but most of his principles are based on Jack Nicklaus’ way to play golf.