Bubba Watson Lessons from the Masters 2012

Bubba Watson has never had a swing coach. He hasn’t had a lesson since he was 10 years old.

His playing approach is contrary to every golf strategy book ever written…as he says it like this: I always ATTACK.” He goes for the pin no matter the situation.

Bubba Watson isn’t a big student of the game either. Here’s what he said about that:

“I don’t play the sport for fame. I don’t try to win tournaments for fame,” Watson said. “I don’t do any of that. It’s just me. I’m just Bubba. I goof around. I joke around. I just want to be me and play golf.”

About his swing he said:  “I just swing funny and somehow it works.”

This guy is my new hero.

In an age where parents are moving their families to Florida so they can play year round and to work with Golf Digest top instructors, is Bubba just a rare exception or does he know something most golfers don’t?

It’s my contention that every golfer can adopt his secret and improve your game with it. It’s not hard. In fact, I think it’s hard to hold on to those old beliefs that your swing isn’t good enough….IT IS.

I read an article that said that Tiger would try to pair with Bubba on practice rounds in the majors because he was intrigued at how someone could make the ball move the way Bubba does without ever having had a swing coach. Tiger probably studied Bubba’s swing in great detail to try to find the mechanical key that makes it work. When all the while, the secret was probably in a few simple words and sentences that Bubba plainly and simply gives away for free.

What can us mere mortals learn from Bubba?

Does Bubba have talent? Of course.  More than Tiger or Phil? I doubt it. But he knows how to win.

What does he have a tremendous amount of?

TRUST in his swing and his game.

There is no perfect swing, there is no perfect golfer. As Bagger Vance said: “You’ve got to find your authentic swing”

You can spend your life trying to tweak your swing or your putting stroke or you can get on to the business of scoring well. The two don’t always jive together. Just ask David Duvall if you don’t believe me.

Here’s another gift Bubba has given us. Will you accept it?  From Bubba himself in a post-win interview:

“I don’t even know what happened on the back nine. … Nervous on every shot, every putt. Went into a playoff. I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head, and somehow I’m here talking to you with a green jacket on.”

Nervous on every shot, every putt

You can play well AND feel nervous.

The mental game is everything, just ask Tiger who is in the midst of re-learning that.

And by the way, remember when I said last year that Tiger Woods isn’t mentally tough.  Well, maybe now he is even though he didn’t win the Masters.  He did win last week and that says a lot…AND it doesn’t prove I was wrong a year ago when he couldn’t win anything after faltering from his personal problems.

Nobody is stuck at where they are at today. Everybody can change and does change. That’s the only constant! 

All golfers can adopt a new way of thinking or a new focus in order to break through what’s been holding them back on the course and life. What can you take away from this for your game that can open some new doors that had previously been closed?

And here’s another rambling that will mean something different to everyone with regards to golf…and life that may or may not have anything to do with Bubba Watson and the 2012 Masters…you decide:

Happiness = Growth (or improvement)

Here’s why – We get used to everything!  No matter how great your game is. No matter how big your house is. No matter how good looking your partner is….you get used to it and the great feelings you once had when you first got that, will always fade.

Therefore, the only thing that brings us sustained high enjoyment is the chase for the better game, not a score for any single round.

Let me hear your opinions on any of this below….


Greens and fairways,


p.s. that last thing just popped into my head as I was writing this.  It meant something to me, I hope it does for you.



Posted by
April 10, 2012 in Misc
  • Hacker says:

    Happiness only equals growth for the person that doesn’t understand happiness. Golf happiness for the master and the hacker is the act of facing the challenge and experiencing our own perfection in each moment on the course. Ask any pro on the senior tour or any weekend hacker that knows his game will never go beyond a certain point because he will never have enough time to invest.

    • Craig says:

      Hacker, Not sure I agree with your take on happiness. Many people don’t need to understand anything to be happy, they just feel happy and therefore, they are and without growth or the striving to improve in some way, it’s temporary. I do like your golf happiness definition though. Dissect it. You will see that inside that statement is growth.

  • Jan says:

    Tiger,Tiger,Tiger…. Tired of hearing about him. He goes thru coaches like he goes thru women. Changing constantly, never satisfied. He treated his fellow golfers as if they were beneath him. After the melt down, his great fall from glory, he will never again be the best. He will never be satisfied with his life. I don’t know what you call it, but he’s got mental issues. Now Bubba…., he’s care free, has got the American Dream morals, is appreciative, and isn’t arrogant . Wow, what a refreshing human being. I’m a fan. And he respects women. Goodbye Tiger, Hello Bubba!!!

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for the thoughts Jan. I’m with you…rooting for more Bubba and golfers like him

  • Michael B. Kovner says:

    Hi Craig,
    Here is a video in which Bubba describes his practice routine (or lack thereof): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-hiV3sL3s

    To summarize, Bubba uses the range just to loosen up, not to worry about mechanical thoughts, or about where the ball is going. “At home,” Bubba says he doesn’t even go to the range. His only ‘practice’ is playing golf.

    Would you say that this philosophy towards practice contributed to his success during a pressure-packed Sunday afternoon? Specifically, do you think it helped him pull off one of the most ‘clutch’ shots in major history?

    Mike Kovner

    • Craig says:

      Hi Mike, thanks so much for writing this. I love it!! I’d say his whole attitude toward golf
      puts him in a great place to maximize his talent and potential. He really trusts his game
      to show up…even when he is under heavy pressure and very nervous…it still shows up!
      Awesome. My new hero….

  • So you are standing over in the bushes on the second play-off hole in the Masters with an apparently almost impossible shot. You either make up your mind to attempt to do what you think that you can do in that situation that will produce the best results for you. Once you have done that, you then determine how well you can do what needs to be done and then do it!
    Not many can think that far enough through that sequence of thoughts and then go ahead and do it.

    • Craig says:

      Hi Bob, So true. Then again, maybe he didn’t do any of that and just said to himself: “I always attack”
      I also read in an article that his motto is: “If I have a swing, I’ve got a shot.”

  • gary says:

    Craig you have made one great point about the happiness = growth. We can remember that in our own game and life. I want to thank you for the insight and I hope I will always carry that with me and to pass that wisdom to my children and grandchildren. I have been staying at a 14 handicap for a number of years and can not seem to break that barrier. I have enjoyed your wisdom and inputs for a long time now.
    thank you

    • Craig says:

      Thanks Gary. You see, you are enjoying my stuff because you are interested in GROWTH for yourself and your family. Your handicap staying stuck has
      nothing to do with it. Keep on learning!

  • Michael J. Cleary says:

    Only Mike Keane said what Bubba is about-practice, practice,practice!!! He is the first to say that during matches he works 6-7 hours a day all week. And his father would remind him to practice not just play. If it were up to Bubba he would have just played rounds of golf. So all you parents out there should take heart in the fact that you are right to have your kids practice. And for the statement about moving your kids to Florida in your quest for their game, remember that Bubba grew up in Florida. I wonder what his father would have done if they lived in North Dakota.

    • Craig says:

      Good point about Florida Michael. Certainly, if you want to get to the tour, you’ve got to practice. But every wannabe golf pro practices like crazy. Hundreds of thousands of kids practice all day every day trying to make it. Hard work and practice are the baseline for the tour. Bubba’s got something more…

  • Mike Keane says:

    Interesting views. Now we have two,,, Jim Furyk & Bubba Watson. They prove the old adage,,,, it ain’t how, it’s how many ! Physics would say that at the point of impact, he’s perfectly square and his momentum into the ball sends it a mile. Simple. Too many handicap golfers are trying to emulate the top pros,,, top quality equipment, the perfect swing etc etc. We all have had that brillant round when we had a great score and usually the reason is that we were relaxed, had few expectations on the day and we could “see” every putt regardless of distance. Look at Padraig Harrington in Augusta, he was putting for birdie on most holes but they just didn’t fall,,,,great putts that just didn’t go in. Remember also, the pros are at work on the golf course, we’re at play. How good is Phil, Tiger, Bubba or Rory at fixing their car, building a fence, making cheese ???? they do what they do, we do what we do. Stop thinking about it and enjoy it. There’s no magic formula but if you want to be better, practice practice practice, especially from 15yds or less because this is the shot you need when you miss the green.

    • Craig says:

      Couldn’t have said it any better Mike. Except that I don’t practice…I just “warm up” before every round 🙂

      • Steve Elston says:

        The lesson that most beginners/hackers can take from Bubba is that you don’t have to hit it straight. You can play that big slice and keep it in play. Too many golfers line up straight down the middle even though they’ve sliced 99 out of the last 100 drives, and are amazed that they’ve hit a slice! If you don’t have the time to learn to hit it straight or straighter, play your slice!

        • Craig says:

          Excellent point Steve, thanks for commenting! Bruce Lietzke played a slice his whole career and won with it.
          Greens and fairways,


  • Michael Breid says:

    Swing Coach? Ask Michelle Wie about a swing coach. Why would you try to tweak something as beautiful as that. Better off with a thought coach, teaching management and a way to have some fun while you work. Good onya Bubba, my best rounds have been nervous and a pleasant surprise at the end, not knowing just how good the round was. Anyone know a good trick just to allow great things to happen?

    • Craig says:

      The trick I use is this: It’s an “AND” world. Meaning…I can feel nervous AND sink this putt. I can be scared to death of this thin fairway AND I’m going to put on that spot in the middle of it. Start “ANDing” your emotions and that will allow your body (unconscious mind) to play the shots.


  • eddie court says:

    Your views on Bubba are very interesting,however, I believe without being taught the basics when starting out the average player would play like a donkey. you have to say the guy who came second has a beautyfull conventional golf swing, could you ever see Bubba holing his second at the masters, I know there has to be an element of luck in a shot like that, but it happened.

    Congratulatons to Bubba and all who toook part in the Masters. It made compusive viewing here in the Uk.

    All the very best for the future.


    Eddie court

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for comment Eddie. I totally agree that golfers need the basics…however, they DONT need perfection in order to break 80 and even pros DONT need perfection to win the Masters!


  • Charlie Storm says:

    I’ve always thought Tiger should drop his swing coach and put his clubs up for a spell. He’s been altering his swing with 3 different swing coaches. By putting his clubs aside for a couple months maybe he could find his own swing and start playing Tiger golf instead of a mixture of Butch, Hank and Sean’s swings. He knows more about his swing than anyone.

    • Craig says:

      Hi Charlie, I agree. Funny how Tiger could be a better golfer in the past BEFORE all his swing changes. I wonder how many average golfers this applies to?

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