I’ve never watched any Bubba Watson swing sequences or slow-motion video — until now. After seeing what I just saw, I have to admit that I’m in awe. Or maybe I’m in shock.
It’s like Bubba took every great power-move from the history of golf and used them to create the Frankenstein of golf swings.
Bubba takes pieces of swings from (just to name a few): John Daly, Fred Couples, Jack Nicklaus, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, and Paula Creamer. But he didn’t knowingly borrow the nuts and bolts of his swing.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Bubba got his first set of clubs when he was 7. The closest to formal golf instruction came from his hacker of a father, Gary. He taught Bubba to swing hard, find the ball, and hit it again. Hard. “People say, ‘Quiet your hips, move your elbow,’ ” Watson said. “I don’t have a clue what that means. I just hit it.”
The method works for Bubba. He’s second on the PGA Tour in driving distance…oh, and he’s currently 12th in the world rankings and second in the FedEx points standings.
Characteristics of Bubba Watson’s Golf Swing
• Strong grip
• Late setting of the wrists
• Wide arc in the backswing
• Gets behind the ball and onto his back leg in the backswing
• Extremely steep backswing
• High hands at the top of the backswing
• Front heel is several inches off the ground at the top of the backswing
• Goes WAY past parallel at the top
• Front foot starts the downswing, before the backswing is completed
• Posts the front leg in the downswing but has virtually no lateral movement, so he hangs on his back leg
• Big dip of the head in the downswing, using the ground for leverage
• Heels of both feet are off the ground after impact
Bubba Watson Swing Flaws
Smashgolf has an interesting article on Bubba’s swing flaws. Here’s one of them:
“[At address,] Bubba’s leading foot (the right one, as he’s a lefty) is too square to the target line. Peter Kostis mentions how Bubba’s foot comes off the ground…but Kostis doesn’t tell you why–it’s because Bubba’s ankle would snap if he didn’t.
Solution: Bubba needs to take his address stance with his leading foot flared to the target, perhaps as much as 45 degrees. That would allow him to turn naturally and fully through the impact zone without having to ballet dance on the tee box.”
I doubt Bubba cares.
So, will Bubba ever change his Frankenstein swing, in the quest to win more often? I don’t think Bubba could do that, even he wanted to.
Bubba Watson Swing Sequences
Compare Bubba Watson’s Golf Swing To
• Jack Nicklaus (steepness of the backswing, hip and shoulder turns, front foot starting the downswing before the backswing has ended)
• John Daly (of course)
• Fred Couples (steepness of the backswing)
• Jim Furyk (hips wide open, prior to impact)
• Sergio Garcia (lag)
• Paula Creamer (head dip, using the ground for leverage)
Bubba Watson Video Vault
There are megs and megs and megs of Bubba swing video online. Here is a sampling.
Bubba, driver, SwingVision:
Bubba, practice round at Augusta, down the line, iron:
Bubba, face on, iron:
And this is insane. At the Ping facility Bubba uses a right-handed driver from the left side and hits the ball 305 yards:
Video that analyzes Bubba’s amazing shot at the 2012 Masters: