BUBBA WAT­SON

Golf World (UK) - - CONTENTS -

My seven sim­ple tips for play­ing bet­ter golf.

What is Bubba Golf?

For me, it’s about cre­at­ing the shot, cre­at­ing a mo­ment. I don’t care if it’s in a ma­jor or it’s just me at my house. You’re try­ing to cre­ate a mo­ment, a shot, a feel­ing that makes you smile and want to come back and play golf again.

Why do you hit it so far?

It’s tech­nique, but I’m not think­ing about it. I never dreamed of try­ing to hit it fur­ther than ev­ery­body else, it’s just what I do. Back when I was six years old my swing was past par­al­lel be­cause that’s what I dis­cov­ered I needed to do to hit plas­tic balls fur­ther in my yard. It made me swing faster and got me five feet fur­ther. My dad just said hit it as hard as you can and have fun with it. From there, you’ve got to fig­ure out how to tighten it up. I just kept get­ting bet­ter and had to work out how to hit fair­ways.

What else did your dad teach you?

The first thing he taught me was the grip – and the im­por­tance of what the club­face was do­ing at im­pact. It’s like Jim Furyk. He has a funky swing at the top but it’s what hap­pens at im­pact that mat­ters and he’s one of the top golfers in the world at im­pact. There’s never been two golfers that swing the same. All the greats in the game have a dif­fer­ent style of play­ing, a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing. But they’re all re­ally good and re­ally con­sis­tent right at im­pact. My dad made me just swing around im­pact, so it got my hands used to the feel­ing of square. Now when I move the ball it’s all about my hands leav­ing it a lit­tle open to cut it or clos­ing it a lit­tle for a hook.

What are the most com­mon mis­takes you see from hand­i­cap golfers?

It’s think­ing they’re bet­ter than they are. They’re tak­ing a 7-iron be­cause one time they hit it 180 yards and now they think that’s sup­posed to hap­pen ev­ery time. But the key is they don’t prac­tice. Just be­cause it looks like I don’t prac­tice, I do. The first thing you tell am­a­teurs to prac­tice is the short game but they all want to get the driver out and ham­mer it. But you need to prac­tice, and es­pe­cially the short game.

What ad­vice would you give to am­a­teurs on the short game?

It’s great to be able to hit it 350 yards off the tee but if I miss a three-footer that counts the same. If you can prac­tice from five feet and in then when you chip it to five feet you can make six out of 10, which is great for an am­a­teur. That’s go­ing to lower your scores. You’ll get con­fi­dence and you’ll see that prac­tic­ing does help.

How do you hit dif­fer­ent chip shots?

Most golfers are dif­fer­ent to me and they’re go­ing to use equip­ment, so they’ll use dif­fer­ent clubs from a 60° wedge to a 7-iron to change the height. But I use a 63° all the time. I hood it and hit down on it to get it com­ing out lower and I open it up to cre­ate more height. Also, the far­ther back the ball is in your stance the lower the ball will come out and it’s eas­ier to get the ball high if it’s fur­ther for­ward.

How do you ap­proach putting as such a nat­u­ral feel player?

It’s still about tech­nique – and when I say tech­nique, I mean it’s a pat­tern be­cause you’ve done it so much that you know how to cre­ate what you want to cre­ate. In putting, that’s straight back and straight for­ward. Some golfers open and close the blade a lit­tle but the most im­por­tant thing is that you’re con­sis­tent. I prac­tice five foot­ers all the time. There’s no se­cret to it. It’s just more prac­tice and trust­ing your reads and stroke. You also need to keep your head down be­cause most am­a­teurs look up be­cause they want to see if it went in.

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