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Swing Sequence: Bubba Watson

• Tips Plus Video: Breaking down Watson's swing

April 2009
Swing Sequence: Bubba Watson

TONING IT DOWN

I know people think I'm trying to hit the ball as far as I can, but over the years, I've actually tried to calm that down. I'm hitting it shorter now because I'm trying to hit more fairways. When I'm on the tee, that's all I'm thinking about. In the long run, I know it's going to be better for my scoring. On the Nationwide Tour in 2005, I averaged 334 yards. The next year, my first year out here, I was at 319 yards, and now I'm down to about 315. Even on drivable par 4s, I'm laying up a lot of times. Why risk getting in all that trouble when I know I can hit a lob wedge close? -- Bubba Watson
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Born: 11/5/1978 | Height: 6-feet-3
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Swing Sequence: Bubba Watson

A MIGHTY LASH

Bubba has the most dynamic swing on tour
When you watch Bubba Watson's driver swing in real time, you're left with the impression that it's violent, powerful, and he's moving in ways and at speeds most golfers can't. But when you see it in super-slow motion—oh, my—there are things he does that seem to defy biomechanics.

For instance, he makes a distinct move toward the target before he has completed his backswing. You read that right: The club is going backward while he's going forward. Imagine how much torque that creates. Then there is his awesome leg action. Perhaps no other golfer on tour uses the ground as a power generator as well as Watson does. Both feet literally spring upward as he hits the ball. And swing speed? His driver is moving so fast, the weight of the clubhead actually forces the shaft (2X stiff) to flex away from the target before impact (see Frame 6). No wonder he has led the tour in driving distance the past three years.

"There are elements in his swing that you see in many of the greats—Norman's hovering of the club at address, Nicklaus' vertical takeaway and incredible hip and shoulder turns, Furyk's re-routing of the club—but no one I've ever seen does all of the things he does," says Golf Digest Teaching Professional Rick Smith. "His swing is power central." The most impressive thing about it, Smith says, is that it requires an intricate series of highly coordinated movements, and Watson is able to repeat them consistently.

"It's not just that he makes a huge backswing or has incredible hip rotation or fast hands," says Smith. "It's how he combines all of those things that makes him so long." Watson says he doesn't give much thought to his swing. He grooved it simply by trying to hit the ball as hard as he could.

"I never work on anything specific," he says. "And when I'm playing golf, I'm thinking about what TV show is coming on, what football game is on. I'm not thinking about mechanics." — Ron Kaspriske
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