Swing Sequence: Bubba Watson

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Swing Sequence: Bubba Watson

May 03, 2011

• Tips Plus Video: Breaking down Watson's swing

A MIGHTY LASH

Bubba has the most dynamic swing on tourWhen 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

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Hands in, club out. Bubba does this to control the face rotation and avoid a snap hook.Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

To turn back as far as he does, he has to kick his front knee toward the ball.Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

His hips are almost done turning, but the club is just getting to impact.Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Before he takes the club back, his body drifts away from the target. He wants to get as far behind the ball as possible.Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Here's the torque: The club is still going back, but his front knee has started forward (compare with inset photo).Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

He creates great club speed with his legs. First his knees thrust forward. Then he pushes off the ground. And what lag!Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

His front foot is rotating toward the target to accommodate a huge hip turn.Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

One thing I'd change is this move away from the target. It's one of the biggest reasons he's prone to snap hooks. The club closes too easily.Swing analysis by Rick Smith, Golf Digest Teaching Professional

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