17th March 2016

Lessons we can all learn from Bubba Watson

Extracted from the original post on LinkedIn by Steve Price, Chief Creative Officer

As Spring does its springing thing, the skies begin to clear and the sun starts to show its face, my thoughts start to turn to the golf season. I wrote this after Bubba Watson claimed his 2nd Green Jacket back in 2014 on Medium. I thought you guys might like it.

So, my bet for the 2014 Masters Champion, Jordan Spieth, didn’t quite come off. Nevertheless, I was absolutely delighted when the self-confessed ‘freakshow’ from the Florida Panhandle, Bubba Watson, slipped on his second Green Jacket in three years in the Butler Cabin earlier this month.

He actually did it in some style this time around too.

For the uninitiated, Bubba Watson is a complete anomaly in the world of golf. Sport even. He has famously never had a lesson or a swing coach. He was introduced to the game by his dad who then left him to it. It’s bordering on unbelievable that someone could just pick up a sport as technical as golf and find a way to win its greatest tournament completely by their own devices. Twice.

As someone who loves the game but struggles with it equally, it gives me a great deal of belief that I can find a way to play the game reasonably well if I keep persevering. I’m not after winning anything, just a moderately respectable division one handicap will do me fine, thank you very much.

Back to Bubba though, I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from his approach to his chosen career. Of course he has succeeded, which is something we all want, but he has done it completely by his own design and on his own terms.

Good old fashioned values of hard work, honesty, perseverance and having fun are the hallmarks of his success.

Modern-day golf is full of copyists and lemmings all following the latest club, gadget or technique trends in search of lower scores. Not so for Bubba. He just ‘goofs around’ and does it his way. With twelve wraps of tape under the left hand grip and ten under the right of the luminous pink driver with which he sends the ball unfathomable distances, he’s not just a brainless bomb-and-gouge merchant either.

I, like many around the world, watched in disbelief the moment when Bubba secured his first Green Jacket on the second playoff hole during the 2012 Masters. That preposterous hooked wedge from the deepest darkest rough on the right hand side of the 10th fairway fizzed into the centre of the green and broke the spirit of playoff compatriot, Louis Oosthuizen.

Victory for Watson after he hit that magical, memorable, immortal shot seemed assured. And so it proved.

His imagination clearly knows no bounds and, over the years, he must have diligently practiced the kind of shots that most pros would struggle to conjure up in their wildest dreams. Or even if they did, their swing coaches would soon tell them to stop messing around and hit to some yardages.

He might be ever so slightly crackers but sport is entertainment, after all, and Watson is pure box office. His way isn’t the way most travelled and maybe we could all do with straying from the straight-and-narrow once in a while. Heck, it might even be fun!

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