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Golf: Bubba Passes The “Feel” Test

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

In the eyes of many golfers Bubba Watson wouldn’t be considered a “feel” player. Not someone you’d attribute great sensitivity to the nuances of the swing and golf clubs.
Bubba’s unique, self-taught, aggressive style gives the impression of someone who couldn’t match the “feel” of  Seve Ballesteros. But not so when you read Michael Bamberger’s, ‘The Sixth Sense: Bubba Watson is golf's ultimate feel player’.

The story goes, ‘One day in January, Watson came to the Ping office and driving range, in industrial Phoenix, where he was subjected to the first SI (Sports Illustrated) So-You-Think-You’re-a-Feel-Player Field Test. He was an excellent sport about it, and he was determined to ace the thing.’

And “ace” it he did with this example of his feel.

‘Later in the FFT (Field Feel Test), Watson was given seven wedges, with lofts of 60, 58, 56, 54, 52, 50 and 47 degrees. The shafts were all the same length. The clubs were jumbled. He could not see the loft markings. He was asked to order them. It was batting practice. Watson went 7 for 7 without a hiccup. If you think it’s easy, test yourself the next time you’re at your neighborhood Golfsmith. Your correspondent, formerly proud of his eye, went 3 for 7, and his complaint that southpaw clubs all look the same to a righthanded duffer elicited no sympathy from Bubba. “Thing is, once you get one wrong, you got two wrong,” he said cheerfully. His logic was flawless.’

There are several examples of Bubba’s “Sixth Sense” and an anecdote that brings to mind Seve who had a ‘party piece’ on the practice ground showing the fans how it’s possible to get out off a deepish bunkers with a 3-iron.
Michael writes, ‘The (FFT) committee considered the stories from his games with friends, when Bubba will shoot even par or better playing with only a four-iron. Yes, greenside sand shots with a four-iron. Sounds like a feel player.’

Michael you’ve just changed my mind about Bubba’s golfing ability.

And continuing on the subject of golfing ability, young Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko has proved that coming close at the women’s New South Wales Open was no fluke. Finishing best amateur at the women’s Australian Open.

News of Lydia also caught my eye in an NZPA report on how, ‘… Ko, too young for the gym, is also a devotee of Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick's resistance training - where fitness and flexibility is enhanced by the use of elasticated ropes and harnesses.’

Now that’s interesting because I’ve recently started using elasticated ropes (resistance bands) for a core strength exercise and in hope that they’ll also improve my “fast twitch” muscles.

 Here’s the link to Michael Bamberger to the NZPA and for more info on how to improve your fast twitch muscles for golf go here

Quote of the Day which should appeal to golfers who share my abhorrence of rangefinders and admire golfers who have a feel for distance.

‘On the Ping range the other day, somebody asked Watson how far away a flag was. More than 45. Less than 50. “Forty-­seven,” Bubba settled on. A Ping man walked out and measured it. Forty-six and change.’



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