Bubba Watson’s win a few weeks ago at the 2012 Master’s has sparked a buzz out on driving ranges across the world. He won a major, maybe the most prized one by the majority of players, and he did it without taking any formal lessons. Actually, I heard somewhere he hadn’t had lessons since he was 10 so maybe he’s had some. I’m not sure which account is accurate, but what does it mean? Nothing actually. I really don’t think it should mean much to golfers at all.
Golf lessons are taken for a variety of reasons. Most students come out either to stop a specific problem or to take their game to the next level. If you are already at that next level and a natural born player, you might not need any lessons. That is IF you are happy with everything in your game and don’t have goals to change it or improve it. Will Bubba improve on his own? That remains to be seen. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the two greatest players of my generation both took lessons and lot of them. They were on a constant journey to be not only the best player in the world, but the best player that they were capable of being.
I’m not saying that Bubba isn’t on that same journey. I do know that he has been up front in his statements that golf isn’t the most important thing in his life. Nor should it be. It leaves one wondering how many majors he will win though. I think most of us hope he wins a lot because he is so likeable, fun and seems to be a good hearted individual. However, with his loose swing and loose emotions, I think some tournaments like the U.S. Open will be very difficult for him to “master”.
As far as lessons go, I have been teaching for 18 years and playing for 36. I have seen very few individuals achieve their goals on their own. I used to try to “fix” my swing on my own and found that sometimes that’s the worst thing you can do. It’s much easier to have an expert send you on your way to a better game with one or two thoughts than to clutter your own head with hundreds of experiments.