Sense and Sensibility

By : ONE Way Golf Coach, Ray Bikulcius

At the 2012 Masters, on the second playoff hole, Bubba Watson hooked his drive into the trees 163 yards from the hole.  Unfortunately for Bubba, that was 163 yards straight through a Magnolia Tree, Carolina Cherry Tree and a TV tower.  With only an approximate four-foot opening, Bubba was in jail.  Bubba was faced with punching out 100 yards into the fairway or shaping a 52-degree wedge with 45 yards of hook and 7200 rpms of side spin to the middle of the green to win a green jacket.  Bubba Watson used his golf acumen and sensibility to see the shot he wanted to hit.  Most Importantly, he was knowledgeable about his capabilities, the course and the green he was hitting into.  Bubba hooked one of the greatest shots in golf history onto the green at Augusta to win a green jacket.

In competition, our Inner eNviroment is crucial in executing the most sensible shot for success.  Are you knowledgeable?  Are you sensible?  Do you know the maximum yardage amount of each club in your bag?  Your loft and lie?  Do you take high risks shots with low probability of success?

A smart golfer must know precisely how his clubs perform.  Hitting long onto a green can produce an undesirable bunker shot or an unpredictable lie in nasty rough.  Understanding your club’s trajectory will help you decide, in crucial moments, whether to go over a bush or around a tree.  A winning player comprehends the right situation to open the club face or position the ball back in the stance. Try to increase your golf IQ by being as absorptive as a dry sponge.  Every range session provides insight on how you hit your clubs.  Practice rounds will enhance your course knowledge and decision making.  Discuss golf with other golfers and listen to their experience and relate those to your own.

A logical golfer will hit HIS best shot when faced with extraordinary situations.  Hitting a shot that you have practiced will provide more confidence in the execution.  Trying to execute a big bender or high flop when you have never practiced the shot may lead to frustration and a high number.  When faced with a difficult situation, do not use the words, “I’m going to try to hit…”.  Instead, focus on a producing a shot that has been practiced and using creativity to apply it to your situation.  Next time on the range spend time hitting knockdown irons to targets.  Experiment with hooking or fading to see how well you can control the ball.  Use a notebook (or your ONE-Way book) to jot down difficult situations during a round and try to recreate them in practice.

How does this relate back to Bubba?  Try an internet search of ‘Bubba Watson practicing”.  You will find videos of his practice rounds.  During those rounds, he creates scenarios of difficult positions and practices hitting out of them.  His shot at the Masters wasn’t luck.  He extracted a similar situation from practice and applied it to the situation.