Watson shows off swing at Ping facility opening
CELEBRATION, Fla. - We've all seen the Ping commercials where Bubba Watson urges viewers to try going "Bubba long." Friday outside of Orlando, Fla., Watson stopped in at Celebration Golf Club as part of a ceremony to cut the blue ribbon on a beautiful new Ping nFlight Fitting and Teaching Studio, one of three in the country, and he gave a couple hundred attendees an inside look at just how he hits a golf ball as far as he does.
Watson's swing alone is an interesting study. As a left-hander, he wants to remove the right side of the golf course from his equation. So Watson uses as self-proclaimed "dink cut" as his go-to shot, starting from an open setup and working the ball right to left. There's not anything "dinky" about his results, though, as Friday he was smashing drives well over a pond that was 312 yards to carry. His swing speed hovered around 123 mph, and his ball speed was in the 181 mph range.
Matt Rollins, who travels the PGA Tour week-to-week on behalf of Ping and has worked with Watson on his clubs for years, says Watson's swing turns up numbers that he doesn't see with other Ping staffers. For instance, when most players try to swing harder, the spin ratio of the golf ball increases. When Watson swings harder, his ball spins less. All if which makes for some interesting give-and-take when the Ping folks try to fit him into just the right driver. The latest took about a week to get just right.
Bubba's specs on his G-20: It's 44.5 inches long (somewhat 'old school' in length) with 8 degrees of loft. The swingweight is D-4. He uses a Pink True Temper Grafalloy BiMatrx shaft that was introduced in the marketplace a decade ago. ("It's hard for him to turn that shaft over," says Rollins, alluding to Watson's desire not to hook his tee shots.) When Watson does get a driver he likes, he's pretty particular about hitting it. Friday, he would not hit any range balls; instead, he hit new Titleist Pro V1x's straight from the sleeve. He starts with a mid-size grip and puts 12 extra wraps on the bottom and 10 extra wraps near the top of his grip.
There's a reminder rib that keeps the face of the driver 6 degrees open at address. Though Ping has newer iron models, he still plays Ping S59 irons because he loves the feel they produce; he gets a new set each offseason to break in and keeps them in his bag for a year. The lofts vary from 2 degrees upright (2-7) to standard (wedge). He changes out wedges a couple times a year.
Watson, who never has taken a lesson in his life, is an interesting guy. He teed it up with pop star Justin Bieber this week in Atlanta (a video Watson posted via Twitter had nearly 240,000 views within 24 hours). Friday he spent time on the academy practice tee carving shots right and left. He hit a right-handed driver upside-down that soared 315 yards. He said if he had one tip for juniors, it would be "to just have fun with it and be yourself."
And who would like to face in his first Presidents Cup in Australia?
"Aaron Baddeley," he said. "Badds is a good friend of mine, we play golf together in Arizona, and it's his first (Presidents) team, too. It would be fun for our families."