Bubba Unleashes Driver Off The Deck

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

Bubba Watson is one of the most creative players on the PGA Tour, so he likes to try every shot imaginable should a situation call for it. Last week during the second round of The Northern Trust, Watson faced a 319-yard second shot into the mammoth par-5 13th hole. 

With no serious trouble up near the green, Bubba pulled the headcover off his driver for the second consecutive shot and managed to get the ball near the green to get up-and-down for his second of four straight birdies. 

The shot isn’t for everyday use, but if the situation is right, let it fly. Here’s how you can add this shot to your bag.

The Lie and Scenario

  • The situation has to be just right for this shot to work. First, there must be no hazards in play up near the green or any forced carries. This shot can go sideways quick given the lack of loft we will be using. The priority is on distance versus accuracy.
  • Just like Bubba’s shot, the priority was getting the ball around the green and he was fine with a relatively big miss. Always check where the worst miss could leave you. If there isn’t a huge risk you have the green light.
  • The last check before you look to execute the shot is double-checking the lie. A medium-height fairway or even closely-mown second cut is perfect for the weekend warrior to give this shot a try. Make sure the lie is even; the slightest amount of ball above or below your feet will minimize the chances of pulling this shot off and maximize your misses.

The Setup and Swing

  • Play the ball just behind where you normally play your driver from off the tee. We do this because we aren’t using a tee (obviously) and need to sweep the ball. The position slightly back will put the ball at the low-point of the swing.
  • Next, open your stance and club face. Opening the clubface slightly will add a few degrees of loft to our driver and help elevate the trajectory. Opening your stance will make it easier to attack the ball with a shallow swing plane. The shallow angle of attack is key to achieve the sweeping motion we need to hit this shot.
  • Finally, remember to save your power for the bottom of this shot. A smooth tempo and transition will allow you to release and unleash all the speed at the ball and through the shot.