Bubba and TPC Sawgrass can’t see eye to fairway.

Bubba has never had much success at TPC Sawgrass, often looking uncomfortable on many tee boxes. Now, after some interviews with Bubba, light has been shed on why this massively creative ADHD golfer has problems with this Dye-abolical golf course. It all has to do with how Bubba builds his movie on tee shots.

“Around this golf course it’s very challenging for me,” Watson admitted. “When I look down No.1 and No.10, just to give you an example, when you look down those, it’s hard to tell the fairway and the rough. It all kind of blends in together. To me, I don’t like to look at a tree and aim at a tree. I like to see the lay of the land and that’s how I hit my shots. So it’s very difficult when you look at a golf course like that. So it makes it difficult for me.“[1]

What Bubba is saying is that he finds the part of the fairway he wants to land the golf ball and then thinks about how to shape it to the landing area. This method is no different than the optimum way to build a movie; visualizing putting the ball into the hole.

With putting you start at the hole, then look to see whether there is a fall line. If there is a fall line, you then picture what is the speed in which you want the ball going into the hole. Once you have this information, it is easy to build a movie of the ball going from its starting position into the hole. The best movies start at the hole and work backwards.

Bubba is doing the same thing off the tee; building a movie backwards from the landing spot. The problem with TPC Sawgrass is that there are many optical illusions that throw you off. This makes Bubba have as the same problems of executing a tee shot with trust as someone trying to execute a putt when they are having problems finding the fall line.

Without a proper instinctive movie visualizing the ball arriving at the target, Bubba is less likely to be able to commit to the shot with abandon.

The second issue is that ADHD golfers focus better with defined rewards. For Bubba at TPC Sawgrass, the reward of the ball landing in the fairway is not apparent and thus his interest, focus and commitment waver.

For Bubba or any other ADHD golfer, you must implement an alternate reward system in your routine that fits the golf course.

During a practice round have a friend or second fore caddy ride out and place a flag in the fairway on the ideal landing spot. Have the golfer identify the tree/pole in the distance that lines up with the flag. Hit several shots to the selected target. Then take photos of what you were looking at with the flag in the fairway as well as photos of the results.

By reviewing the photos, focusing on the flag, alignment of tree/pole in the distance and photos of the positive results, you can trigger the memories of each flag position and the reward of the shots that landed near the target flag. When tournament time arrives, it will be very easy to look at the distant target and then visualize a pretend flag sitting in the fairway. Think of this as assisted visualization.

With the above mentioned method, Bubba or any other golfer who needs to “see the reward of the ball landing in the fairway” will be able to better visualize his/her shot, thus fully committing to the shot.

What about the other majors for Bubba?

With the US Open being at the redesigned Pinehurst #2, Bubba will have no problems off the tee. With the rough having been stripped out and replaced with sandy waste areas, the fairway visually pops out from its surroundings. Bubba’s method of building a movie will be a piece of cake.

However, with the British Open you have those old links courses where it is hard to tell where the fairway ends and the mess begins. At the Open, using fairway flags during a practice round should be a best practice for any golfer, including Bubba.

[1] Devil Ball Golf: Bubba Watson and TPC Sawgrass do not love each other, according to Bubba Watson

Where Bubba’s “Creativity” Comes From

It ain't easy winning green twice!
It ain’t easy winning green twice!

From the normal world, ADHD may seem like chaos, off the wall, out of the box, and even crazy. However, once you have your brain wrapped around what ADHD brings to the table, the traits that lead to gifts and/or peril are often quite predictable.

No ADHD trait shakes heads like an ADHD person demonstrating immense creativity. However, the roots of this creativity are pretty strait forward. The roots of creativity come from distractibility.

It is known that when the neocortex is streaming information that is familiar, it runs on chemical autopilot. When the neocortex is streaming new experiences, it has a “chemical party” that an ADHD brain craves. This is one of the reasons ADHD people are distractible and/or become bored with routine.

Everyone “oohs and aahs” over Bubba’s distance. However, Bubba’s short game feel and creativity are “off the charts good.”

So when an ADHD golfer explores his/her short game, they are constantly trying new shots, new lies and new clubs. This exploration of new experiences allows an ADHD golfer to be able to predict more of the available shots around the green. This type of exploration is second nature to an ADHD golfer.

The other advantage with the ADHD method of exploring the short game area, is that they often do so with a child-like playground mentality. This mindset becomes part of the generalized model of the ADHD golfers short game in their neocortex. Thus, under the crunch, they are more likely to have the playground mindset rather feel pressure.

On Saturday, when Bubba needed to get up and down with a difficult chip shot to stay in the final pairing on Sunday, he almost dunked it. A diverse set of experiences, his playground mentality plus ADHD hyperfocus gave Bubba an edge over everyone else with a similar shot that day. He executed that creative shot with eyes of a child.

It is Bubba’s talent plus his “ADHD bred” width of experiences, that have led to his out of the box play and critically acclaimed creativity.