I’ve been a fan of Bubba Watson for years now (see an earlier post here). It also came as no surprise that he won The Masters yesterday in a playoff from Lois Oosthuizen.

I’m not sure how true it is that he has never had a golf lesson – but I’m certain that he doesn’t let thoughts of technique get in his way. He might be the most uninhibited golfer in the pro ranks right now and he absolutely is more fun to watch than many other of the robotic pros.

So what can you learn from Bubba?

While it’s unlikely you’ll start hitting 375 yard drives by letting go, you’ll definitely start hitting the ball further. Conscious control (and worry about your swing) only tightens your mind and muscles. When you truly let go you’ll find some extra distance for sure. This is perhaps the only thing you can do to find more power – all of the tips and tricks you read in golf magazines do not work. Even a new driver is unlikely to give you too much distance.

Practice like Bubba. “Practice” might be the wrong word here because Bubba doesn’t like to practice. When he’s on the fairway he’s either warming up or playing the game. Rumor has it that Tiger Woods has watched him during these warm up sessions and marveled at how he maneuvers the ball with every club in the bag. While most of the pros (and every other golfer on the planet) are aiming for perfection and trying to fly the ball exact distances, Bubba is hitting shots that feel good to him. Anyone for a 176 yard pitching wedge?

Next time you’re on the practice fairway, take a deep breath and explore a little. How far can you hit your nine iron? Or how high can you hit a 6 iron. Or how low? This is playing the game and is helping you learn better technique. It’s better than the normal way too because you’re not going to get bogged down with the thought of doing something wrong. It’s actually fun. When was the last time you had fun during a practice session?

The real fun comes when you’re out on the course and you can try these new shots you’ve learned. The golfing world stood in awe as Watson hit that low and hooking 160 yard wedge into the 2nd playoff hole, but the truth of the matter he does this kind of stuff all the time. It’s nothing new (or special) to Bubba because that’s the way he plays the game.

Bubba’s big advantage is his ability to do things his way. He doesn’t worry about his swing or the fact he is a little different. He embraces it. And this to me is going to be the future of golf instruction. We have potentially reached the limit of how much we’re ever going to know about swing mechanics and technique – but there’s still plenty to learn about coaching and human performance.

I’m positive that Bubba Watson would have failed if he was accepted into certain golf programs around the world. The well meaning golf coaches would have shortened his swing, squared his stance and told him not to move his feet. He would have been told to practice more and work on these things until they were natural. The problem would be that they never would have felt comfortable and the golfing world would have missed out on a real golfing genius.

Learn to ignore those that try and change the things that feel good to you. Is squaring your stance really going to help you? Is that curved ball flight really that bad? Is rebuilding your golf swing going to help you or hinder you?

There’s a lot to say about having a good stance and swing. But it’s more important that you’re not afraid to play golf the way you really want – and if that means breaking a few rules then so be it. The world needs more golfers like Bubba Watson.

If you enjoyed watching Bubba play yesterday then I challenge you to “be like Bubba”. What can you do that challenges the norm but makes golf more fun?