2014 Masters: Bubba Golf and Kaizen Thinking

Posted on April 13, 2014 | in 2014 Masters, Golf, Kaizen, New Ideas, Problem Solving, Sports | by
bubba golf

When Bubba Watson won the Green Jacket in 2012, he used creative and unusual golf shots – “Bubba Golf” shots – few golfers would consider attempting.

Bubba Watson is in the last pairing for the final round of The Masters at Augusta National today. He is a past Masters champion, having won in 2012 in a sudden-death playoff with Louis Oosthuizen after completing 72 holes. Perhaps his most famous shot is his second shot from the right rough on the second playoff hole (hole #10 at Augusta National) – sitting in pine straw deep in the trees, he hooked an iron shot around the trees blocking his view of the flag and landed his shot on the green. Putting in for a one-shot victory over Oosthuizen, Watson referred to this shot as an example of “Bubba Golf”, or considering all the possibilities of types of shots he can hit with his clubs and taking calculated risks by not allowing himself to be limited to conventional wisdom and tradition.

bubba watson masters shot augusta

Bubba Watson had to fight pine straw and tree obstructions to hit a historic shot.

Most golfers in his position probably would have punched back out to the front of the green because it was easy to see and there were fewer obstacles, and then taking a couple of shots to achieve par and avoid disaster. Watson thought differently – perhaps being at an advantage as a left-handed golfer he could draw his ball around the foliage with a lower risk of disaster. Watson indicates that with “Bubba golf” he pushes the limits on what his clubs allow him to do and the shots he is able to hit – anything is a possibility.

“Bubba golf”‘ is a prime example of Kaizen thinking – considering the optimal outcome and evaluating all possibilities for shots that will allow for that outcome or come as close to it as possible. With Kaizen, no ideas are out of consideration without genuine evaluation. Innovation and ingenuity come from such creativity. Genuine Kaizen application means putting all biases aside, asking “why not?” and “what do you think?“, and letting the results be what matters instead of the means by which those results are obtained (aside from taking unrealistic risks).

So often we are obsessed with the tools that can solve problems instead of properly looking at the results we want to achieve and considering how those results are problems solved.

Without Kaizen thinking with Bubba golf, Watson might have laid up and worked to par the second playoff hole two years ago and survived to play another playoff hole with Oosthuizen.

bubba watson green jacket

Bubba Watson is a Masters champion thanks to Kaizen thinking and Bubba golf.

Of course, without Kaizen thinking Watson might not be a Masters Tournament winner.

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