Crio’s Q: Nature vs Nurture

One of my petty prejudices is against left-handed golfers. I cower as they take stance, sure the ball is about to clatter in to me on the couch. In summary, they stand on the wrong side of the ball*. I rail against “flop shot” Phil and (yawn) “Snake” Chalmers.
But there’s an exception…and he’s now the Master’s Champion. Somehow even being a “cacky” seems right for someone called Bubba – a golfer who has never had a lesson. Watch him at Augusta. Louis Oosterhuisen, a player I greatly admire, swings in his beautiful , fluid, compact motion. I watch the shaft to direct me to his ball. Bubba steps up. Feet dance, club blurs. I watch his eyes to track his outcome.
“Bubba golf”. It’s great for the game. You suspect that one day his version of rhythm will fail and it will all unravel. I suspect he’s been getting told that since he first smashed one past the stylists.
It’s not coachable. But it is effective.
In AFL Rd1 I watched Josh Kennedy stutter in like Roger Daltrey singing “My Generation”…junior coaches must have grimaced, except his kicks go unerringly straight.
Nature v nurture I guess.
Sometimes it’s best to leave alone what works and for us to celebrate difference.
What is coachable and what should be left to instinct?

*more accurate summary….I am intolerant and illogical!


  1. I was thinking, for example, of J.P.McEnroe’s service stance…”Straighten up son!”.
    Borg’s backhand…”one hand or no reach!”

  2. Max Walker or Malinga’s bowling styles. Can’t imagine anyone coaching those actions.
    Jim Furyk has an even more unorthodox swing than Bubba.

  3. Teddy Demmler flogging them from the sulky…”no oil painting” as they say.

  4. Kenny Perry – watch Champions Tour on Foxtel

  5. An idiosyncatic style is all very well, but the question is whether it is reproducible under pressure. If you have too many variables and moving parts it takes a lot for them to come back into alignment on contact (which is the objective of a sportsman’s ‘action’).
    I love Josh Kennedy for his attack on the ball and engaging quirks. But ‘straight kick’ – give me a break, Crio! Once a year against the Bulldogs is the sorry tale. Leaving out the stutters – he has a bigger hook than Peter Sumich and Peter Flynn combined.
    Might be an interesting future question – who has the putt for your life, or the kick to win a GF? 40 metres out on a 45 angle after the siren – Jack Darling is the one with the nerve and the technique for my Eagles.

  6. Peter,
    Jimmy Bartel is the answer.
    Tiger used to be the putt.

  7. They always said that Jack Nicklaus was a good ordinary putter. But the man you wanted with a 10 foot curler for your life.
    I agree with you about Bartel, but I would be interested to know each club’s ‘clutch goalkicker’. Also the blokes who are good on the run, but not from a set shot. Doers not thinkers. Natanui used to be a case in point, he could kick them on the run from an angle – but not a set shot 30 metres out in front. He is getting more reliable.

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