The story of Bubba Watson’s signature piece of equipment

Bubba Watson has long been one of the PGA Tour’s most colorful characters — and that even extends to the literal shade of his equipment.

Ever since he made his Tour debut back in 2006, Watson has been turning heads not only with his prodigious drives, but also with his eye-catching hot pink True Temper driver shaft.

So how exactly did the pink shaft come to be? In his recent appearance on the Off Course with Claude Harmon podcast, Watson shared the story.

“The pink shaft started when I was on the, back then it was the Nationwide Tour, Korn Ferry Tour,” Watson began. “I said I want a hot pink shaft. And they said, No. Who are you?

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“So, Shinnecock, the U.S. Open was there in ’04. I qualified in ’04,” Watson continued. “The first hole was downwind, and you know how that hole is — kind of a dogleg to the right. And True Temper — Matt Rollins was at Ping at the time, and he said hey, just come watch him hit before you say no to the driver shaft. And I drove it over the green on 1. And they were like, what color of pink do you want? So we told them and they made it.”

Watson missed the cut at the U.S. Open that year. But after earning his Tour card for the 2006 season, Watson knew he wanted the pink shaft to mean something more.

“My legacy, if it’s about winning golf tournaments, we all fall short, right? Because I’ve only won 12. If you count the Hero World Challenge, I’ve won 13. And I’ve lost 350, you know? So I’m not very good at winning,” Watson said.

“I wanted to do more. I talked to John Solheim, and I talked to Ping. Their company is all black and white: their cars are white, their golf bags are black and white, all these things. So Bubba Watson doesn’t fit the mold for Ping,” Watson said with a laugh. “I talked him into it. I said I want to do this, and I want to raise money for charity. So we started, half the money went to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital right there where Ping is in Phoenix, Arizona, and then the other half went to Studer Family Children’s Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, where I was born and raised, the children’s hospital we just finished a couple years ago.”

Over the years, Ping and Watson’s foundation have raised millions of dollars.

“A couple million each for these drivers,” Watson said. “Now we make special batches that we give to different organizations so they can sell them for charity.”

For more from Watson, including what Watson learned from Tiger Woods and how you can play “Bubba Golf,” check out the full podcast below.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.