This week, I re-posted one of my most viral blog posts – the top myths in golf. Fittingly, hours later, Jim Furyk shot the lowest round ever recorded in a PGA tour event – breaking the 60 mark for the second time in his career.
What can we learn from this (apart from the fact I have impeccable timing)?
#1 – Function VS Style
Jim Furyk has a very functional swing – this cannot be denied. His ability to repeat the desired end result and get the job done has landed him over 66 million in career earnings. But if you were unaware of who this player was while standing on the range, you would likely scoff at the style with which he swings the stick.
His overly close set-up, where his hands are basically on his legs and the ball is addressed out of the heel of the club.
Or his incredibly steep backswing takeaway.
Or his steep left arm at the top – you certainly couldn’t put a towel under that right arm and have it stay there. And look how un-rotated his hips are, and how bent his right leg is.
What about the dramatic difference in backswing (red) and downswing (yellow) clubhead planes?
Or how “stuck” and behind-him the club is coming into impact.
What about how trapped his right arm is and how across the chest his left arm is at impact – as well as that back foot raising up very early.
And just look how open his shoulders are at impact!
But that’s exactly where golfers and the golf industry go wrong – they get so obsessed with the look of a swing that they chase a false ideal at the expense of function.
Don’t get me wrong, Furyk has plenty in his swing to copy – some great technical moves that the majority of the World’s best players have. More importantly, he gets that club on the ball effectively – a point I am constantly laboring. However, you would never look at Furyk’s swing and say
That’s a model I am going to try and copy
And it’s a shame, because (to coaches who know), there are a ton of great elements in Furyk’s swing. Just because the movement doesn’t pass the ‘symmetry test’ or have clean lines and single-planes, most people class him as an anomaly. Well, this anomaly has just racked up one hell of a long and successful career.
Maybe it’s about time you started to re-examine what is truly important to playing good/great golf. Read that line again!
#2 – Golf is Inconsistent
This week, Furyk shot
- 3 over
- 4 under
- 2 over
- 12 under
15 shots difference between best and worst scores, and 14 shot swing from one day to the next. Yet YOU complain when you shoot 38 stableford points one week and follow it up with 29 (9 shot swing).
Golf, by its very nature, is inconsistent. While there are things you can do to become more consistent, the fact that golf is so variable is inescapable. In fact
The only thing consistent about golf is its inconsistency
So deal with this fact – stop seeking consistency and just get BETTER! The best players are bouncing around with the same highs and lows that you are, they are just doing it at a different level.
A pros scores (purple) versus amateurs (blue)
Do the things that will make you a better player overall. Rather than chasing the mythical beast of consistency, start working on things that make a real difference to your game.
Get Out Of Your Own Way
At the end of the round, Jim said this in an interview;
Find a way to stay out of your own way, don’t let any thoughts in
That’s right – when good players are playing well, they have an ability to either just let it happen – like Tiger in this video below.
Or, they have specific cues or routines that allow them to stay in that zone and quieten that little voice in your head that screws you up when things are going well. For example, I use specific counting routines in my own golf (neutral foci) which help to relax me and allow my golf to be performed more automatically. I describe many of these in The Practice Manual.
This is not to say that playing free of thought is always optimal – it is more to say that when you are playing well and have found ‘the zone’, don’t screw it up by suddenly telling yourself “Oh, I just shot 23 points on the front nine, now I had better really concentrate hard”.
A lesson For All
Hopefully, Furyk’s 58 will be another stark reminder to the average golfer that how something looks is rather irrelevant when you can get the club on the ball effectively. And that is what all the great golfers have in common. This is why I developed The Strike Plan – it was a way of conveying this message and showing golfers how they can directly improve the things which make all the top pros so good at the game.
In fact, Furyk was one of the swings I analyzed in the video series. To find out more about The Strike Plan, click the image below.
- Re-evaluate what is important to great golf – Furyk blows apart most of what golfers call ‘technically correct’.
- Seek to become better, not more consistent.
- Learn how to get out of your own way – it’s an important skill to work on.