Jim Furyk changed my mind, here’s why he should change yours

October 7, 2010

Watching PGA Tour golf is something that every (even semi) serious golfer ends up doing at some point during the regular season.  Like the talking heads on ESPN and the Golf Channel, every armchair caddy has an opinion on every golfer.  When I began watching golf 3+ years ago, I disliked Jim Furyk’s game.  He always seemed out-of-place for some reason.  Nearly always finishing in the top 10, but never really being in contention.  Super consistent, but with a swing that was once compared by David Feherty to “a squid falling slowly out of a tree.”  I just didn’t understand how someone who always placed in the top 10 could never get the W.  His game is not particularly dynamic, nor does he really have the presence of some of his counterparts.  I’ll admit, having some personality on the course makes me like a golfer, and this was not Mr. Furyk’s strong suit.  Nothing about Mr. Furyk’s game made sense to me:  the double overlap grip?  The insanely long putting routine?  come on!

How could someone who falls well below tour driving distance (Jim 276 – Tour 287) compete so successfully on courses that push 7200 yards every week?  How could someone with a swing that no professional instructor would dare mess with get a diagnosis when he’s running cold?  How could, in short, someone who totally defies the modern image of a Tour professional compete with the power hitters and short game artists that populate the PGA roster?

The answer came to me as I watched this season’s FedEx Cup playoffs:  Furyk understands his particular game better than anyone.  Earlier I mentioned that Jim does not hit the ball as far as most Tour pros.  Now on a good day, this disadvantage is neutralized by pure ball-striking, but what about the bad days?  If you’re consistently hitting the ball 15-20 yards short of your “average” playing partners,” how can you possibly compete on courses that are Tour length?  You don’t have to be a mathematician to realize that tour pros have bad days like everyone, but they all seem to keep their scores impressively low.  Perhaps what has impressed me most is that Furyk can keep up to this lofty professional standard while barely being within squinting distance of the likes of Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson.

I recently read an article Furyk wrote about course management and understanding your own game.  His principles have really resonated with me, and hopefully will help me break 80 this year.  When Furyk’s having a bad day, he’s still hitting fairways and greens.  When he’s not hitting greens, he’s left himself the most reasonable chip or pitch to the hole.  In a word,  Jim is a grinder.  Like you, my really good playing days on the course are not as numerous as my “damn that should have been a 4” days.  What Jim has shown me is that it is possible to hit the ball 270 yards and have a real shot at par.  While we can’t all hit the ball a country mile, we can all take a thoughtful look at our own games and figure out what works for us.

What I was unable to appreciate before was the slow, methodical game.  I did not understand why Furyk would not change something in his game to try to hit the ball further or work the ball a different way.  This year with three victories, the FedEx cup, $10 million, and likely Player of the Year honors, I now understand the value of playing your own game.

See what Jim said to change my mind,  I hope it’ll help you out too.



3 Responses to “Jim Furyk changed my mind, here’s why he should change yours”

  1. D Says:

    I recently switched to a double overlap and I never been striking the ball so solidly, take a look at JF video full speed, this guy really smashes the ball. The only problem with the grip is with the driver distance wise, since this grip is better for striking not sweeping. But JF is way above average in fairways hit. Only one pro is using this grip and he’s usually top 10 in the world.

  2. Greg Says:

    I tried this doubleoverlap grip at the range yesterday and could not believe how well i was striking the ball.i cant wait trying it on the course.

  3. steve Says:

    How about the same “double” concept, but a double INTERLOCKING GRIP ? Interlocking the right pinky between the ring and middle finger instead of the middle finger and pointer finger which is the conventional interlocking grip.

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