Saturday, 16 January 2010
"I never look at my swing on tape. When I need to fix errors, I go back to the fundamentals."
On first glance Jim Furyk could be easily mistaken as one of many journeyman Tour Pros. His walk, his talk, his unassuming presence on stage make him one of the most appealing nice guys on tour. But what stands this unsuspecting Super Star from his illustrious crowd of 21st Century challengers is one totally unique and quite awesomely effective reflex action. Trained, shaped, groomed and driven his entire life through the wisdom of a great father, Jim and Mike Furyk have single handedly paved a brick road of solid gold for all others to follow. With a golf swing like no other, one totally unique, individual to the man who owns it, the family Furyk are hard evidence that the art of ball control is not and will never be a sure fire black and white notion printed on a page or imprinted in the mind. For as long as human beings are born as they eventually die, as unique bodies, with totally individual tendencies, of vastly diverse views, opinions, beliefs and capabilities, never, and I repeat, never will the game of golf fall victim to one single method of golf swing technique.
As a former University of Arizona team member, Jim Furyk never owned much of a golf game. A regular high 70 low 80 shooter, Jim had a tough time adjusting to the demands of life as an aspiring PGA Tour Player. Clearly a naturally gifted talent, one built not on length but acute accuracy, he had the talent but did the swing fit? That was the question Jim Furyk was constantly faced with and no doubt left lying alone for many a waking hour in bed every night. From study of his early college scoring you are left asking one question;
What was going on in this dudes head?
With a swing all of his own, the kid from West Chester, Pennsylvania was about to encounter the kind of mental aggravation typically reserved for the socially inept. From pillar to post this young stars natural instincts were to be torn, tampered and down trodden to the point of near massacre. If it didn't look like a Tour Players Swing then how could it ever perform like one? From the very beginning of his college days, this future US Open Champion, with the swing once described with reference to an Octopus falling out of a tree, was about to begin the most rewarding three year training period of his career. Unlike anything he ever imagined it would be, Jim Furyks college grooming would fast become one of pure mental conditioning. Having to maintain a clear focus on the goal set before him whilst accepting all levels of critical swing punishment, self doubt and confidence damaging confusion. Which way to turn and how long before you can trust it?
Moving away from the natural instincts of his youth and raw talent that decided his future goals at the top of the game soon became a daily ritual for Jim. Pulled one way, then another, do I change, do I just go play, which way shall I play today?
This my reader, is the commonly polluted mindset of many an aspiring teenager with a bag full of talent. Fully ingrained with unique reflex actions commonly known as technique, the world is littered with potential greatness and potential boundary pushing revelations. Is it to bold a statement to express distaste and appall towards the many 'Swing Connoisseurs', the techno scientists that quite frankly don't fully appreciate what the greatest players of the past so readily did in their own quest for the only thing that mattered, 'Ball Control'. Before the day of still photography and video playback, these guys only had one thing on their minds, controlling the golf ball better than the next guy, if they did that then the good times would eventually roll, and roll, on and on and on. Never did they go in search of something else, a new swing or in vogue method of presenting the golf club to the golf ball. From the moment their first ball was struck, the Nelsons, Hogans, Sneads, Thompsons and Nicklaus's of our great pastime all struck upon one clear ideal. Each and every one of them pursued the game with an undeniable appreciation for the fundamentals of the address. Not always perfect and to a model, but always in sync and perfectly tuned to themselves as individuals. Through hard work and total dedication to the art of ball control the greatest of the greats had complete trust in their own golf swing. Put simply, they each owned their golf swing and as a result, had total trust in themselves and reflex actions even during the moments of intense pressure.
So as you can begin to see, a young Jim Furyk, torn apart for the sake of his natural look, his god given looping golf swing. As much as it was nearly the death of him, the resulting torment has ultimately instilled the level of mental toughness demanded of the situations his very own, eventually mature golf swing has so consistently presented before him. The cruel reality of the modern game so nearly destroyed the boundless possibility of a man who shall undoubtedly be remembered as a funny looking swinger capable of striking the ball straighter than most.
For me, I shall prefer to remember this man as a testament to the individual. A man so strong mentally he has managed to sustain and achieve with a natural reflex for delivery of the golf club like no one before him. Lets all take a lesson from the Furyk's and seek nothing more than a total respect and understanding for all that truely matters in the art of ball control. Golfers everywhere should take note of the four key elements of great ball striking that Jim holds closest to the heart of his game.
GRIP./ Because the hands have the greatest influence over the club face.
ALIGNMENT./ The body lines have the greatest influence over the direction of the swing and ball.
BALL POSITION./ Has the greatest influence over the correct angle of approach into the golf ball.
DISTANCE CONTROL./ Controlling the rhythm of his swing enables total control of swing speed.
He swears by them, so should you.
There really is nothing else at the heart of a great swing other than a winning ATTITUDE. Engage in the process and submerge yourself in the understanding of these four basic elements and I guarantee you are well on your way to being the golfer you have always strived to be.
Enjoy the triP.