Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Furyk swings Authentic Swing, shoots 59

By Steven Pressfield | Published: September 18, 2013

Does anyone beside me know who Jim Furyk is?

Furyk

Jim Furyk swinging his Authentic Swing

Jim Furyk is a 16-time winner on the PGA tour, the 2003 U.S. Open champion—and possessor of the single weirdest, loopiest, most homemade swing on the planet. As I write this on Saturday, September 14th, Jim Furyk has just become the sixth golfer in history to shoot a 59 in PGA competition. He did it yesterday in the second round of the BMW Championship.

Shooting a 59 in competition on the PGA tour is like Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points in an NBA game (which he did in 2006) or Usain Bolt doing anything at all on a running track.

Which brings me to the Foolscap Method and to the notion of the Authentic Swing. Today my new book, The Authentic Swing, becomes available to all First Look Access members, in a special First Look Access bundle of paperback, eBook, and audiobook.

But back to Jim Furyk.

No one in the world has a swing like Jim’s. He stands impossibly close to the ball, grips the club with two fingers of his right hand overlapped; his club starts back “outside the plane,” rises straight up, assisted by a flying right elbow, loops wildly inside at the top of the backswing, then drops into a slot so far inside that Jim’s right elbow brushes his right hip on the downswing, while both knees dip at impact in an action that cannot, cannot, cannot be repeatable under pressure—and yet Jim does it over and over.

That’s the Authentic Swing.

It’s not your Authentic Swing.

It’s not mine.

But it’s Jim Furyk’s.

And yesterday, while Tiger Woods was carding a 72, Jim (who’s Tiger’s good friend) was acing his buddy out by no fewer than thirteen shots.

I read a story about Jim Furyk when he was a kid. His dad was a golf pro. Jim already had that weird loopy swing and, though he was playing great golf for a youngster, he was afraid that he wasn’t “doing it right.” His father worried too. What about the future? Would Jim be able to compete at the highest levels with a swing that violated half the known laws of physics?

Together Jim and his dad worked to straighten Jim out. Father and son got out on the practice tee and labored mightily to bring Jim’s swing closer to “normal.” Jim was actually able to do it. He managed with great effort to swing “the proper way.” But he couldn’t hit the ball. He told his dad, “I can’t feel my swing.”

So Jim went back to his flying-right-elbow, knee-dipping, wildly-looping swing.

The rest, as they say, is history.

So if you’ve watched my videos on the Foolscap Method and you think my style sounds right or proper, take a deep breath and remember:

That’s what works for me.

It might not work for you.

The concept of the Authentic Swing is that each of us is endowed from birth with our own gift, our own style, our own unique talent and point of view. Our job is to find it and bring it forth.

“I believe that each of us possesses,” Bagger Vance began, “one true Authentic Swing that is ours alone. It is folly to try to teach us another, or to mold us to some ideal version of the perfect swing. Each player possesses only that one swing that he was born with, the swing that existed within him before he ever picked up a club. Like the statue of David, our Authentic Swing already exists, concealed within the stone … “

Please, take the Foolscap Method (or anything else I propose) with a major grain of salt. Tweak it. Modify it. Chuck it completely if you don’t like it.

Do what works for you.

If you’ll forgive me for quoting myself twice in a single blog post, here are the last few paragraphs from The Authentic Swing. I swear I did not fudge them to comport with Jim Furyk’s incredible round.

Are you a writer or an artist or an entrepreneur? Don’t copy me. Don’t do it my way. Work at four in the morning if that feels right. Work in the shower, work on the subway, work at the wheel of a moving taxi cab. Start at the end, play backward, write your stuff in Urdu and translate it later.

Do it your way.

Don’t swing Rory’s swing, or Bubba’s, or, for heaven’s sake, Jim Furyk’s. Listen to Bagger.

Swing your Authentic Swing.

[One final note: I’ll be doing a free “ask me anything” session as a bonus for everyone who buys the special First Look Access bundle of The Authentic Swing within this next week. A form will appear upon check-out, so you can submit any comment, complaint, or question. Shawn and I will select a few and put together an hour-long audio piece with my responses and send it to you by e-mail as soon as we get it done.]

Posted in Writing Wednesdays

20 Responses to “Furyk swings Authentic Swing, shoots 59”

  1. Ulla Lauridsen
    September 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

    I wanted and want it badly … but 35 dollars for shipping to Denmark? No. Not gonna happen. Can I just buy the e-book, please?

    • Ulla Lauridsen
      September 18, 2013 at 6:34 am

      I figured it out! Yay for looking twice! 😛

  2. September 18, 2013 at 4:27 am

    This is so great. It reminds me of a story from my own life, not a writing story or a golfing story, but a typing story. I went back to school a few years ago to take an administrative assistant course. Typing was obviously a big part of what they teach. The girl sitting next to me could type over 115 words a minute without making a mistake when she didn’t use her pinky fingers. The pinkies seemed to slow her down. Of course she was scolded and told to type the ‘proper’ way. Typing the proper way she could only type about 70 words a minute, which is very respectable, but why type an average speed the normal way when you can fly doing it your way?

    We try to make people conform in all areas of life, and honestly, I think sometimes we just slow them down. I can’t wait to read this.

  3. September 18, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Brilliant, inspiring, practical stuff as always.

    Thanks, Steven.

    Buying the bundle right now.

  4. Mary
    September 18, 2013 at 5:15 am

    This is a great reminder about trusting ourselves through the creative process. Putting a first novel together continues to be at once exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming because I have no point of reference for it. But if I’ve learned anything (and Steve underscores this again and again), it’s that help arrives if you put yourself in the chair and pick up the pen. The Foolscap has helped me anchor this monster of mine, and I’m going to finish it or die trying. I’m looking forward to reading The Authentic Swing – thanks for the great bundling offer!

  5. September 18, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Love the fact that your concept, although it may sound mystical, has a lot of psychological and scientific clout behind it. No two bodies are exactly the same, so therefore no two swings can be the same because there will be a different optimal angle at which you can generate the most power.

    Also, our own personal strengths and thinking processes vary greatly because no two persons go through the same exact set of experiences in life, and these experiences are what craft our talents. The sooner we realize we have that one specific set of skills that no one else can duplicate, the sooner we’ll achieve the success we deserve. Keep providing us with these tools Steve!

  6. GuyS
    September 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Beautiful

  7. Paul C
    September 18, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Jim Furyk is one of my favorite golfers. His character, like his swing, is authentic, not a fair weather country club type. Every time I read some of those Bagger Vance quotes, I think of my grandfather, a lifelong golfer who lived in Florida and got his first hole in one in his 70s. He smoked his pipe and studied everyone’s golf swing. When I was little, we’d visit him in Florida and he’d smoke that pipe and squint, saying there’s a high school kid in his neighborhood who is going to be a good one. His name- Paul Azinger.

  8. September 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Wonderful piece, Steven! This morning I received my copy of The Authentic Swing–thanks,Callie–and I sure look forward to reading it. I’m almost sure I will love it and promote it on my Facebook site, Native Defender, where I reach over 100,000 folks weekly. Some of them even buy good books!

  9. September 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Just a note to say, thanks, and to let you know that in the midst a three-and-a-half day marathon of fours sleep per night (deadlines and classes), I still make time to read your blog when it comes out. Wednesday’s not “hump day,” it’s Steven Pressfield blog day! (Needless to say, I look forward to Shawn and Callie’s contributions – thanks to both of you, as well.)

    • September 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Forgot to add that I’m applying the Foolscap Method to my novel-in-revision. Modifying it, of course, as you suggested, to fit my idiosyncracies. Thanks.

  10. September 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve always laughed at Furyk’s swing… and always rooted for him. It just works.

    Looking forward to reading The Authentic Swing

  11. September 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I need to put some serious time into recovering from a lifelong case of BLM: “Be Like Me.”

    With 7 kids, you sorta figure out that it doesn’t work.

    Then, you start coaching grown-ups with their business and writing, and suddenly, I get all stupid and start telling them “Just swing like me and it will all be unicorns and rainbows, fer cryin’ out loud!”

    Sigh.

  12. September 18, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Hey, Steve. You said you’d deliver the Foolscap Method #2 next week, which is this week. Do you intend on bringing that out? Or is it just one video and then two/three weeks of book pitches until another video comes out? I’m gonna buy it anyway, I’d just like to know.

  13. Ulla Lauridsen
    September 19, 2013 at 1:52 am

    I’ve read quite a bit of it now, and I can highly recommend it. Steve levels with us, as he does here, and the book is full of good advice and insights. It’s fascinating, actually, so I’m laying it aside for later as a reward for doing my work as per Steve’s recommendation.
    It could do with a spot of proof reading, though, but maybe the next print run, eh? At least the e-book can be corrected quickly.

  14. September 19, 2013 at 2:08 am

    One’s authentic swing; isn’t that what The Legend of Baggar Vance was about?

  15. J Thomas
    September 19, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I coached swimming for a few years. My mentor told me not to change a kids stroke once they reached a certain age. But you see it happen a lot a kid will go to college or change teams and get a new coach who will try to “fix” them. Then their career is doomed.

    Mechanics are for hacks, it’s the inner game that counts.

    There is no recipe for creativity. You gotta cook without one.

  16. Basilis
    September 19, 2013 at 6:32 am
  17. Tina
    September 21, 2013 at 9:59 am

    You know what Steve? I love you, not in a weird ‘I’m gonna stalk you way’ lol!…I just simply look forward to every post. I am a writer trying to learn the craft. And YOU have taught me so much. Just keep them coming buddy, cause people like me need to be able to connect as best we can is the virtual world we now live in. So, thank you.