The only thing that matters in golf is how you get the ball into the hole. It doesn’t matter if your beautiful, graceful, rhythmic swing flows like sweet nectar or it moves like rusty hinges on an old car door, all that counts are the number of strokes.
There are thousands of theories on the proper way to swing a golf club. There are aids and teachers and videos and magazines that make money hand over fist because of consumers’ undying pursuit of the perfect swing. But is there even such a thing? Take it from the players on our list, you can still play golf well with an unconventional swing.
Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey
Tommy Gainey gets his nickname from, well… you guessed it, wearing two gloves. But why does he wear two when he’s seemingly the only professional to do so? The answer is simple: baseball. Tommy grew up in South Carolina playing baseball, and when he began learning golf he simply tweaked his baseball swing to be able to hit a golf ball. He grips the club like a baseball bat and wears two gloves, like a hitter, because it’s simply what he’s used to.
His swing has been described as “trying to kill a snake with a garden hose” due to the jerky, rapid movements and the swing-for-the-fences effort on full shots. It doesn’t look like most swings on tour, but it doesn’t seem to matter- Gainey won his first PGA event earlier in 2012 at the McGladrey Classic, funky swing and all.
They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it- apparently Jim Furyk was listening. Although his swing is not something you would probably teach, it certainly works for him. Furyk has been one of the most consistent and accurate ball strikers on tour since he started, and it would be tough to guess that simply from the looks of his swing.
It’s remarkable how repeatable his swing is considering all that goes on once he takes the club back on his backswing. He brings the club up on a very steep plane, only to drop the club onto a much flatter plane as he starts his downswing. The hips clear significantly at impact to the point where he is almost looking directly at his target. Odd looking or not, this recipe has proven to be very successful, as he’s earned over $52 million throughout his career.
Johnny Miller described Jim Thorpe’s swing as having “more moves than Kung Fu.” One look, and it’s not tough to see where those comparisons come from. The signature of Thorpe’s swing is his helicoptor-like follow through, which is a result of his attempts to prevent the ball from hooking left, a fault he battled growing up. Through practice and an indifference to standing out, Thrope crafted his homemade swing into a movement that made him a multiple winner on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.
This one might be the strangest one of them all. Without diving too deeply into the swing itself, Josh Broadaway probably plays faster than anyone you’ve ever seen. He walks up to the ball, addresses it, and fires. No waggles. No checking alignment. Not even a final look at the target.
However, when we look at the swing involved in the process, it is incredibly unique. Josh Broadaway is left-handed, yet he plays with right-handed clubs while using a left-handed grip. That’s right, he plays cross-handed. Furthermore, he putts left-handed with a baseball grip.
Growing up, Broadaway didn’t have any left-handed clubs to play with when he started learning at age 5. The solution? Just grip the club normally and stand on the other side of the ball. As odd as it seems, he’s been doing it this way for almost 30 years and he’s turned into one heck of a player.