04/16/2015

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it hundreds of times.

“He’s a grinder.” Perhaps, “she’s a grinder, out there.” I’ve used the term to define golfers, whether it be at the professional level or amateur peers. But ‘grinding’ is an oft-used word throughout all the sports world–particularly with golf.

What does it mean?

Blow up hole

In regards to grinding, I’ve embedded our “CLICK HERE” link above about ‘7 Tips to Prevent the Blow Up Hole.’ By entering your email list into that video, you’ll start receiving tips from our team to improve your golf game. If you desire the “Blow-Up Hole tips” specifically, we can provide those directly to you.

Essentially, the act of grinding is avoiding the blow-up hole.

I remember back on the years of playing amateur golf and playing with players considered as grinders. Players I always respected were players who could turn a round of 77 into a round around par. Players who could hit 4 or 5 greens in a round and not surrender many strokes to par. Taking advantage of scarce opportunities and converting on short putts is huge.

So let’s dive in…

What is Grinding?

I was watching the Golf Channel this morning and LPGA Tour legend Pat Bradley was speaking. She talked about her career on Tour and what it took to be successful. She talked specifically about the act of instilling the mindset of ‘grinding’ into young players, something she said she did with her nephew, Keegan, fueling his success.

It got me thinking, grinding is sometimes used as blanket terminology. We blanket the term on players who shoot consistent, but never low, scores.

We call golfers grinders when they are shorter players without the ability to keep up with the longer players on Tour. It’s a term where the definition is sometimes lost through our observations.

I wouldn’t say grinding necessarily mean a compensation of talent with determination or will, but it’s the case the majority of the time. Pure talent, you can’t convince me John Daly possesses less talent than Jim Furyk. Yet Furyk’s career earnings on the golf course are roughly 6 times that of Daly’s.

So I am going to take a brief authoritative role and define the word, officially, for the golfing world. Are you ready?

grind·ing
ˈɡrīndiNG/
adjective
  1. (of a state) unending focus; perseverance through adversity
  2. undying will to continue to achieve, no matter circumstance
  3. “get-in-hole-iveness” at all costs

Suggestion: Do not physically grind your teeth while grinding on the golf course, your dentist will have a word with you.

Read this Wall Street Journal article titled “Grinding It Out on the PGA Tour” featuring Chris DiMarco and Jerry Kelly

Who are the top PGA Tour grinders?

Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk

Employing one of the most unorthodox golf swings in the game today, Furyk’s success on the PGA Tour has not only been unexpected, but he’s exceeded every ounce of his potential. After a career at the University of Arizona, Furyk’s professional potential was not glowing the way of many of his peers. All he’s proceeded to do is win $62,394,294, good for 4th all-time.

In a 1999 Sports Illustrated article they coined Furyk as having  “established a reputation as a guy who will grind out strong finishes, if rarely victories, on tough courses in tough conditions.” Following up in 2011, long-time PGA Tour professional (and fellow grinder) Chris DiMarco called him “the grinder of all grinders.”

Keegan Bradley

As evidenced above by his aunt, Pat Bradley, Keegan is the epitome of a grinder. Now, I am cautioning myself from giving himself this title given his relative inconsistency at time, but his intensity is hard to match on the Tour.

I’ve heard stories of Keegan Bradley waking not a second after 6:00 AM, every day, no matter if it’s an off-day or not. He’s almost paranoid about losing his place on the PGA Tour. He works, and works and works. He grinds.

He’s a unique grinder too, as he’s one of the longest players in the men’s game, averaging 302.4 YPD, good for 13th on the PGA Tour.

Who are the top LPGA Tour grinders?

Lydia Ko

She’s 17 years old, she’s the number one ranked player in the world and she’s the cover girl for grinding on the LPGA Tour.

Get this, Ko hasn’t missed a single CUT in her entire career playing professional events. This includes playing as an amateur in professional events. If making cuts (ALL of them) isn’t a sign of a grinder, I don’t know what is.

Perhaps it’s not grinding, perhaps she’s just one of the world’s greatest lady talents.

(Her birthday is next week by the way, April 24th.)

Inbee Park

She’s the former world #1 (current world #6) and so far in 2015, she has yet to finish outside the top-13 in 6 starts.

For 2012, 2013 and 2014, she finished #1 in putts per GIR on the entire LPGA Tour. That is an incredible stat, especially when hitting greens at a 70% clip. Under-appreciated, under-recognized and a complete grinder on the ladies side– Inbee Park.

Conclusion

Grinding is a habit. It’s about completely committing to one’s golf game and never giving up, on or off the course.

I’ve equated it to a sense of intensity and “sticktuitiveness.” Players that are grinders work at their craft, endlessly. Their performances relatively reflect that.

Now the list above obviously isn’t exclusive and I would love to continue this conversation. Submit your definition of a grinder in the comments below and if you have players you would also consider, I’d love to include them!

Thanks for reading. Now get out there and start grinding yourself.