They say records are meant to be broken and this one has been multiple times. A two-man rivalry has emerged in recent years when it comes to holding the record for the longest usable golf clubs.
Texan Michael Furrh and New Yorker Ashrita Furman have passed the record back and forth over the past four years, starting with a 14-foot club in 2012 and most recently, a 28-foot-1-inch-long driver that Furrh used to set the newest record earlier this month.
Furrh connected with a 28-foot, 1-inch driver at Waterchase Golf Club in Fort Worth on Monday morning. He knocked his best shot 59 yards down the 18th fairway and set the world record for the fifth time.
Each time before, Furman has broken Furrh’s record with a new mark. The most recent effort was in April, when Furman used a club about 25 feet long.
“I’m a proud Texan and I want to keep this record right here,” said Furrh, who was also using Monday’s record attempt to promote breast cancer awareness.
In pursuit of the record, the distance of a shot doesn’t matter because the difficulty is in just making contact. To qualify for the record, a ball has to be struck well enough — with enough loft — so that it registers on an electronic launch monitor next to the tee.
The challenge produces an awkward technique.
— CrownBet.com.au (@crownbet) September 14, 2016
On Monday, Furrh gripped the 28-foot club with his hands separated, as if he were holding a broom. He addressed the ball with the far end of his club placed just beyond the tee, and then he rotated the club behind his back.
After he made contact, he followed through by spinning with the club as its momentum slowed. During the swing, the club’s head bounced along the ground and the steel shaft flopped like a fishing line.
“If I swing it too fast, I totally miss the ball,” Furrh said, “and if I don’t swing it fast enough, the golf club is not bent enough to actually make contact with the ball.”
At nearly 5 pounds — with that weight distributed across 28 feet — the unwieldy club makes the motion taxing, Furrh said.
He pulled muscles in both of his arms and his back Monday. Before his record-setting attempt, he had only swung the club about 20 times in practice.
No one said breaking records was easy; Furrh and his heating packs can attest to that.