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David Skinns learns from past mistakes, earns back TOUR card

4 Min Read

Tour Bound

David Skinns learns from past mistakes, earns back TOUR card

    Written by Adam Stanley @Adam_Stanley

    David Skinns has three kids, and his eldest is a sports-obsessed 9-year-old. He’s getting pretty good at baseball, and dad is trying to instill in him what it takes to be your best, and what it takes to give a max effort.

    “Regardless of what they end up doing, I’m showing them what it takes to be great and to have that desire to be great,” Skinns said. “It’s something I don’t ever want to lose myself, and I don’t want them to lose that either.”

    After a tough stint on the PGA TOUR a year ago, Skinns, 41, turned around the way he approached being a professional golfer – old dog, new tricks and all that. But his back-to-basics approach to the game has led to five top-10 finishes on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour, including a win at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club and two more near-misses.

    Back to basics means back to the PGA TOUR. Skinns has secured a spot in the top 30 on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List, and he’ll be awarded 2024 PGA TOUR membership after the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

    Skinns finished ninth at the season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, a result he was pleasantly surprised with. Kick-starting the Korn Ferry Tour season hasn’t necessarily been his strong suit, he admits. After a few weeks off, he felt totally in control of things in Savannah, winning for the third time in his Korn Ferry Tour career.

    72nd-hole coverage: David Skinns wins Club Car Championship

    Skinns thought he played well enough to win at the HomeTown Lenders Championship and the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX – “We could be sitting here having a different conversation about three wins and back to the PGA TOUR,” Skinns said with a laugh – but his year-long solid play is a credit to his improved process.

    “The PGA TOUR … that’s where I learned I didn’t have a very good handle on my process,” Skinns said. “You look at what the best in the world are doing and they know exactly what they need to do each day. You don’t see them very much because they’ve got their stuff squared away.”

    Skinns finished 197th on the FedExCup standings last season, his first full campaign on the PGA TOUR. He missed 12 cuts, while finding the weekend 11 times. Skinns decided to change coaches last year, going to long-time TOUR teacher Josh Gregory.

    Gregory helped Skinns become more efficient with his practice, meaning he can now spend less time at the course early in the week, hence conserving energy. He’s comfortable in, simply put, working with what he has.

    “That’s a huge thing, especially on the PGA TOUR. It was a good eye-opener for me not being as good as I should have been,” Skinns said. “I’ve known Josh for a long time. Respected what he’s done throughout his career and is just a great fit for me. I don’t need a lot of technical instruction. I’m 40 years old, I’m not changing my golf swing.

    “I needed to learn how to be better at maximizing what I can do.”

    Skinns is the first to admit he knows athletes are getting bigger and faster and stronger. It happens in every sport.

    “But I don’t see any reason why I should lag behind just because I’m 40,” he continued. “It’s not like I’m unable to walk or move; I can still move it quickly and I’m fairly cognizant of keeping the body going. I’m not that old yet.”

    Skinns has always been a speedy swinger – in fact, he was 36th on TOUR in clubhead speed last season. He’s seen plenty of youngsters come out who are polished, not intimidated, and who can hit it a mile.

    “But golf is not just a game of hammering it as far as you can; there’s more that goes into it,” Skinns said. “I don’t feel like anything has passed me by.

    “Yeah, they might be bigger or stronger but at the end of the day you still have to get it into the hole, and I’m pretty decent at that.”

    So, Skinns will head back to the PGA TOUR a year older. But there’s a new sort of confidence under the hood, plenty of speed still left, and a renewed sense of belonging on the biggest stage in the sport.

    Besides, he’s got a trio at home he wants to keep inspiring.

    “I’m trying to show (my kids) that dad has still got a bit in the tank. But it takes a lot,” Skinns said. “I’m trying to show that there’s nothing given. You’ve got to go out and earn it. And I’m trying to show them that.”

    What did he earn? A PGA TOUR card, once again.

    David Skinns and Stephen Cox's friendship

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