Can Golf Improve a MLB Player's Swing?

6/13/12 in MLB   |   thatbrewersgirl   |   23 respect

Babe Ruth demonstrating his golf swing.Golf is not exactly a sanctioned MLB training task, but there are clearly some similarities between the two styles. Both involve taking a swing with the sole purpose of propelling an unassuming white ball as far as possible using sheer body strength and form. MLB players like Joe Nathan and Josh Willingham put on their golf shoes and crossover to the fairway. Could it be they take what they learn there and put it to use on the baseball diamond?

Only an MLB player can tell you what improves his game, but history is full of crossovers. Babe Ruth was an avid golfer, but he didn't start until his seventh year in the Majors. Legend has it that his baseball skills improved once he took up golf.

While schmoozing on the course with some sorority girls, Ruth's other pastime, he explained the follow-through of the swings were exactly the same.

In 1941, Yankee's player Samuel Dewey Byrd finished third in the Masters and went on to win six tour events. When you look at the statistics, the connection and the benefits of playing both sports seem obvious.

Several Surprising Similarities

Power is the key to success in both of these sports. A power hitter with a lifetime average of .316 could compare to a power driver who can send 50 consecutive balls 360 yards onto the green. After all, from posture to arc to hand positioning, the golf swing mimics a baseball player's backswing.
  • Stance – If you were to watch a power hitter and pro golfer swing, you would see the same basic stance. Both stand with their feet not overly wide, head at the midway point, one front knee slightly flexed with the heel detached from the ground.
  • Jiggle – There is that little movement as they focus. In baseball, they call that a wiggle. In golf, they call it a waggle. In both sports, it involves a little bit of a rear-end shift as you get ready to swing.
  • Circle on a Plane – The body and arms need to communicate for proper follow through. Your body must respond to your arms to complete the swing. Golfers practice a baseball swing to improve follow through response. There is no reason to think the same would not improve a baseball swing.
  • Kinetic Chain –If you imagine a whip in motion, this is kinetic chain in action. There is a rotation of the core as it follows the arms around during the swing. The chain reaches its peak when the arms extend fully about 30 inches past the point of impact. When it comes to kinetic chain, golf is just a baseball swing at a different angle.
  • Eye Contact – Players, keep your eye on that ball. There is a significant difference between the ball movement in baseball as compared to golf, but the player's focus in exactly the same. The timing of the swing, the initial movement of the arms and the follow through of the core all come from the focus of the player on the ball.
  • Slumps – Both golfers and baseball players cringe when they see this word. Lack of confidence will mess with your handicap on the course and screw up your statistics during ball season. Playing golf might be one way for a baseball player to relax enough to work on his swing and get over the hump.

Sports are by definition competitive, and players should take advantage of each and every opportunity to improve their game. Whether you are a baseball player or a golfer, one thing's for sure: practice makes perfect. So get out there on the green and start swinging! 
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6/17/12   |   Anthony_Raia   |   37 respect

Im in the same boat as Dan. Baseball has kept my golf skills down. Opening up the club head too much etc.

6/15/12   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

As a former ball player, all kinds, and coach, I can say I have been told my golf swing is natural and effortless.  Did one help the other?  Probably, but if I was golfing and playing ball in the same week, one always seemed to be good while the other suffered.  The next week they might trade places.  

Gonna have to think on that a little more.....

6/14/12   |   thatbrewersgirl   |   23 respect

Interesting discussion last night re: Cain going golfing the day before pitching his perfect game... Maybe I should do a follow up on pitchers & golfing!! haha

6/13/12   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

I can say without a doubt that my baseball swing (keeping my hands inside the ball) hurts my golf swing (slice)!