Golf and Baseball
By jimithen on 2/14/11
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Adam Witter didn't disappoint. These articles continue to keep coming in and I want to encourage you guys to keep writing! The feedback and new perspectives are fantastic. Adam is one of my best friends in the world- and a former professional baseball player. To some - today is Valentine's Day. For others- it's just the 2nd day of baseball season!
[And yes- sickeningly, he really can drive the ball 330 yards- having never had a lesson. It's gross. If there is anyone in the Phoenix, AZ, area who wants to take on a whole lot of potential - let me know, I'll connect you.]
February 13 marks the first day that Major League Baseball players report to spring training. As some of us are getting ready to travel out of the cold winter bound north, it is Spring Training that may mark the beginning of our own golf season. After sitting in closets and basements all winter, it is time to get the travel bags out and head to the warm baseball and golfing destinations of Florida and Arizona to get to know the new players on your favorite team, while also getting to know the new pitching wedge or putter we got for Christmas. Cherishing the fact that our star player just extended his contract, while renewing our faith in our trusty 7 iron. So this all got me to thinking how similar these two sports really are. The players, the numbers, and the green green grass.
1. Swings – The mechanics are the same for both a golf swing and a baseball swing. Tempo, muscle memory, timing for things like whip and wrist release are all essential aspects of both. Body posture during the swing, while more rigid in golf, is still necessary to increase the chances of success in baseball. My favorite baseball player to watch swing is Manny Ramirez. He has balance through the strike zone for pitches high, low, in and out. Same with golf, balance plays a key role in your golf swing. Hips a core strength are also very important for stability and power for both.
2. The Stats – Golf and baseball share a passion among both players and fans for stats. Numbers are an essential part of each round of golf and each game of baseball. They give each of us a measure of success or improvement. If a baseball player strikes out too much, we say “He needs to swing at better pitches.” If a golfer’s GIR is low, we say “He needs to work on his iron play.” Any broadcast of baseball or golf is just leaden with numbered statistics. We take them seriously, and we can’t get enough of them.
3. The Players – The diversity of the players in both Major League Baseball and all of golf is amazing. Each brings their individual abilities to the table and uses their strengths to attack the course or the opposing pitcher. John Daly and Bengie Molina. Both considerably over weight and getting older. Both multimillionaires. How? Because of their superior athletic ability. They compete day in and day out against the 25 year old 95mph throwing Tim Lincecums and 22 year old bombers like Rickie Fowler. Both featherweights on their way to great careers. See any one of them walking down the street and without knowing who they are, your last thought would be well paid professional athletes. On a much lower scale, both games allow for the likes of you and I. Softball on the weekends, and the $1 a hole skins game with the fellas makes us apart of both sports.
4. The Play – Drive for show: Putt for Dough. We have all heard it, and most of us accept it as factual wisdom. It is the same in baseball. We all hold a collective breath as the pitch comes in with our favorite power hitter up. The 95mph fastball, the mighty swing of the man at the plate. But in an average season a baseball player will have over 500 at bats. Even a great power hitter might hit 40- 50 homeruns. Still not very good odds for him coming up with a man on down by one in the 9th inning to win the game. Who then does the majority of the runs and run production come from? Lead off guys who hit singles and doubles consistently? The strike zone savvy 2 hole guy? That’s who I would say. Golfers who can swing with consistent effort and swing mechanics will more often than not beat the 330 yard bomber. Believe me, I’m one of them. I lost to a 60 year old man trickling the ball down the fairway. I’m not saying power doesn’t have it’s place. Just don’t rely on it to make you a good golfer.
This was written by Adam Witter, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
[ comments ]
Well written and interesting. Thanks for making Monday morning better!
Another comparison is hockey swing. Played with a scratch one time who used to play hockey, looked like he was shooting a slap shot, but very effective. When you thnk about it hockey might be harder because both you and the object you are trying to hit are moving, hopefully but not always in sync. Plus you have to thnk about other players trying to knock you over.
Suddenly, mastering the golf swing doesn't seem like such a huge burden.
SD Charlie says:
If this had "like" button, I would click it. Baseball is my first love, instilled from watching many games with my dad from the early years on. I'm relatively new to golf, but I definitely see the similarities. Nicely done!
Baseball is also my first love, took up golf 2 years ago when I realized I was to out of shape to play baseball anymore. Can't bring myself to play beer league softball, it's not the same. I think the stats are what brought me to golf. I love keeping track of my game. I was always told when I was younger to not play baseball and golf and golf will mess with your baseball swing. I'm not sure if that is totally true. Alot of baseball players play golf on their down time and I don't see it hurting them.
Bernie Duffer says:
Thanks! That was well worth reading.
Although you mention some good high-level points about the swings being different, invariably my golf shots and scores got better once baseball/softball season ended. Oh how I wish they helped each other out more.
But I have to agree on the stats aspect for myself (and probably quite a few oobers) at least.
As a former baseball player, what has frustrated me about golf is I could hit a ball traveling 90 mph, hitting a round ball with a round bat and hitting it square, but sometimes hitting a foot behind a ball sitting still with a big old clubhead, Arrrgh
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