Saturday, May 27th, 2017

The good and bad of golf during baseball season

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

There have been several times where I have watched a batter for the first time during a hitting lesson and asked the player, “How long have you played golf?”  The response has always started with a look that said “How did you know I played golf?” and then finished with an actual answer like “a few years.

Golf is a great game but unless you are primarily a pitcher, you may want to limit your golf swing to the off-season.

The good thing about golf is that it requires a similar level of concentration.  This is why Greg Maddux of the Braves said “If you want to be a good pitcher, learn how to play golf.”  Forcing yourself to concentrate on each and every swing cuts down your golf score just like concentrating on each and every pitch helps you to cut down your pitch counts.

For hitters, however, golf tends to have more of a downside for three big reasons.  I present three photos.  Below them I make some comments on each to explain those three reasons.

 

 

1.The hand path is different in golf.  You can see in the top two photos that the typical hand-path of the golf swing is very different from the typical baseball swing.  When frequent golfers pick up a bat, they tend to take that same golf hand-path with them.  Baseball hitters need to keep the bat in the hitting zone longer to account for timing errors created by a moving pitch.  Golfers don’t have to worry about a moving ball so keeping the club in the contact zone longer is not a requirement.

2. The feet are set differently in golf.  Although golfers and baseball hitters may both start with their feet at similar distances apart, the baseball hitter separates his feet wider on the stride towards the contact point.  The yellow lines on the photos show the difference in distance between the feet at contact point.  Frequent golfers who take up baseball often keep their feet too narrow throughout the baseball swing.

3. The finish is different in golf.  The third photo shows a typical finish in golf as well as a finish for Mike Trout.  As you can clearly see, the golfer ends up with all their weight on their front leg and is completely upright.  The batter’s head stays between his feet from start to finish and ends with his front leg angled backwards.  Frequent golfers who bat tend to finish completely upright with everything on their front leg.  When pitchers see that in hitters, a steady dose of off-speed pitches will destroy the success of the hitter.

In pro ball, a round of golf (especially on a game day) is frowned upon for hitters and probably will get them fined by the team.  At the younger levels, golf in moderation can be a great way to get outside and get your mind off the stressors of baseball.  Be careful, though.  Swinging a club is very different from swinging a bat.  Doing too much of the former can negatively impact the latter.

 

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