Since baseball and golf both require a certain type of swing to be successful, many folks assume that you can use a baseball swing while playing golf.
I was in that camp when I first took up golf. I played baseball in college and thought that those skills would easily translate to the golf course.
Boy, was I wrong! Just because the golf ball is sitting on a tee and not coming at you at 90 miles an hour doesn’t mean that golf is easier than baseball. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using a baseball swing in golf.
What is a Baseball Swing in Golf?
Since there are similarities between a baseball swing and a golf swing, many folks can bring certain aspects of their baseball swing to the golf course.
In both sports, hitting the ball requires a great deal of action from the hands, shoulders, arms, legs, and hips. All of these muscle groups work in unison to create bat speed in baseball or clubhead speed in golf.
So, when you hear folks on the golf course say that so-and-so golfer has a baseball swing, they mean that certain parts of their golf swing are similar to a baseball swing. For example, a lot of baseball players like to grip the golf club the same way they do a baseball bat. This is often referred to as the 10-finger golf grip.
Differences Between a Baseball Swing vs Golf Swing
Though the two swings have some similar attributes, there are a few key differences between baseball and golf swings. These differences are mainly due to the baseball being in motion at impact while the golf ball is stationary on the tee or the ground.
Since the baseball is moving toward the hitter, the swing must be somewhat parallel to the ground. Since the golf ball is not moving and is on the ground, the swing plane must be more tilted. So, though the swing planes for both sports are similar, they do have a fair amount of differences.
With a baseball swing, most hitters are simply focused on making solid contact. Golfers need to make solid contact as well but in golf, there is a greater emphasis on accuracy. For example, a foul ball in baseball doesn’t hurt the hitter but a wayward tee shot in golf can result in a one-stroke penalty if the ball ends up out of bounds or in a water hazard.
Another stark difference between the swings is the type of backswing. A golf swing requires a long, looping type of backswing. A baseball swing still requires a backswing, but it’s more of a load of only a few inches.
Why does golf require a longer backswing than baseball? The answer is pretty simple. In baseball, the pitcher is helping supply the power by throwing the ball toward home plate at nearly 100 miles per hour. This means that only a short compact swing is needed for the ball to travel a great distance.
In golf, the ball is in a stationary position. This means that the golfer must supply all of the power to get the ball to travel a considerable distance. That’s why a longer backswing is needed.
Pros of Using a Baseball Swing
Though the two swings are different, there are some advantages to using certain aspects of a baseball swing in golf. Here are some of the pros to using a baseball swing.
1. You’re More Likely to Make a Proper Weight Transfer
In baseball, much of a hitter’s power comes from the stride, which is where the weight is transferred from the back foot to the front foot. The golf swing also requires a transfer of energy from the right foot to the left foot (for a right-handed golfer). Baseball players who take up golf have no trouble understanding this crucial concept.
2. You’ll Have Excellent Hip Rotation
To complete a correct golf swing or a baseball swing, the hips must rotate at the point of impact. Former baseball players are so used to rotating their hips during the swing that they don’t have to think much about it during the golf swing. This allows them to hit the golf ball a much further distance.
3. You’ll Know How to Hit The Ball Off The Sweet Spot
Another advantage of using a baseball golf swing as a golfer is that you’ll know the importance of hitting the ball off the sweet spot of the clubface. Baseball players have the necessary fundamentals that allow them to hit the ball off the sweet spot of the bat.
That skill translates well to swinging a golf club and is a great asset.What are the advantages of hitting the ball off the sweet spot? Two things that every good golfer desires: more distance and more accuracy on their shots.
Cons of Using a Baseball Swing
Like everything else in life, there are pros and cons to using a baseball swing in golf. Here are a couple of the common struggles that plague former baseball players on the golf course.
1. You May Struggle with a Slice
Lots of former baseball players tend to slice the golf ball. This is because they aren’t used to such a long backswing and tend to rush once they get to the top of the backswing.
This over-the-top type of motion usually leads to an open clubface at impact, which causes that dreadful wicked slice. One way to fix this is to find some drills that focus on keeping the left shoulder in and the right elbow closer to the right side.
2. It Can Take A While to Learn The Golf Swing Plane
Though the load and impact position is similar in both sports, the main difference between the two swings is the swing plane itself. The baseball swing plane is more level while the golf swing plane follows a down and then up looping pattern. This can take quite a while to get used to for ex-baseball players and will require a great deal of patience.