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We are doing it wrong. Matt Wolff has it right. Baseball vs. Golf


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There’s a reason every position player that shows up on my lesson tee has a slice...and why pitchers are better golfers.   A pitching motion is more analogous to a golf swing than a baseball swing..

I don't understand the obsession with using maps either. Sure there is the single easiest path, but as long as you eventually get to your destination, who cares how long it takes

There are several factors at work here.  Here are a few.   1.  Ams already have enough trouble reconnecting the elbow when it’s only a few inches from the torso at the top.  The urge to spin th

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1 minute ago, golfsticks said:

 

You're painting with a wide brush, but no mistaking the excellent dynamic down pressures present within hockey moves.

Just look at the leaderboard of the big celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe every year.  Littered with hockey players and not a position baseball player to be found.

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2 minutes ago, KMeloney said:

 

I hear you. I just think that your "could have been" scenario might (probably does?) come at the expense of accuracy, or else we'd see a lot more of it on tour. It doesn't just "work" for the majority of tour guys -- it might even be the reason they're on tour, right? By the same token, I wouldn't disagree that Bubba, Furyk, and Wolff are on tour because of THEIR swings, too. 

 

Again, if this were about getting speed first and then trying to reign it in to keep the ball on the course later, then I think that's a different argument. But even Finau, chasing 200 mph ball speed with a higher right elbow, has to decide whether or not he can do that in tournaments and keep the ball on the course. (The long-drive guys just need one long one to land in-bounds.)

You are absolutely right but those arguments don't exactly work for the rest of us. Most amateurs will spray the ball no matter what and are only hitting it 200-220 yards by trying to achieve a pretty backswing. I think we would all agree that if they could suddenly hit the ball 250+ by using their natural athletic ability they would be scoring better and having a lot more fun.

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1 minute ago, mgoblue83 said:

You are absolutely right but those arguments don't exactly work for the rest of us. Most amateurs will spray the ball no matter what and are only hitting it 200-220 yards by trying to achieve a pretty backswing. I think we would all agree that if they could suddenly hit the ball 250+ by using their natural athletic ability they would be scoring better and having a lot more fun.

 

I believe there is sort of a bell curve here. Some ams are athletic in general, but have no idea how the swing should work. They have no concept of a correct pivot. They either have 0 instruction, or way too much golf article one liner instruction and swing like a poorly constructed robot reacting slowly to each feel or position it is supposed to have. For these people, stepping back and just adopting an athletic move can work wonders. In many ways, for a poor, inefficient golfer, a swing with more speed isnt wilder. Its a better pivot, the hands working out and getting more shallow, using the ground better. All the things they were thinking to do, but just the bodying doing when trying to hit something hard. Sometimes a baseball swing where you keep the feet together and then step forward on the downswing can work wonders, not just in adding speed but in getting someone who is otherwise athletic, finally feel what a swing with power feels like. A one armed drill is also excellent.

 

However, if you are a decent player and already have some speed, going full baseball swing and adopting a flying right elbow purely trying to add a few more yards, is more likely to have you walking more than just a few yards into the woods or desert trying to find that ball. 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, mgoblue83 said:

You are absolutely right but those arguments don't exactly work for the rest of us. Most amateurs will spray the ball no matter what and are only hitting it 200-220 yards by trying to achieve a pretty backswing. I think we would all agree that if they could suddenly hit the ball 250+ by using their natural athletic ability they would be scoring better and having a lot more fun.

OR they could just learn how to swing right and hit it 300. Doesn't require a right elbow flapping all over the place to do it. 

 

They hit it 200 because their swing sucks, completely unrelated to their right elbow position. 

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2 minutes ago, mgoblue83 said:

You are absolutely right but those arguments don't exactly work for the rest of us. Most amateurs will spray the ball no matter what and are only hitting it 200-220 yards by trying to achieve a pretty backswing. I think we would all agree that if they could suddenly hit the ball 250+ by using their natural athletic ability they would be scoring better and having a lot more fun.

 

Who is "the rest of us"?

 

I just disagree that most amateurs care more about what their swing looks like than where the ball is going. I just completely disagree with that. Hell, most amateurs will never see their swing, so how much stock can you put into that? And I'd argue that pros care even LESS what their swing looks like as long as it works.

 

You've just equated hitting the ball farther with scoring better and having more fun. If someone is hopelessly spraying the ball, then how will spraying it 40 yards farther help? If you're talking about someone who already hits the ball straight picking up 30-40 yards by letting their elbow do something different, you won't be able to convince me that anyone, pro or amateur, would say "Yeah, I hit it a mile farther and straight every time, but, I don't know -- it just doesn't look as good on camera." So, what are we talking about here?

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53 minutes ago, mgoblue83 said:

You are absolutely right but those arguments don't exactly work for the rest of us. Most amateurs will spray the ball no matter what and are only hitting it 200-220 yards by trying to achieve a pretty backswing. I think we would all agree that if they could suddenly hit the ball 250+ by using their natural athletic ability they would be scoring better and having a lot more fun.

This position isn't athletic nor will it have people going from 200 to 250+, but this is the flying elbow most amateurs will have. I think you are focusing too much on Wolff's elbow and ignoring all the other good things he (and other long hitters) do. 

 

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1 hour ago, golfsticks said:

 

You're painting with a wide brush, but no mistaking the excellent dynamic down pressures present within hockey moves.

 

Not to mention they get to play golf IN season a LOT more than BB players.

 

Now let's talk about those pitchers. :classic_laugh:

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19 hours ago, Obee said:

Former high-level college baseball player here.

 

In baseball, the (new) goal is to hit the ball as hard as possible ... anywhere.

 

That goal is a bit different than the goal in golf, so not quite a perfect analogy. Not a bad analogy (as analogies go), but the goals are not the same.

This seems to be the new goal in golf too 

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12 hours ago, acekun said:

Have you been on baseball/softball forums? They have almost as many arguments about the swing as this forum. So you'd have to be a bit more specific if you're comparing the two. 

 

Btw, most of what I learned about the baseball swing when I was growing up was total garbage. I coached for 6 years until last year and I was still hearing coaches repeat the same garbage they learned as kids. Myths die hard, just like in golf. 

Right, squash the bug is the biggest one ha!

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The best golfer I ever played with was a major league pitcher.  I think Scheinblum as usual knows of what he speaks.

 

I’m not a batting expert, but what I don’t see in those pictures of batters is a weight shift/movement towards the target.  To hit a golf ball off the ground  the club head has to move down while the hands are ahead and moving up.  I couldn’t prove it but I expect the move towards the target is essential to achieve that.

 

I would encourage former baseballers to use their baseball swing.  More money and beer for me.

 

 

 

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At the end of the day golf is still an accuracy game of misses. Ball contact and smash factor becomes an issue trying to re-route and shallow the club this much unless you've done it your entire career like Wolff and Furyk. Those two have VERY unique aspects to their swing (and especially downswing) that are almost impossible to teach to the masses. For the additional 5-10 mph of club head speed you pick up from a Wolff type swing your average ball speed is likely to be just slightly higher due to a decrease in center faced contact. The same argument could be made that the entire tour should swing like long drive guys but those swings simply do not meet the accuracy requirements for playing golf on the hardest courses at the highest level. Even Bryson hasn't gone "full long drive' with his swing mechanics.

 

It is also MUCH easier to hit partial wedges and control distance not having to severely "re-route" your downswing. It just becomes a tougher can of worms to manage having a driver, woods, long iron swing for the fences "stand it up lay it down" swing and separate "on plane" wedge swing.

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3 minutes ago, PureStrikes54 said:

At the end of the day golf is still an accuracy game of misses. Ball contact and smash factor becomes an issue trying to re-route and shallow the club this much unless you've done it your entire career like Wolff and Furyk. Those two have VERY unique aspects to their swing (and especially downswing) that are almost impossible to teach to the masses. For the additional 5-10 mph of club head speed you pick up from a Wolff type swing your average ball speed is likely to be just slightly higher due to a decrease in center faced contact. The same argument could be made that the entire tour should swing like long drive guys but those swings simply do not meet the accuracy requirements for playing golf on the hardest courses at the highest level. Even Bryson hasn't gone "full long drive' with his swing mechanics.

 

It is also MUCH easier to hit partial wedges and control distance not having to severely "re-route" your downswing. It just becomes a tougher can of worms to manage having a driver, woods, long iron swing for the fences "stand it up lay it down" swing and separate "on plane" wedge swing.

Excellent, especially the last paragraph.

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58 minutes ago, stingerfade said:

This seems to be the new goal in golf too 

With driver for sure. But driver is only one (important) part of the game.

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6 hours ago, Krt22 said:

Hockey players make better golfers than baseball players

 

Argue with me

I'm surprised someone hasn't been given a government grant to find out! Imagine if Hockey gave golfers a better grounding to play golf then golf did.

I've seen a young girl who couldn't hit it because she kept trying to scoop the ball. But give her a putter and she could out hit most of the other kids drivers. Every shot in golf is really just a putt. 

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Former baseball player who went on to play a lot of slow-pitch softball. I think the slow-pitch softball swing is more applicable to golf than baseball because the swing needs to deliver all of the power and right elbow isn't as high.

 

There are a lot of similarities between my golf swing and my softball swing that have worked wonders for me. One aha moment was the movement of the arms in the backswing. In baseball/softball, I realized my arms don't move and they get behind me through my rotation and coiling up behind the ball. That realization made a big difference in the role of my arms in the backswing. 

 

The separation of the shoulders and hips was another one. In baseball/softball, I realized that my hands and arms were remaining back as my lower body started to rotate forward. From there, my right elbow tucks into my side, the bat shallows out, and I rotate through the ball. Similar move to the golf swing. External rotation of the front knee was another thing.

 

Lastly and more importantly, focusing on the golf ball as if I was hitting a baseball/softball off a tee was a tremendous help. In golf, my focus would get sucked into the ball and not enough on hitting out to my target. I now look at the golf ball similarly to how I would approach my focus if I was hitting a baseball/softball off a tee back through the middle. It helps me stay behind the ball and deliver the energy through the ball and out to the target.

 

 

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22 hours ago, PureStrikes54 said:

At the end of the day golf is still an accuracy game of misses. Ball contact and smash factor becomes an issue trying to re-route and shallow the club this much unless you've done it your entire career like Wolff and Furyk. Those two have VERY unique aspects to their swing (and especially downswing) that are almost impossible to teach to the masses. For the additional 5-10 mph of club head speed you pick up from a Wolff type swing your average ball speed is likely to be just slightly higher due to a decrease in center faced contact. The same argument could be made that the entire tour should swing like long drive guys but those swings simply do not meet the accuracy requirements for playing golf on the hardest courses at the highest level. Even Bryson hasn't gone "full long drive' with his swing mechanics.

 

It is also MUCH easier to hit partial wedges and control distance not having to severely "re-route" your downswing. It just becomes a tougher can of worms to manage having a driver, woods, long iron swing for the fences "stand it up lay it down" swing and separate "on plane" wedge swing.

 

The OP started this thread by talking about a pretty swing, but I think that the reason we perceive a focus on the backswing is more about consistency (and accuracy) as the above posters alluded to.  Some days I can absolutely smash my irons.  Things just feel great and the harder I swing, the further the ball goes.  I don't even think about my backswing or the club's position at the top.  Much more often than not, my swing feels uncomfortable.  On those days (most days) focusing on a shorter more controlled backswing from a more classic position at the top helps me advance the ball and keep it in play.  

 

I don't know if the premise that a baseball style backswing is more optimized/efficient/whatever is sound.  I'm not saying classic instruction will never change, or that classic backswing position is critical for everyone.  I'm just pointing out that your average golfer is of a certain age, skill set, with a limited amount of time for practice and improvement, etc., and that learning to play from a more consistent position, a position that is easier to play from and requires less athleticism, will probably help lower scores and increase enjoyment of the game more than say playing to optimize speed, smash factor, etc.

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1 hour ago, Krt22 said:

 

Just skimmed the article, but it seems to me that obsessing over the right elbow might have been the wrong rabbit hole to go down...he had a pretty good run with that uncooperative elbow in the past. 🤷‍♂️

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1 minute ago, stryper said:

 

Just skimmed the article, but it seems to me that obsessing over the right elbow might have been the wrong rabbit hole to go down...he had a pretty good run with that uncooperative elbow in the past. 🤷‍♂️

Perhaps you should do a bit more than skim it, its a subtle issue that he is saying developed over the past few years (possibly related to his quest to get longer, much like what the OP is talking of?). If a multi-major winner is having issues compensating for it, it might not be the best for your average weekend warrior

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3 minutes ago, Krt22 said:

Perhaps you should do a bit more than skim it, its a subtle issue that he is saying developed over the past few years (possibly related to his quest to get longer, much like what the OP is talking of?). If a multi-major winner is having issues compensating for it, it might not be the best for your average weekend warrior

It’s a sequencing issue for all golfers of all levels.  Ams have enough trouble accelerating the arms and hands on time and the right way to link up.  It the elbow gets away from you in the backswing it has more ground to cover. As you said, it’s even problematic for a major champion.  
 

When the vast majority of the people who show up to me on all platforms have this issue, maybe we should be obsessing over it.  
 

if the trial elbow is separated from the torso late in the downswing, cast, stall, flip, chicken wing, EE and other “flaws” are a must to get to the ball and shaft lean is a pipe dream.

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Skimmed through the thread and haven’t seen it explicitly mentioned - baseball/softball has no concept of controlling face angle. With other bat/ball sports like cricket hockey and tennis, you’re hitting the ball with  straight faced surface, meaning the player needs more fine motor control to manage the angle of the face 

 

Playing cricket the wrists are important for controlling where the ball goes, in tennis you have different wrist motions for topspin and forehand shots, hockey is even more obvious to see how wrists control the ball. Not a surprise that there tends to be a lot of crossover with golf for players of those three sports

my sense is that in baseball, without having a straight face to control, is why players often struggling with the big slice. Happy to be talked out if this opinion!

 

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7 minutes ago, Krt22 said:

Perhaps you should do a bit more than skim it, its a subtle issue that he is saying developed over the past few years (possibly related to his quest to get longer, much like what the OP is talking of?). If a multi-major winner is having issues compensating for it, it might not be the best for your average weekend warrior

 

Nah, skimming was enough.  Reading your last sentence, I think we agree.

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