October 12, 2019- by Steven E. Greer, MD
Over the last three-years of this Golf Project, I have spotted the obvious similarities between the golf throw and the football throw, or the golf swing and the baseball swing. Most people have as well.
The big debate in the old days was whether playing baseball hurt one’s golf game and vice versa. I have flip-flopped on this. But I now have a more definitive opinion.
No. The golf swing is not like the baseball swing.
I was watching the MLB playoffs (on mute because the sound of Joe Buck’s voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me) and saw this shot of Aaron Judge. That is how I used to hit the golf ball. I would prematurely hop to my left side, then lean way back onto my right side, and hit as if it were a baseball home run swing. I could occasionally hit a long drive off of a tee, but my iron play from the grass was horrible.
I think most people do this as well. That is why most golfers are flippers and get stuck on the right side and then hit the ball fat or thin.
Yes. There are obvious similarities between the golf and baseball swings. But there is a huge difference in how the weight transfer happens. In golf, the spine-axis stays pretty much in the same position throughout the swing. In baseball, the player tilts the spine-axis way back. That will not work on turf and a motionless golf ball.
Hopping to the left leg too soon, as if one is hitting a home run, is the death knell of the golf swing. As soon as that move is made, the hips and shoulders stop turning and the hip joints extend. In contrast, the golfer must keep the center of gravity stable and turn the torso over the left leg.
Baseball players are forced to swing the way they do because the bat is round. It must be traveling at an upward angle to get the ball elevated. But the golf club is angled. I hits the ball downward and the ball still pops upward.
Anyone who started swinging a baseball bat before a golf club will be in for a lot of pain when they try to play golf. The bad instinct to hop to my left and lean back is what I have been slowly erasing from my brain.
Of any sport, I think that football throws have the most in common with golf. It is not surprising to see Tom Brady, for example, have a superb weight transfer in his golf swing.