I can't tell you how many people come to my lesson tee and say, If I could just get rid of my baseball swing, then all my problems would be solved! My initial thought is always: I wish you had a baseball swing, because it would help you play better golf.
Most people don't realize that baseball and golf swings are essentially the same; they're just on different planes. A baseball bat is swung on a very flat plane because the ball is in the air, whereas a golf club is swung on a more tilted plane because the ball is on the ground. Regardless of where the ball is, both swings demand a similar sequence of events to ensure solid contact.
Any movement that generates power is the result of a coordinated effort that utilizes all of the body's speed producers. From throwing a pitch to hitting a home run, a kinetic chain of events occurs to deliver an explosion at the moment of impact. For most people, a simple baseball swing most correctly conveys the idea and attitude of a proper kinetic sequence that's perfect for golf. In addition, the rounded arc produced by a good baseball swing will encourage proper clubface rotation through impact, thus curing the common slice.
Drill: Make some waist-high practice swings as if you were hitting a pitch. Increase your speed after each swing, really trying to feel and hear the clubhead whip through impact as if you were swinging for the fences. Gradually lower the height of the swing as if a pitcher were throwing you lower pitches. Continue until the clubhead contacts the ground.
Congratulations, you just picked up 20 yards and hit it right down the middle!_Ê
PGA Professional Jeff Ritter is the Director of Instruction at the ASU/ Karsten Golf Academy in Tempe, Arizona. Visit www.jeffrittergolf.com for contact information.