If you are like me and often tee it up without a foursome you may have bumped into former college baseball players or even former Major League Baseball (MLB) players that can absolutely stripe it down the middle in golf. Why is it the case that baseball players, especially pitchers, can hit the ball a mile and are generally good at golf? Here’s why:
If you are good enough to make it to college baseball, and especially the major leagues, you understand the importance of angles with your arms and body. Contrary to popular belief baseball batters deflect the ball, they don’t drive the ball. The reason the longest home runs come off fastball pitchers is because they are deflecting the ball coming at them at a higher rate of speed.
What batters understand is that right handers lead with their right elbow when hitting a baseball. In essence, your elbows should be inside your shoulders at impact. You may see power hitters lift their trail elbows in their batting stance before the pitch is thrown but when it gets into the hitting zone, all MLB right handed batters lead with their right elbow; left handers lead with the left elbow.
To hit a golf ball correctly, and a long way, you must lead with your right elbow. Anyone that picked up a golf club and tried to learn the game without an instruction is not going to do this. They are going to rock the baby. They will pull with their right elbow on the backswing and pull with their left elbow on the downswing. This means you are only using your arms and to make matters worse, you are using them incorrectly.
Pitchers understand arm angles even better than hitters. Right handed pitchers have their elbow way inside their shoulders when they are throwing heat. To get the most velocity on a pitch, your elbow needs to be as close to your arm pit as possible as the ball gets to the release point. It is the exact same way with NFL quarterbacks. Look at an image of Tom Brady throwing a pass. His elbow is inside his right shoulder and definitely inside his right hand.
So, if you are on the course and you get paired up with a former college or professional baseball player, understand that they know how to generate power. Unfortunately for them, they only know how to generate a small amount of power as thy are not going to work on depth of the backswing because they think they hit it far enough. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlory generate true power but they do it through their core and a huge shoulder turn with a stable lower body.
Accept that the former baseball players have a very solid foundation on creating distance but with a deep shoulder turn and proper lag of the club, you will always be a better ball striker.