Back in the 1940’s, how would you like to be following a foursome including Babe Ruth, Joe Louis, Grantland Rice and Sam Byrd. They used to play together all the time during the off-season. Of course, that is when there was one.
Grantland, probably the most famous sports writer of all time, wanted to do a book about the differences in the golf swing and the baseball swing with Sam Byrd. Sam, to this day, is the only major league baseball player ever to have won a PGA tour event – and he won 25 in all.
Sam said, “sure Granny, let’s get the book started right now!”
Sam goes on to talk about in baseball how Babe “always told me to tuck a towel under my left armpit. I squared my right foot up for resistance and power when the pitcher was ready to release the ball. My upper body was coiled into the right leg. When I swing the bat, my left arm just hinges at the elbow and my upper left arm stays on my body the whole time and I go to the target.”
“In golf, the plane changes to a tilted one,” Sam says. “I tuck a towel under my left armpit, square up my right foot, shift my body into the braced right leg for power and my left arm stays on my body the whole time while hinging at the elbow — and I go to the target. It’s going to be a darn short book, isn’t it Granny?”
And boy is he right. Remember, Sam was Ben Hogan’s teacher for 20 years and you see this in his swing as well as in every great player with a stick and a ball. Why would any one think it is different squaring a golf club to a ball than with a bat or racket?
As far as tennis, my teacher worked with the great Arthur Ashe. Arthur loved the game of golf, but was terrible because he was taught to keep his head still, the left arm straight, turn and then tuck the right arm in on the downswing. The guy could not break 90.
After showing him the bad positions he was getting in and seeing where the truly great players are, they went back out to the driving range with one thought in mind. Arthur found the golf swing is exactly like a two-handed forehand down the line. He immediately got better and was soon shooting in the 70’s because he was a great athlete.
Get these fundamentals in your golf swing and you will have fun and get much better at the same time.