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Is my son's baseball swing influencing his golf swing?


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#1 jollysammy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

Yesterday my son had a lesson with a pro.  The pro loves his swing but hates his grip.  He uses a weak grip with hands slightly seperated and that's what causes him to flip the ball and get high ballflight.  He wants him to use a strong grip and that's going to take a while to develop.  Of course my son is worried that he has about 6 tournaments coming up every 2 weeks.

We are going to switch to Cleveland CG16s so my son figures that going to a lighter club and CB than his MP-33s might help him make the adjustment to the strong grip since he would be adjusting to new clubs anyway.

But I keep wondering, is all this also because he plays baseball and this is what others have mentioned to me regarding the fears of playing both sports.


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#2 lilmike24

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:04 PM

He can Practice this way, but don't use it in tournaments until he feels comfortable. If he did that, it could be disastrous.

But I do recommend him to go ahead and get practicing, so he can get this down sooner.
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#3 TheMackDaddy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:16 PM

Absolutely it is. Hockey does the same thing. A good example of this is how James Lepp from The Big Break chooses to chip with the "saucer pass" method, because he feels more confident with a hockey like method.

#4 tesuquegolfer

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:20 PM

Could be.  When I was in my mid 20s and starting to care about my golf score a little more, I realized that my softball swing was adversely affecting my golf swing so I switched my softball swing to left handed.  I could tell back then that golf was going to be my thing.   Good thing I made the change as 25 years later I am a serious golfer with a 2-5 handicap.

#5 jollysammy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

Here's a recent video showing his iron swing as well as current hybrid/wood/driver swing.

Set the resolution to HD 1080 for easier viewing.


Edited by jollysammy, 07 December 2012 - 03:15 PM.


#6 kellygreen

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 07 December 2012 - 03:14 PM, said:

Here's a recent video showing his iron swing as well as current hybrid/wood/driver swing.

Set the resolution to HD 1080 for easier viewing.



Former D-I collegiate baseball player.

1. Your son seems to be developing more of a "body-rotation" swing rather than a "classic" two-plane/hand-and-arm swing.   So I wouldn't worry about playing golf and baseball at the same time being a problem.   Because the timing, tempo, and feel of a one-plane/body-rotation swing is very similar to a good baseball swing.   Two-plane swings, OTOH, have a timimg, tempo and feel that is more like a THROWING motion than a HITTING motion.   As a result many position-players struggle with that kind of golf swing, whereas PITCHERS take to it rapidly.

2. I see what you pro means.  I was initially siding with your son about the grip change with compeitions coming up...but after having seen the video he HAS to strengthen that grip.   He is using a swing method that requires a stronger-than-average grip (I have a similar swing), and the club is released (and squared) with the body's rotation through the ball.  (Like hitting a forehand or two-hand backhand in tennis).

But his grip is too weak for his current swing motion.  So instead of being able to continue to rotate aggressively through the ball and let his body (via the strong grip) release the club automatically...he's having to STOP his rotation on the downswing so that his arms can release PAST his arms (a two-plane swing fundamental), and then having to aggressively roll his forearms to square up the clubface (another two-plane swing fundamental).

This is a swing motion that (for now) is blending incompatible elements...and will be the source of serious inconsistencies and power loss until he gets things matching up properly.

Since his pro is asking him to strengthen his grip, it sounds like the pro wants to start working on the proper body-release that goes along with that body-rotation motion....and your son can't start to learn that release until he committs to the grip change.

It will s*ck, because a grip change is ALWAYS a swing change.  So he may play some pretty poor golf for awhile while he learns to releae the club by rotating his body through the shot, rather than stopping-and-flipping.  But this is where he's going to have to show some trust in you and in the pro.

But it will be worth it.  Because---if the pro is taking him in the direction I think he is---he'll be rewared with a powerful, accurate, consistent, and LOW-MAINTENANCE swing.  IOW, golf will seem like a totatly different game than the way he's playing right now.

Edited by kellygreen, 07 December 2012 - 03:36 PM.

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#7 kellygreen

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:44 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 07 December 2012 - 03:14 PM, said:

Here's a recent video showing his iron swing as well as current hybrid/wood/driver swing.

Set the resolution to HD 1080 for easier viewing.



As far as "body-release" goes, here's the best example of one from this generations crop of tour players.

Hunter Mahan:



Notice:

1. How Mahan's body continues to rotate aggressively towards the target as his arms and club move through the hitting area...where as your son's body stops abruptly in order to let his arms catch up and then release....

2. How quiet Mahan's arms are through the hitting area, and how little they change their orientation with respect to his body as he move through the ball.  While your son's arms rollover quickly in an effort to try to square up the face.

3. How close Mahans upper arms stay tucked into his body ("connected") as he rotates, while your son's swing arms (especially his right arm) flips out and away from his body through the hitting area.

Mahan's release is the kind of "body-release" you want with the type of swing motion your son seems to be developing.  Unless you are INCREDIBLY strong in the upper body (Ben Hogan), you need a grip that tends toward the strong side inorder to get the clubface to square with this kind of release.   As he gets older...and stronger...he may be able to neutralize it somewhat.   But for now, he needs to make the change if he wants to play his best, in the long term.

Edited by kellygreen, 07 December 2012 - 03:46 PM.

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#8 jollysammy

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:09 AM

thank you for taking the time to give such a thoughtful response.  I'm sure this is also part of the growing process of my son's golf game.  I can't help but think that some of the things he does where from handling long clubs when he was younger and shorter.  I especially appreciate the discussion of the single plane swing and how it is similar to his batting swing.  He is pretty intelligent and adaptive.  I've told him that he could learn the strong grip and incorporate that into his swing, and if should ever need  to use the weaker grip to hit over a tree or execute a fade he could do that too.

I gave him the example of what he did in a US Kids tournament at Blackhawk CC last year.  On the tenth hole it is downhill to a lake with 2 levels.  Between the tee box and the green are a couple of 140 ft trees at the base of the 1st level.  All the other kids hit their tee shots left  away from the trees to the 1st plateau to be safe since it was a par 5.  My son instead knew he hit a high ballflight and instead took on the trees.  He hit his tee shot very high, almost like a 7 wood right over the trees and since the trees were on the 1st plateau, his ball continued down the slope to about 10 yds shy of the lower lake, a 370 yd drive with the downhill rollout.

http://www.blackhawk...GRP=13164&NS=GO

So at this point, he lays 1 while the other kids take 2 more shots to reach where he's at.

Grinning from ear to ear, he just needed to make a 80 yd pitch to the green and putt for an eagle, at least that's what he told me.  I told him to calm down and just make the shot and I added " don't count your eagles before they're hatched..."  Of course, he says  to me, "...why did you say that"  and promptly missed the green to the right and ends up parring it, after we left the green, he says sarcastically..."thanks dad".

#9 Jon Robert

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

Jim Hardy who is about the 7th best instructor in America say that golf is just baseball on the ground.  So I can't see where golf hurts baseball or vs vs.

#10 kellygreen

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:54 AM

View PostJon Robert, on 08 December 2012 - 11:17 AM, said:

Jim Hardy who is about the 7th best instructor in America say that golf is just baseball on the ground.  So I can't see where golf hurts baseball or vs vs.

The two plane golf swing has a feel, tempo and timing that is more like a baseball throw than a baseball swing.

The one-plane swing isn't all that different from a fundamentally sound baseball swing.

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#11 TheLastDon

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:21 PM

Yes your son's baseball swing will effect his golf swing. It is not easy to play both sports at the same time. The timing and plane of swings are different, and it can make it very difficult to transition from one to the other. I know when I was in high school and pony leagues my golf game was very bad until May when h.s. ball was over and then over the summer it would get better because baseball practices were less. I would still need at least a couple of baskets of balls before going out to the course from a baseball game, in order to get my "baseball" swing out of my "golf swing".

#12 OptionlessM

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:25 AM

If your son is a decent athlete, it will not matter.  Athletes can make adjustments.

#13 ChipDriver

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:35 AM

View Postjollysammy, on 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:

Yesterday my son had a lesson with a pro.  The pro loves his swing but hates his grip.  He uses a weak grip with hands slightly seperated and that's what causes him to flip the ball and get high ballflight.  He wants him to use a strong grip and that's going to take a while to develop.  Of course my son is worried that he has about 6 tournaments coming up every 2 weeks.

We are going to switch to Cleveland CG16s so my son figures that going to a lighter club and CB than his MP-33s might help him make the adjustment to the strong grip since he would be adjusting to new clubs anyway.

But I keep wondering, is all this also because he plays baseball and this is what others have mentioned to me regarding the fears of playing both sports.

With respect - which does he like better?  Golf or baseball?  I'd suggest that you leave him alone....you might dicker around with his grip and destroy both swings.  He looks athletic and he can figure it out.   You already said he's hitting it farther than his friends?  Leave him alone...he's doing fine.  :) :)

I used to coach little league and tennis with kids - frankly all they need is one single "dry spell" and they can lose interest quickly and never get it back.   Likewise if he switches his grip and loses distance (and he falls back to where his friends are) he could also quit.

Unless you have achieved a high level of success at baseball or golf - I'd humbly suggest you let him find his own way.   He looks like a kid 10 or less?



PS:  are those HIS clubs or yours?  Are the fitted for him?   It looks like they may be too long - and that's why he might have a flip and a "jump"/rising up at impact.  THAT'S ATHLETIC.  :)

Edited by ChipDriver, 10 December 2012 - 12:39 AM.


#14 jollysammy

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:17 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:



PS:  are those HIS clubs or yours?  Are the fitted for him?   It looks like they may be too long - and that's why he might have a flip and a "jump"/rising up at impact.  THAT'S ATHLETIC.  :)

They are his clubs.  Used Mizuno Mp-33s standard size.   Adjusted 3 degrees flat.

As far as what he likes better, he'd say both.  It's just not practical to be doing both in HS since they are in the same season and to continue to do both at a high level, with Travel ball and golf tournaments simultaneously year round is very expensive.  Average tournament fees are about $50-55, so besides travel expenses that's about $200 a month there.  About the same or more for travel ball.  We know where he's at baseball wise as to where he stands versus his peers, that isn't the worry, his USSSA team is ranked #2 in their region for their age group.  In golf, he needs more competition against the top players that he faces in junior golf who compete year round and practice/play full time.  He played about 14 golf tournaments last year vs prior years where he played about 100+  baseball games a year the 3 prior years.  His peers playing in junior golf play at least twice to three times that number of tournaments.

Like previous posters have said, yes its wonderful to do both, but sooner or later you run into the "commitment to the team" vs the "commitment to yourself(golf)".  Hard to reconcile.  3 years ago he played basketball during the winter and was also playing tournament golf.  Unfortunately we missed many Sunday basketball games to play tournaments, it was hard since I was the assistant coach in basketball.  He never played basketball again due to the conflict.

Also, when you see the level of competition in junior golf these days, its not hard to figure out the full time players from the part time ones, athletics aside, golf demands a level of experience with each scenario.

#15 OptionlessM

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:41 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 11 December 2012 - 05:17 PM, said:


Also, when you see the level of competition in junior golf these days, its not hard to figure out the full time players from the part time ones, athletics aside, golf demands a level of experience with each scenario.

This is not correct.  This type typically leads to college flop burnouts.  Let him be a kid and play sports.  If he is good at them, he will be able to play in college at a high level.

Plenty of the best college players on my team and others which I played with were multi sport athletes.  This is up to date.


#16 kellygreen

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:06 AM

View Postjollysammy, on 11 December 2012 - 05:17 PM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:

PS:  are those HIS clubs or yours?  Are the fitted for him?   It looks like they may be too long - and that's why he might have a flip and a "jump"/rising up at impact.  THAT'S ATHLETIC.  :)

They are his clubs.  Used Mizuno Mp-33s standard size.   Adjusted 3 degrees flat.

As far as what he likes better, he'd say both.  It's just not practical to be doing both in HS since they are in the same season and to continue to do both at a high level, with Travel ball and golf tournaments simultaneously year round is very expensive.  Average tournament fees are about $50-55, so besides travel expenses that's about $200 a month there.  About the same or more for travel ball.  We know where he's at baseball wise as to where he stands versus his peers, that isn't the worry, his USSSA team is ranked #2 in their region for their age group.  In golf, he needs more competition against the top players that he faces in junior golf who compete year round and practice/play full time.  He played about 14 golf tournaments last year vs prior years where he played about 100+  baseball games a year the 3 prior years.  His peers playing in junior golf play at least twice to three times that number of tournaments.

Like previous posters have said, yes its wonderful to do both, but sooner or later you run into the "commitment to the team" vs the "commitment to yourself(golf)".  Hard to reconcile.  3 years ago he played basketball during the winter and was also playing tournament golf.  Unfortunately we missed many Sunday basketball games to play tournaments, it was hard since I was the assistant coach in basketball.  He never played basketball again due to the conflict.

Also, when you see the level of competition in junior golf these days, its not hard to figure out the full time players from the part time ones, athletics aside, golf demands a level of experience with each scenario.

A hundred games a year.....at that age?  OMFG.  Please tell me that he's not a pitcher....

Count me in with Optionless M.  That's a schedule that needs to either be racheted back...or broken up with participation in other sports.

Otherwise, there's a risk of burnout or over-use injuries that could compromise his ability to play at higher levels of the game.

What he loses in experience (with a reduced schedule) will be more-than-made up for in keeping him physically and mentally fresh, and preserving his joy in playing the game.
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#17 jollysammy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

View Postkellygreen, on 12 December 2012 - 08:06 AM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 11 December 2012 - 05:17 PM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:

PS:  are those HIS clubs or yours?  Are the fitted for him?   It looks like they may be too long - and that's why he might have a flip and a "jump"/rising up at impact.  THAT'S ATHLETIC.  :)

They are his clubs.  Used Mizuno Mp-33s standard size.   Adjusted 3 degrees flat.

As far as what he likes better, he'd say both.  It's just not practical to be doing both in HS since they are in the same season and to continue to do both at a high level, with Travel ball and golf tournaments simultaneously year round is very expensive.  Average tournament fees are about $50-55, so besides travel expenses that's about $200 a month there.  About the same or more for travel ball.  We know where he's at baseball wise as to where he stands versus his peers, that isn't the worry, his USSSA team is ranked #2 in their region for their age group.  In golf, he needs more competition against the top players that he faces in junior golf who compete year round and practice/play full time.  He played about 14 golf tournaments last year vs prior years where he played about 100+  baseball games a year the 3 prior years.  His peers playing in junior golf play at least twice to three times that number of tournaments.

Like previous posters have said, yes its wonderful to do both, but sooner or later you run into the "commitment to the team" vs the "commitment to yourself(golf)".  Hard to reconcile.  3 years ago he played basketball during the winter and was also playing tournament golf.  Unfortunately we missed many Sunday basketball games to play tournaments, it was hard since I was the assistant coach in basketball.  He never played basketball again due to the conflict.

Also, when you see the level of competition in junior golf these days, its not hard to figure out the full time players from the part time ones, athletics aside, golf demands a level of experience with each scenario.

A hundred games a year.....at that age?  OMFG.  Please tell me that he's not a pitcher....

Count me in with Optionless M.  That's a schedule that needs to either be racheted back...or broken up with participation in other sports.

Otherwise, there's a risk of burnout or over-use injuries that could compromise his ability to play at higher levels of the game.

What he loses in experience (with a reduced schedule) will be more-than-made up for in keeping him physically and mentally fresh, and preserving his joy in playing the game.

I really never let him pitch.  In 3 years the most he pitched was about 6 innings over the span of 2 years, usually as a closer.  The coaches wanted him to pitch more, but he's got a 3/4 motion and yes even though its deceptive, I know that the amount of baseball he plays would ask for trouble if he pitched.  He's primarily a 3rd baseman, shortstop, or centerfielder.  If you add up the games from LL, all-stars, summer, fall and spring travel ball you'll find that quite a few boys out there are pushing 100+ games a year.  One weekend on a travel ball team can equal 5 to 6 games depending on if you make the championship game.  During his 9/10 all-star season his team lost the 1st game and had to play in the losers bracket but made it to the championship.  1 game a day for about 5-6 days.

All this being said, I know that to be more active in golf, we have to drop down the frequency of baseball by at least 2/3s.  But these days, dropping back that much will pretty much mean rec ball.  But we are increasingly become ok with that and increasing the golf.

#18 saltrunner

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:29 PM

My son is 8 and has become a pretty advanced player for his age and his golf coach has recommended if at all possible don't let him swing a baseball bat ...

#19 kellygreen

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:35 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 12 December 2012 - 02:26 PM, said:

View Postkellygreen, on 12 December 2012 - 08:06 AM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 11 December 2012 - 05:17 PM, said:

View Postjollysammy, on 05 December 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:

PS:  are those HIS clubs or yours?  Are the fitted for him?   It looks like they may be too long - and that's why he might have a flip and a "jump"/rising up at impact.  THAT'S ATHLETIC.  :)

They are his clubs.  Used Mizuno Mp-33s standard size.   Adjusted 3 degrees flat.

As far as what he likes better, he'd say both.  It's just not practical to be doing both in HS since they are in the same season and to continue to do both at a high level, with Travel ball and golf tournaments simultaneously year round is very expensive.  Average tournament fees are about $50-55, so besides travel expenses that's about $200 a month there.  About the same or more for travel ball.  We know where he's at baseball wise as to where he stands versus his peers, that isn't the worry, his USSSA team is ranked #2 in their region for their age group.  In golf, he needs more competition against the top players that he faces in junior golf who compete year round and practice/play full time.  He played about 14 golf tournaments last year vs prior years where he played about 100+  baseball games a year the 3 prior years.  His peers playing in junior golf play at least twice to three times that number of tournaments.

Like previous posters have said, yes its wonderful to do both, but sooner or later you run into the "commitment to the team" vs the "commitment to yourself(golf)".  Hard to reconcile.  3 years ago he played basketball during the winter and was also playing tournament golf.  Unfortunately we missed many Sunday basketball games to play tournaments, it was hard since I was the assistant coach in basketball.  He never played basketball again due to the conflict.

Also, when you see the level of competition in junior golf these days, its not hard to figure out the full time players from the part time ones, athletics aside, golf demands a level of experience with each scenario.

A hundred games a year.....at that age?  OMFG.  Please tell me that he's not a pitcher....

Count me in with Optionless M.  That's a schedule that needs to either be racheted back...or broken up with participation in other sports.

Otherwise, there's a risk of burnout or over-use injuries that could compromise his ability to play at higher levels of the game.

What he loses in experience (with a reduced schedule) will be more-than-made up for in keeping him physically and mentally fresh, and preserving his joy in playing the game.

I really never let him pitch.  In 3 years the most he pitched was about 6 innings over the span of 2 years, usually as a closer.  The coaches wanted him to pitch more, but he's got a 3/4 motion and yes even though its deceptive, I know that the amount of baseball he plays would ask for trouble if he pitched.  He's primarily a 3rd baseman, shortstop, or centerfielder.  If you add up the games from LL, all-stars, summer, fall and spring travel ball you'll find that quite a few boys out there are pushing 100+ games a year. One weekend on a travel ball team can equal 5 to 6 games depending on if you make the championship game.  During his 9/10 all-star season his team lost the 1st game and had to play in the losers bracket but made it to the championship.  1 game a day for about 5-6 days.

All this being said, I know that to be more active in golf, we have to drop down the frequency of baseball by at least 2/3s.  But these days, dropping back that much will pretty much mean rec ball.  But we are increasingly become ok with that and increasing the golf.

That explains why so many kids are showing up in orthopedist/sports medicine offices with injuries that used to be seen only in professional athletes.

These kids bodies were not designed or intended to stand up to that kind of wear-and-tear.  If what you say about your local baseball environment is true....then that is terribly sad.  I feel sorry for the kids.  I played D-I collegiate ball...and here is NOTHING in baseball that can be learned playing 100 games a year that can't be learned playing half that many.  

But do what you need to do to keep your son happy, safe, and healthy.

Someone wiser than me once said, "An arm only has so many throws in it.  Your kid can either be a star in the youth leagues, or he can be a star in the professional leagues.  He can't be both."
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#20 Deerslayer

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:00 PM

Been down this road. It is almost getting to the time that your son will need to make a descision.  During high school (at least here in TX) timing wise, you can't play baseball and golf at the same time. If he is interested in playing sports in highschool and into college, I would say he needs to chose which he likes and concentrate on that. My son played baseball and only dabbled in golf after the end of baseball in August. He did this until he was 12 and though he was good in both, he wasn't able to compete at the highest levels of golf. HE decided he wanted to concentrate on golf and within a year, he was really good and within two years, it was obvious he made the right descision.
Your son's swing is a little unique, but one of the best players here in Austin who was a mentor to my son as he was a senior and my son a freshman, has a VERY similar swing to your son. He now is playing for the College of Charleston and is a very successful player. He still uses a 10 finger baseball grip, two gloves and flips his wrists through the ball like your son. He is so unconventional yet so good, it is not even funny. He is a lefty and will sling a big looping hook at a pin on the left edge of the green. When the ball is in the air, you say "no way" until it lands by the pin. He looks and sounds like a good athlete. I would encourage him to decide which he enjoys more and let him flourish from there.

Edited by Deerslayer, 12 December 2012 - 04:01 PM.


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#21 Hrocks

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:33 PM

Specialization at an early age is not a good thing IMO.  My guy turned 12 this summer and has played the USKG tour for seven years.  Untill the last two years he also played baseball, football and basketball.  Now he's down to golf and basketball, which is a perfect combo timewise.  Last year our USKG tour director had a speaker from TPI, the Titelist Performance Institute.  He gave a very thoughtful and insightful presentation.  He was very much against young kids specializing in one sport-especially golf.  The TPI has kids programs in which less than half of their time is spent on golf and the majority developing other motor skills and muscle groups not normally associated with golf, but are critical to golf.  For example, the kids would have various obstacle courses that included low height "balance beams"  and other obstacles that required balance and strength. They really stressed the need for the kids not to get overexposed and burned out on golf, or any sport.  It was a very enlightening presentation.

Edited by Hrocks, 12 December 2012 - 04:34 PM.


#22 ChipDriver

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

Jollysammy:

How old is your son - did I read that he's in HS?  100 games is a lot of wear and tear on a kid...particularly if he's in an upper development league?

#23 jollysammy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

View PostChipDriver, on 12 December 2012 - 05:09 PM, said:

Jollysammy:

How old is your son - did I read that he's in HS?  100 games is a lot of wear and tear on a kid...particularly if he's in an upper development league?

He's 12.  He won't be in HS for another 2 years.

Yes, it would seem like a lot.  Although at the time, since he was primarily a position player and not a full time pitcher, it didn't feel like that much.  Most of his throwing was long toss in warmups and between innings.  A few hard throws during a game, from 3rd/short to 1st and an occasional do or die to home from centerfield, but nothing like what pitchers go through.

Edited by jollysammy, 12 December 2012 - 05:20 PM.


#24 jollysammy

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

Now I'm really conflicted.  Sunday my son came in 2nd at his golf tournament at the Bridges in San Ramon, one of the hardest courses in Northern California.  Any yet, he did it with his old grip.  He started his birdie run at 9 with a chip in at the par 4, almost had a birdie on 10 despite pulling his drive left and bouncing off the bridge 170yds away only to get a lucky bounce that went up another 30 yds up the left side into the rough, blind 70yd flop shot to left side of green which rolled to within a foot of the hole, but inexplicably while he was attempting the birdie putt one of the other players started talking and he pushed it 1/2 inch right for par.  Came back on the par3 11 with a 159 yd 6 iron to 8ft and putts out for birdie.  He ended up with 4-5 birdies for the round.

The best part is that despite the hard course, he broke 80 for the 1st time.  So now he has another tournament this Friday, and then back a week later to the Bridges for the Veritas junior qualifier and then 2 more tournaments a week later.  Then we'll probably go back to the pro for the next lesson.  He's going to want to see how he's progressing with the grip change.  If he continues to shoot in the 70s with the old grip, it's going to be harder to slog through the swing change.

What I notice is that he's deadly accurate with his driver, 3 woods, hybrid and that's what he mostly hits on 18 hole courses, not much iron play, mostly wedges except on par 3s.  Is the strong grip swing primarily for irons?  Maybe he would be more comfortable with a neutral grip?

#25 kellygreen

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 19 December 2012 - 12:59 PM, said:

Now I'm really conflicted.  Sunday my son came in 2nd at his golf tournament at the Bridges in San Ramon, one of the hardest courses in Northern California.  Any yet, he did it with his old grip.  He started his birdie run at 9 with a chip in at the par 4, almost had a birdie on 10 despite pulling his drive left and bouncing off the bridge 170yds away only to get a lucky bounce that went up another 30 yds up the left side into the rough, blind 70yd flop shot to left side of green which rolled to within a foot of the hole, but inexplicably while he was attempting the birdie putt one of the other players started talking and he pushed it 1/2 inch right for par.  Came back on the par3 11 with a 159 yd 6 iron to 8ft and putts out for birdie.  He ended up with 4-5 birdies for the round.

The best part is that despite the hard course, he broke 80 for the 1st time.  So now he has another tournament this Friday, and then back a week later to the Bridges for the Veritas junior qualifier and then 2 more tournaments a week later.  Then we'll probably go back to the pro for the next lesson.  He's going to want to see how he's progressing with the grip change.  If he continues to shoot in the 70s with the old grip, it's going to be harder to slog through the swing change.

What I notice is that he's deadly accurate with his driver, 3 woods, hybrid and that's what he mostly hits on 18 hole courses, not much iron play, mostly wedges except on par 3s.  Is the strong grip swing primarily for irons?  Maybe he would be more comfortable with a neutral grip?

You and your son need to sit down and come to some decisions about what kind of golf he wants to play.  Do you want a game built around shotmaking creativity....or ball-striking consistency?   The swing he has right now is more geared towards the former...the swing his pro wants him to develop is more geared towards the latter.

Your son is playing well right now, because his timing is on, and it sounds like's about to start a hot streak. But all hot streaks come to an end.  So I would not make any long-term plans for his game based on where he is right now....especially if he's hot.  Make that decision based upon where it is you and he want to end up, and what kind of golf you want to be playing when you get there.

Unless he's been blessed with very good small-muscle coordination (like Bubba Watson) or an exquisite sense of rhythm and tempo (like Luke Donald), his current swing will lead him down a path to being a STREAKY player, like Phil Mickelson.   A player who will play really well on days when his timing is keyed in....but will hit the ball all over the lot when his timing is off.    In exchange for this relatively inconsistency, he will be rewarded with a swing that finds it much easier to alter the flight and curve of the ball.

Some people (really laid back people....like Fred Couples or Ernie Els...or natural risk takers like Mickelson and Daly) have the kind of temperment to play this kind of golf.   Others---who tend to be more perfectionistic---don't.  I, personally, fall into the latter category...so I get frustrated (rather than feel challenged) when I hit the ball sideways.

The kind of swing that your pro is trying to teach him, is more geared towards the kind of day-in-and-day out ballstriking consistency that you see in a Lee Westwood or a Hunter Mahan.  Guys who hit lots of fairways and lots of greens every day...and how well they score comes down to how grooved their short game is at the moment.   No free lunches...so what these guys gain in consistency, they lose in shotmaking versatility.   But this is a way of playing golf that is more comfortable for people who have personalities that tend to be more perfectionistic, organized, and require things be orderly.

Your son is probably a good enough athlete that he can make either approach work for him.  Imo, I think it comes down to what his long-term goals are and what kind of golfing personality he has, as to which path he should choose.

But make your choice based on the long view....not how he's striking the ball right now.   Everyone just gets to borrow this game from time to time.  No body masters it, so what ever streak he's on, will come to an end at some point.

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#26 jollysammy

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

Well, I can see all your points.  This past few weeks I've watched him practicing at the range using both grips, going back and forth between them.  He is now at the point where he can hit both straight, the strong grip goes a little lower in trajectory vs the other which flies higher and tends to land softer.  Where I can see his preference for the old swing come in is from 140 yds and in.  With his old grip yesterday, he was 130 out on his 2nd shot of a par 4, hit his iron to within 2ft, short hop, 1 foot to hole putt for birdie.  Or another hole where he was coming from the back of the green, SW flops the ball up to a down back to front slope green pin middle, 10yds from fringe ball hits 3 yds in from fringe, and rolls 30ft into the hole.  On the range I watch him put ball after ball within 10ft of the pin when hitting from 120 in.    So I can see where his old grip is like a security blanket, he feels safe with it.  Where I can see that it hurts him though is when trying to do intentional draws/fades.  He just seems to only hit a straight shot, which is fine unless you end up behind a tree.

Since he's shown me that he can go back and forth between the grips for now, I can't help but feel he will go with what he's comfortable with in competition.  But I can see where having success with his old grip makes going to the strong grip a move made with reluctance.  It's hard for me to push the issue because my golf game stinks and is getting worse and worse as his gets better.  I feel like the portrait of Dorain Gray.

Yesterday the only stokes that were hurting him was putting, the course at Boundary Oak had a lot of deceptive greens where boys would be putting up what seemed like a small incline only to watch in dismay as the balls would roll back by gravity beyond where they started.  Many boys had 4-5 putts per hole, Alex had 1 6 putt after getting to the GIR.  I've never seen boys miss 2-3 footers like what I saw yesterday.

Golf can be tough enough, but when the greens act like minature golf it can try one's patience.

#27 kellygreen

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

View Postjollysammy, on 03 January 2013 - 12:09 PM, said:

Well, I can see all your points.  This past few weeks I've watched him practicing at the range using both grips, going back and forth between them.  He is now at the point where he can hit both straight, the strong grip goes a little lower in trajectory vs the other which flies higher and tends to land softer.  Where I can see his preference for the old swing come in is from 140 yds and in.  With his old grip yesterday, he was 130 out on his 2nd shot of a par 4, hit his iron to within 2ft, short hop, 1 foot to hole putt for birdie.  Or another hole where he was coming from the back of the green, SW flops the ball up to a down back to front slope green pin middle, 10yds from fringe ball hits 3 yds in from fringe, and rolls 30ft into the hole.  On the range I watch him put ball after ball within 10ft of the pin when hitting from 120 in. So I can see where his old grip is like a security blanket, he feels safe with it.  Where I can see that it hurts him though is when trying to do intentional draws/fades.  He just seems to only hit a straight shot, which is fine unless you end up behind a tree.

Since he's shown me that he can go back and forth between the grips for now, I can't help but feel he will go with what he's comfortable with in competition.  But I can see where having success with his old grip makes going to the strong grip a move made with reluctance.  It's hard for me to push the issue because my golf game stinks and is getting worse and worse as his gets better.  I feel like the portrait of Dorain Gray.

Yesterday the only stokes that were hurting him was putting, the course at Boundary Oak had a lot of deceptive greens where boys would be putting up what seemed like a small incline only to watch in dismay as the balls would roll back by gravity beyond where they started.  Many boys had 4-5 putts per hole, Alex had 1 6 putt after getting to the GIR.  I've never seen boys miss 2-3 footers like what I saw yesterday.

Golf can be tough enough, but when the greens act like minature golf it can try one's patience.

Again, make your decision based on the long-term, and what kind of GAME he is comfortable playing.

You CAN shape the ball with a stronger grip and a body-release...you just can't do it by altering the timing of your release like he can with his old grip and old swing.  You do it by BUILDING the relationship between clubface and clubpath you want at impact into your address.   You can become equally skilled around the greens with either approach.

It is human nature to want to resist change (its uncomfortable).  It is human nature not to want to let go of something you are doing well, for the unknown of learning something new.  But only by letting go of what is secure-and-familiar can we ever learn new things, and get better at anything.

Unless he is a world-class talent, it is unlikely he will ever be a consistent ballstriker from day-to-day with his old grip and swing.   As I said in my previous post, he will be a streaky, creative player who will have to rely strongly on his short game on the days when his timing is off.   If he is tempermentally comfortable playing that kind of game...then don't push the issue as long as he's continuing to improve.    The only thing worse than a bad swing is trying to learn a better swing that you cannot committ to....and that you never do the work to fully master.

But if ---like me--he is more cerebral, and need to work within a narrower emotional range to get the most out of his game...then he needs to follow through with the change.  Yes, I have a harder time shaping the ball with a body release...but it is a price that I'm willing to pay in order to be a more accurate and a more consistent  player from day-to-day.
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#28 jollysammy

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 07:47 PM

Well,

these past few months have shown me that he is just more comfortable with his old grip and swing.  He is much more creative with it, can hit his 7.5 degree driver off the deck on good and bad lies and is just extremely accurate with his swing.  The only thing holding him back from lower scores is his putting, and that is an entirely different swing and mechanics.

I don't think he wants to change.  And yes, that means he'll be more of a pro-flipper style swing.  I just want him to have fun and enjoy the sport.




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