It’s common knowledge that baseball players are usually pretty solid golfers. We’ve seen some ballplayers who can really play, often shooting scores and making swings we’d suspect would be right at home on a professional tour. Come to think of it, a baseball swing and a golf swing are more the same than different. The obvious differentiator being a baseball is flying upwards of 100 mph on a curving path — a far cry from us golfers who have the ball perched innocently on a tee.
That doesn’t mean golf is any easier, though. We were lucky enough to spend some time with the Red Sox Hall of Famer, four-time All-Star, 2007 AL Rookie of the Year, 2008 AL MVP and two-time World Series champion Dustin Pedroia as he spent time working through a driver fitting at a Phoenix, Ariz., True Spec Golf (GOLF’s sister company). Pedroia, known as a prolific contact-hitting second baseman in his heyday, came looking for more control and consistency off the tee and, with help from True Spec Golf, got things dialed in perfectly.
“Tempo in golf is everything,” he said. “But I was so violent when it came to my baseball swing that it slowed me down. You’d sometimes hear about how golf can mess up your baseball swing, but then you look at a guy like Tony Gwynn. All he did was golf.”
For that matter, Gwynn remains one of the best hitters in baseball history, proving that playing baseball doesn’t necessarily make you a worse golfer and playing golf doesn’t always hurt your baseball skills.
Lastly, in case you’re wondering, world-class athletes get fit the same way we mortals do. Through careful club and shaft testing, trial and error, data evaluation, and if you really want to do it right, under the watchful eye and guiding hand of an experienced and reputable clubfitter.
“For me it’s all about control,” said Pedroia. “I like to work the ball both ways, but really it’s important that I find the fairway because my strength is my iron play.”
To find out which driver head and shaft combination helped Pedroia tack on 10-plus yards off the tee with a knockdown in spin for more accuracy, check out the video below.