Feb 05, 2024

Transition from Baseball & Softball to Golfer with Milo Lines

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Golf instructor Milo Lines has an unconventional approach to teaching golf. As a former standout baseball player turned professional golfer, Milo realized that many principles of an athletic baseball swing could be applied to elevate one's golf game. 

In this episode of the T-Time with Tori podcast, host Tori sits down with Milo to unpack the mechanics behind generating power in both baseball and golf. They tackle topics ranging from:


  •  Key similarities and differences between baseball and golf swings
  •  Common swing errors baseball players make when transitioning to golf 
  •  How to modify your grip and use your athleticism more effectively
  •  What pitchers and hockey players intrinsically understand that benefits their golf swing

For any golfer looking to maximize their athletic potential or struggling to shake their baseball swing, Milo provides unique perspective and actionable tips. Read on for the episode highlights.

Milo's Backstory: From Baseball Dreams to Golf Reality

Milo was a talented baseball player from a young age with dreams of playing professionally one day. However, after years of overuse as a pitcher, he suffered an arm injury requiring Tommy John surgery at age 18. This elbow injury dashed his baseball aspirations, and at his dad's coaxing, Milo reluctantly picked up golf instead. 

To Milo's surprise, his natural athleticism translated quickly in golf. Within his first summer playing, he rapidly improved from shooting 83 to scoring under par. Milo recounts:


"I wound up getting in front of some college coaches in random ways. I happened to play some golf tournaments and I played with a coach from a school called Utah Valley University. And he's like, 'Who are you?' 'cause I won the tournament. And he is like, 'Well, would you rather be a golfer?' And you know, I thought about it for a little bit and sure enough, yeah, I've decided to switch and I played golf."


After a successful college career, Milo played professionally for 2.5 years. He won some early events but struggled to compete at higher levels as the weaknesses in his short game were exposed. After quitting golf for a couple years, Milo rediscovered his passion for teaching. He has since developed his unique style of instruction centered around applying athletic movements to the golf swing.

Key Similarities Between Baseball & Golf Swings

When asked about the main similarities between baseball and golf swings, Milo points to how power is generated:


"The way I power this thing is from the middle out. And there is a pressure shift. So I go right, left, and then my middle drives and that power is my arms around. I'm pivoting or rotating. It's the same thing as a golf swing."


He notes both swings rely on rotating the core and shifting weight sequentially from the right to the left side. The full-body kinetic sequence is essential to building speed and power in both motions.

Notable Differences Between Baseball & Golf 

While baseball and golf share foundational similarities, some key differences trip up baseball players transitioning to golf:

Grip & Wrist Position

Milo identifies grip and wrist position as the #1 issue, leading to an open club face:


"If I use my hands like a hitter in baseball, the club face is like this. And that's where they usually hit it. Yeah, they start off the game and every ball goes straight to the right."


He notes in golf, the lead hand palm needs to control the face, while the trail hand mirrors the face at impact. Baseball players tend to flip their trail hand, leading to slices.

Weight Shift 

The pressure sequence differs slightly between the two sports:


"Baseball swing, I really never get onto my left foot very much. I land and now I use this left leg to push myself back and around. And you can see this leg turns in."


In golf, more pressure remains on the lead side longer, especially with shorter clubs. Baseball players tend to overly spin off their left side.

Adapting to Varying Ball Locations

Milo explains baseball players must adjust to pitches in different locations. The golf ball position stays more consistent. Over-manipulating hand movements to adapt to varying pitch locations can be detrimental in golf.

Why Pitchers Make Good Golfers

When examining what makes certain baseball positions translate well to golf, Milo believes pitchers have a distinct advantage: 


"Well, I've narrowed it down to what a pitcher does all day is spin a ball and they spin it different directions. So fast ball, curve ball, slider, maybe they throw a sinker so their hands are really good at making spin."


As pitchers are accustomed to manipulating spin with their hands, they easily replicate those motions with a golf club to shape different shots. Their trail arm movement also mirrors a throwing motion better than a hitter's swing path.


Beyond hand skills, Milo notes pitchers tend to be the best all-around athletes on the field, giving them more physical tools to work with.

Hockey Players & Their Golf Swing

Milo highlights hockey as another sport that cultivates skills directly transferable to golf:


"The hitting plane is almost identical. Swinging a stick like this on the same hitting plane. Mm-Hmm. almost always Hockey players have very short golf swings, but they hit it hard."


He notes hockey players generate exceptional power and compression due to their downward strike on the puck. This hitting down motion mimics proper ball-striking in golf.

The main difference is their trail arm stays rigid when loading into a slap shot. Golf requires hinging the wrists and retaining some flex in the trail elbow. But hockey players understand central concepts like ground interaction and rotational force that provide a foundation for golf swing mechanics.

Common Power Leaks for Women Golfers

When examining common power leaks in the golf swing, Milo finds women often have issues tying together the upper and lower body:


"Generally I find women have a harder time getting their torso to catch up and their arms. It's like the, the upper body strength is just a little lacking. And so the, their legs are really strong and they can spin really fast. But then the rest of them can't catch up."


Even if they can fire their hips rapidly, power gets lost if the upper body and arms lag too far behind. Strengthening the core muscles to sync the transition of upper and lower body could benefit many women golfers.

Final Tips for Former Baseball Players

In conclusion, Milo offers one final tip for former baseball or softball players struggling with their golf game:


"Number one, strengthen your grip and train your right hand to control the face."


If they can adapt their hand position and wrist hinge to present the proper face angle to the ball at impact, most athletes have the tools to elevate their golf swing. Tapping into the athletic motions their body intrinsically understands will unlock their best golf.


About Milo Lines


Milo Lines is the Head Golf Instructor at Superstition Mountain Golf Club in Arizona. He has been coaching golfers of all skill levels since 2005. 


With students ranging from beginners to tour professionals, Milo focuses on training golfers to "swing like an athlete." His non-traditional background blending baseball and golf gives him unique perspective on translating athletic motions to the golf course. 

Milo offers private lessons, golf schools, online training, and has an online academy with 600+ members. He can be found dispensing witty golf wisdom on Instagram or through his website milolinesgolf.com.


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