Baseball on the brain

Nich Wolak • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:55 PM

“Chicks dig the long ball.”

I’ve been thinking about that late ’90s Nike baseball commercial a lot during my golf lessons.

In it, the Atlanta Braves pitching trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz work on hitting home runs, so they can get the same attention from the ladies as (steroid-user) Mark McGwire.

My golf game doesn’t (and probably never will) warrant any female attention, but there’s no denying that there’s a pull for players to want to hit the long ball in both sports.

After going driveless in my previous lesson, I knew I needed to get out to the range lest I lose my marvelous (this is the part where you’re supposed to roll your eyes) swing.

I made sure to have some putting bread to surround the driving meat of my golf sandwich, but man was that middle tasty.

I couldn’t help but smile as several of my balls sailed through the air. I was beginning to self-correct myself. I noticed that a good turn on my back foot would lead to a halfway decent burst, and that a proper follow-through would give me some air.

I was still very inconsistent though, and wondered if I’d ever be able to put a string together.

That worry would be tested the next day.

Troy changed up my focus a bit at the beginning, reminding me to drive my belt buckle forward for a quick, fluid motion.

“Try to use your whole body and hips,” Troy said. “Picture yourself as Miguel Cabrera.”

I had been hitting the long ball decent the day before, and didn’t want to change, but I knew that being more Miggy-like would help me in the long run.

Troy lined ’em up — five balls, five tees, five chances.

I went into my first test fighting the battle between sticking to proper form, and just trying to crush it.

The latter won out out on my initial swing, but I was just trying to maintain what has become a tradition.

If I didn’t miss ridiculously, when would Troy and I giggle about how bloodthirsty I am?

I went 3-for-5 on the first set, which was got me a passing grade. But Troy also made sure to remind me that things work a little bit differently in golf.

“When you get out to the course, you don’t get five shots,” Troy said. “It’s one or done. … It makes for a long day if you don’t put the time in.”

We decided to add five more to see what I could get out of 10.

My 2-for-5 finish put me at 5-for-10.


Or was it? Maybe I needed some perspective.

“(That) isn’t bad,” Troy said. “That’s pretty good, especially when you consider that two weeks ago you missed a majority of them.”

Encouraged, I went 6-for-10 on my next set, and 5-for-10 hitting from off ground without a tee.

Maybe there is hope for me after all.

Maybe, one day, I’ll consistently hit the long ball.   

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