Mike Trout is better than you at everything. Golf too. To the surprise of few, the Los Angeles Angels slugger's power at the plate translates nicely on the tee, as he showed off in a video shared from Topgolf yesterday.
Sure, he's an immensely strong world-class athlete, but it's still fun to dive a little deeper into the physics behind his club (and bat) speed with the help of Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher Michael Jacobs, who runs the most advanced golf teaching studio in North America. Jacobs' lab has 3D-motion cameras, force plates and the movement-analysis software he invented with a Lafayette College mechanical engineering professor—all of which help players understand both the how and why in their swings.
And, in this case, the golf swing of one of the most talented baseball players of his generation.
"Mike Trout is so strong and so skilled with a tool like a bat or club in his hand that he's able to curve the bat in a way that effectively turns part of his hands and arms into a part of the bat," says Jacobs. "That makes the bat longer, and moves the center of percussion farther away from him—all while it still moves really fast. That's why swings like this—and those home runs he hits—look so effortless."
It will not surprise you to learn that golf and baseball swings have a lot of similarities, which gives a player like Trout a leg up on developing his golf game beyond what you would get by being, you know, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound professional athlete who gets to first base from home plate in less than four seconds.
"In both swings, the best players understand the body sequences that most effectively change the angle of the club or bat in the transition to the forward swing," says Jacobs. "And in both sports, players curve the hub—where the hands link to the handle—in a way that produces a tremendous amount of speed at the far end of the club or bat. They basically do it the opposite way you do—changing the path of the hub gradually early in the downswing and sharply by the ball, while you make a sharp change early and a gradual one late. They're making the whip crack, while you're just pushing the handle through the ball."
Though us mere mortals are far away from creating Mike Trout-esque power, the power of knowledge as it relates to how he creates distance can help us in our pursuit of extra yards.