Golden Rules: How throwing a baseball can help you replicate Jack Nicklaus’ powerful swing

We’ve seen some powerful swings this summer.

I’m actually talking about the American pastime of baseball, where athletes such as Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani are knocking the cover off the ball almost every time they step up to the plate. It reminds me of how powerful Jack Nicklaus was in his prime. Jack was the longest hitter of his generation — in fact, across a few generations. How did he do it? The image below from Jack’s My Golden Lessons book — and a nod to baseball — provides a clue.

Jack Nicklaus Golden Rules
A baseball motion can be a useful tool when it comes to tapping into power. Jim McQueen Artwork Originals & Prints/Courtesy

Anyone can point to Jack’s powerful lower body — and how he used it — as the source of his tremendous power. But check out the image of the pitcher throwing a baseball, included by Jack in his book to highlight the necessary loading and unloading of the trail shoulder during the swing. See how Jack “stretches” his trail shoulder behind him at the top and then how that shoulder “unloads” by moving around his rib cage on the downswing, just like the pitcher releasing his fastball?

Want to hit the ball farther? Throw baseballs. Focus on the stepping and throwing motions like Jack suggested some 20 years ago, and get your shoulders into action! Not only did these moves work for Jack, they’ve subsequently been proven using current tech and are alive and well on the professional and long-drive tours. Batter up!

Top 100 Teacher Jon Tattersall (@TattersallGolf) is cofounder of Fusion ATL in Atlanta, Ga.

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