Tennis star Mardy Fish breaks down how his swing translates to different sports

Everybody knows somebody who’s just got it. Perhaps it was a childhood friend who saw a tennis ball for the first time and had already mastered the overhand serve. Or a college buddy who entered school on a rowing scholarship but was also the star of your Wednesday night pickup league. Or maybe it’s a coworker who’s capable of shooting 67, then heading to the batting cage and pounding line drives.

Of course, by it, we’re referring to freaky, uncommon athleticism — the combination of reactive skills, coordination and mentality. It should come as no surprise that most of the professional athletes you know share that trait, including tennis star Mardy Fish.

When Mardy wasn’t winning matches and dominating doubles in his lengthy career as a professional tennis player, you could often find him on the golf course, where he’d whittled himself down to a scratch by a young age. Eventually, Fish went on to compete (and eventually win) the American Century Championship in Tahoe, and star in many pro-am events throughout the golf circuit.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Fish explains how his tennis swing translates to golf, and how it’s helped to make him the stud player he is without ever needing a lesson.

“I don’t even hit balls either. I don’t even hit balls,” Fish told hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. “I’m not saying it like I’m trying to be cocky, that’s just the way it is. I’ve grown up playing golf, tennis and baseball my whole life. It’s the backhand for tennis, it’s the lefty swing for golf, and it’s the lefty swing for baseball.”

Fish says the origin of his unique golf/tennis cross-sport ability probably comes back to his backhand swing, which shares many of the same fundamentals with his left-handed golf swing.

“So I don’t know. It’s just that lefty swing, the backhand, the swing or whatever. It just comes so natural,” he said. “I’ve never taken a swing lesson, but I know exactly what my ball is going to do. Colt’s seen my play, and he doesn’t miss the middle of the fairway, but I play this little banana, and I can slice the hell out of it if you need me to, but my miss is way left, and I never hit it right, and I don’t putt it well. But I can hit it pretty well, that’s about it.”

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Some of that would make sense. Any good golf instructor will ask a potential student about his or her previous athletic feats. For most players, the moves of the golf swing share overlaps with other sports.

For Fish, the overlaps with his tennis swing don’t stop on the golf course. He claims also to be the owner of a killer baseball swing, which was put on display at an MLB game not long ago.

“They invited me out to Dodger stadium a few years ago and I hit seven home runs,” Fish said. “I’m not very strong at all, I don’t know why, it’s just the swing or something.”

To hear the rest of Fish’s interview, including about his favorite celebrity golf partners, check out the video below.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.