Whenever I play in a charity event, the first thing people ask me
is, Can you hit a golf ball the way you hit the puck? They think
I'll drive it 800 yards. Sorry, Happy Gilmore I'm not.
I know there must be a connection between a slap shot and hitting
a golf ball, and one of these days I might discover it, but so
far, no go. Truth is, I'm not real long off the tee, not like 300
yards or anything. For me, shooting a puck comes naturally. I
sway and shift my weight and drive my hips through the shot. The
blade of my stick might hit the ice two inches, an inch or maybe
a half inch behind the puck, but the velocity and the direction
of the shot are going to be the same. In golf you don't have that
margin for error. Everything must come together at one precise
point of impact.
Golf is a humbling game. No matter how good an athlete might be
in another sport, golf will quickly cut him down to size. When I
hear other athletes say they're going to try pro golf, I just
smile and keep my mouth shut. The fact that you can shoot 69 on
your home course doesn't mean you're ready to turn pro.
Oh, sure, there are a few hockey players who might make it at
some level of professional golf. I roomed with one, Dan Quinn,
when we played for the Calgary Flames. He's had some success on
the Celebrity Players Tour, but he's an exception.
I watched a celebrity event on television last season. Each
celebrity was teamed with a Tour partner. It ended in a playoff
among three pairs. On the playoff hole, all three celebrities put
their shots in the water, while all three pros were on the green.
It was a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about.
No, even though I have won the NHL's hardest-shot competition,
until I find that secret connection, I have no illusions when it
comes to golf.
MacInnis, an All-Star for the St. Louis Blues, is a six
COLOR PHOTO: MARK BUCKNER