Area Athletes Love
the Game, Too
Vikings, Timberwolves and Twins players share their passion for golf
By Jerry Zgoda
So when the son of a golf enthusiast searched for an off-season home where he could play the sport he first grew to love year-round, Longwell (pictured below) and his family chose Florida and a little place near Orlando called Windermere – where he isn’t the best golfer in his neighborhood, or even on his own block.
“Nope,” Longwell says. “I don’t even
MINNESOTA VIKINGS PLACEKICKER RYAN LONGWELL HAS spent his entire 12-year NFL career living and working on the frozen tundra, first in Green Bay, now just one state over in the home to this week’s PGA Championship at
Hazeltine National Golf Club.
make the top 50.”
His neighbors and fellow members at Isleworth Country Club include Stuart Appleby, Charles Howell III, J.B. Holmes, Nick O’Hern and somebody named Tiger – fellows who grew up at the same place Longwell did: the practice range.
Longwell now makes his living kicking a
football rather than striking a golf ball,
pursuits of vastly differently sized
and shaped balls that have more in
common with each other than you
“Golf is really so similar to
kicking, as far as rhythm and hip
rotation and timing,” explains
Longwell, who plays to a 1. 5
handicap. “I find that when I’m in
rhythm on the golf course, it
actually helps my kicking. The
similarities between the two have
helped me for a lot of years.”
Longwell plays a team sport, but his specific job is a singular focus that’s much like golf, a game that both enchants and perplexes Minnesota’s professional athletes who are accustomed to speeding balls and hurling bodies.
“I can drive, I can putt, but my short game?” says Minnesota Timber wolves for ward Corey Brewer, a two-time NCAA basketball champion at Florida who learned the game from a family friend during high school in Portland, Tenn. “Man, I have to work on those wedges. I’ve always played team sports, but this is
COURTESY OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS/AMOS SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY