Aaron Rodgers hits his tee shot on the seventh hole during the 2010 Andy North & Friends Golf Tournament at Trappers Turn Golf Course in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
Rodgers finished 46th in the 90-player
field last year at Tahoe, where a Stableford
scoring system is used.
Meanwhile, Crosby said he’s hoping to get
an invitation to Tahoe someday soon. “Last
year, I got word that if there was an opening,
I might be in,” he said. “But guys keep
playing in that for years. I’m just waiting for
that invitation, but I play in all the charity
events that I can.”
Fellow Packer A.J. Hawk, a starting
inside linebacker, can’t match Crosby or
Rodgers on the course, but at least he can
outdrive them. Last year, Hawk won the
long-drive competition in Tahoe with a tee
shot of 322 yards.
“That’s not anything crazy long,” Hawk
says. “But I think I can hit it a lot farther
Hawk made his debut in the Tahoe event
in 2009 and finished 77th, but ever since
then he’s been working on his game – and
not just his distance – harder than ever.
“I’ve played more in the last two years
than I have probably in my whole life
combined, and the main reason is because
of the Lake Tahoe tournament that Aaron
and I play in,” Hawk explains. “I’d say now
I play once or twice a week, and I used to
play once or twice a year.”
Wide receiver Donald Driver, a three-
time Pro Bowl selection, got into golf for an
entirely different reason. For love.
58 THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
His college girlfriend, Betina, played golf at Alcorn State. So Driver figured the best way to see – and perhaps impress – her was to take up the game. It worked. They’re married and have two kids. It also produced a love for the game that never faded.
“I really started liking it in college and
when I got drafted by the Packers and got
up here, I started playing a little bit more,”
Driver says. “I got to the point where I really
love the game.”
Driver said he doesn’t keep an official
handicap but shoots in the high 80s or low
90s. “I’m always going to shoot under 100,”
Driver adds, “so that’s the good part.”
He says he has played Whistling Straits
once. “Now on that course, I shot over 100,”
Driver says with a chuckle.
Many members of the Packers regularly make the short drive from Green Bay to play the Straits or the other Kohler Co. courses at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. This off-season, Rodgers played the Straits from the tips — where the professionals will play from during this week’s PGA Championship — and shot a respectable 82.
Though there may not seem to be many parallels between a serene sport like golf and a violent one like football, several Packers players disagree.
For Crosby, the kicking motion and the golf swing go hand-in-hand. “Obviously there’s more hand-eye coordination in the golf swing, but for me it’s mostly that the hip action is very similar,” Crosby says.
In fact, Crosby pointed to golf for an improvement in his kicking and vice versa. He went through a rough stretch last season when he missed relatively short field goals in four straight games late in the year but saw his kicking – and his golf game – improve this past spring at about the same time. He doesn’t think it was a coincidence.
“It’s all related,” Crosby points out.
“Keeping your head behind the ball, staying
smooth, working on tempo and making
sure each swing is the same each time —
that goes for golf and kicking.”
Says Driver: “I just think good athletes
can play any sport or any game. Once you
get it down, you can play. I’m not saying
you’re going to be great at golf, but I think
if you’re a good football player and a good
athlete, you can play pretty well.” ●
Rob Demovsky covers the Packers and golf for the Green Bay (Wis.)
JOHN MANIACI/UNIVERSIT Y OF WISCONSIN HOSPITAL & CLINICS