Similarities between hockey players and golfers

Have you ever wondered why so many hockey players are also good golfers? First of all, they're some of the best athletes in the world, with incredible eye/hand coordination. Top golfers have amazing eye/hand abilities, but beyond the intrinsic physical and mental characteristics golfers and hockey players share, I can't think of any other sport that has such a strong physical connection to golf than hockey does. Hitting a baseball has a similar look, but you're working on a completely different plane angle, which is far more horizontal. And although hockey is a reactive sport, both golf and hockey are played by compressing an object into the grass or ice, i.e., what you hit is on the ground.

For instance, as you can see from the adjacent photos with NHL star Dustin Penner and myself, both sports rely on a strong rotary motion around a fixed spine angle. This important point is imperative in both a golf shot and executing a slapshot in hockey. Note the footwork and hip rotation through impact. Pretty similar, right?

I actually was astonished when I saw these photos, and despite how different Dustin and I are physically, we still manage to mirror ourselves pretty well.

During my time as Masters champion Mike Weir's swing coach, we would reference a slapshot motion in order to work on covering the ball better in the downswing. Having grown up in Canada, Mike played hockey during his youth, and it was a great crossover visual and some-thing very relatable due to the similar nature of the two sports.

Another key element of hockey that Weir parlayed into his golf swing was his amazing sense of balance, meaning you want to remain as balanced as possible if you want to control the direction of either a golf ball or a hockey puck. For you golfers who don't play hockey, just imagine hitting a golf ball into a 6x4-foot net—with ice skates on. Not so easy, right? This is yet another reason why many hockey players play some pretty good golf. Their balance is phenomenal.


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