Sidney Crosby trades stick for putter just for fun

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They were in Vail, Colo., for intense training, but for a break, a group of NHL players hit the Red Sky Golf Course a couple of weeks ago.

Sidney Crosby stepped up to the tee at No. 9 on the complex's Fazio course, a 161-yard par 3, and whacked the daylights out of the ball.

"It hit a hill on the right side of the green and bounced down," the Penguins center recalled of the shot. "It was gone if it didn't hit the hill."

There was no bunker there, and the ball had enough velocity to cut through the rough and head for the pin.

"It probably stopped short about a foot," Crosby said. "We all thought it was going in."

That was the closest Crosby has come to a hole in one.

Crosby will join his Penguins teammates at a charity golf outing Tuesday, but beyond that, he will need to back off of golf and concentrate on hockey with training camp opening Wednesday.

Away from hockey, golf has become a favorite pastime for Crosby, who rates himself about a 12 or 14 handicap.

"I've played a little bit more lately," he said. "Last year, during the [NHL] lockout, being here and the weather was so good through October and a little bit into November, I got to play probably a little bit more than usual.

"I've gotten into it a little more the last couple of years."

As with hockey or just about any other endeavor, Crosby brings a competitive edge to golf, but his day job keeps him from playing a ton.

"Golf, you have to play," he said. "There's no way to get better unless you play a lot."

He noted that having a long summer to hone your golf skills isn't the best thing for hockey players who are keen on extending the season into June on a regular basis, but he's enjoying playing golf as much as possible.

While he was home in Nova Scotia part of the summer, he got out on the course with some buddies a lot.

"It's a long day. You're out there five, six hours sometimes," Crosby said. "It's not always easy getting rounds in, but it's more about hanging out, getting outside. When you have the time, it's pretty relaxing."

Crosby has won a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal in hockey. He once hit a home run during a special batting practice for the Penguins at PNC Park.

A hole in one would be a nice addition to the collection.

"I'm not good enough to go looking for holes in one," he said. "If they happen, great, but I'd love to have one, get the bragging rights."

He came oh, so close in Colorado.

"That would have been a fluky one," Crosby said. "It didn't even land on the green.

"It would have been a cool one, but it didn't go."

penguins

For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.


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