SI Vault
 
My Shot
Wayne Gretzky
November 15, 1999
This year you can find me at the course with my family, but beware of my slap shots
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 15, 1999

My Shot

This year you can find me at the course with my family, but beware of my slap shots

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

The reality that I've retired as a hockey player finally sank in when the NHL season began on Oct. I and I remained at home. Our house overlooks the 13th fairway at Sherwood Country Club outside Los Angeles, and instead of spending another season on the ice, I have been playing golf almost every day with my wife, Janet. She took up the game about a year ago and is getting pretty good. (She even won the closest-to-the-pin contest during Scott Hamilton's charity tournament this summer.) Our three children play too, and take lessons at the club.

I took up golf when I was 18, around the time I broke into the NHL. Today I carry a nine handicap, but compared with my fellow recent retirees, John Elway and Michael Jordan, I'm far from Great at this game—just ask the Secret Service agent I beaned. The guy was stationed behind a tree while I was playing with former President Gerald Ford, who has a reputation for spraying the ball and hitting people, when I roped one into the woods and tagged the agent. Unfortunately, that was not the only time I've plunked someone. The first pro-am I played in was at the Canadian Open, and on the 1st tee I duck-hooked my drive into the crowd and knocked out a 16-year-old kid. I think he broke a couple of fingers trying to block the ball, and as if that weren't enough, he suffered a leg injury when another spectator tried to jump over him to get my ball.

I have no aspirations to become the greatest golfer or athlete-golfer or hockey player-golfer or even the best Gretzky golfer. I don't have that kind of passion for the game. Janet and I are perfectly happy playing a fivesome with the kids or an afternoon scramble with our neighbors Claude and Deborah Lemieux. Family and friends—that's what golf is all about to me.

1