How Brewers Players Relax & Unwind Away from the Field During Spring Training
The baseball season is a long one–162 games in 180 days–and that doesn’t even count Spring Training and those 30 Cactus League games.
However, the pace is different in Spring Training. While the games are still important, the time down here is very much about taking a look at different players, trying out new things, working out the kinks and building team chemistry.
With two weeks of practice before the Spring games begin and with the bulk of the Cactus League games being day games, that also gives players a little more free time before they go back to work in Milwaukee and the grind sets in.
So what do a lot of the guys like to do with their down time in Arizona?
While first and foremost, many treasure the extra time with their families before the regular season gets underway:
Aside from that, they can also enjoy some of their hobbies that might fall by the wayside once the regular season starts, like going fishing:
On this Brewers roster in particular, however, you’ll find many of the pitchers in particular hitting the links.
Last year, during Spring Training, you’ll recall that Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg and I hit the links and took on Kyle Lohse in a match that ultimately led to him joining Twitter (#YoureWelcome!).
It’s been well-documented that Kyle is the best golfer on the team by far, but that doesn’t stop his teammates from trying to take him on in various challenges–scrambles, best ball with strokes per side, etc.
And, earlier this spring, I had the pleasure of tagging along with Kyle and a couple of the guys again on two separate occasions to take some pictures and video–all in the name of work, of course.
First, I headed out with Kyle and Matt Garza to Lookout Mountain Golf Club.
This award-winning course sits among the magnificent North Phoenix Mountains and offers panoramic views of the amazing Arizona landscape. Case in point: Hole #10 is the signature hole here at Lookout Mountain. You’re 14 stories high on the tee box and, from this video of Kyle’s tee shot on the hole, you can see that it lives up to its name “Picturesque Pointe.”
This outing was really not much of a match. Matt doesn’t profess to be a great golfer; he was just out there to have fun—with the goal to beat Kyle’s score on at least one hole.
While Matt didn’t achieve that goal this time, he did have what I’m told was a better day that usual and ended up tying Kyle on 4 holes.
Personally, this was my first round of the season, so I was a little rusty; the par-3 9th in particular had my number. The hole was 80-yds for me and I blew it over the green on the tee shot and it was all literally downhill from there. In this video of my shot, you’ll also see where Matt ended up on his tee shot on this hole (that’s Kyle narrating, obviously):
Despite this hole and another two blow-up holes, I was able to tie Kyle on at least 3 holes and actually beat him on 2. He and I each had two birdies in the round, which was cut short due to darkness.
One other thing worth noting from this outing: Matt Garza broke his 3-wood on a tee shot during the round. None of us are quite sure how this happened. One minute he was teeing it up and the next, he was holding his broken club. But even despite this setback and not beating Kyle on a hole, he was a great sport, never once showing frustration, just chatting the entire time and laughing a lot.
Here are a few more photos from that round:
The second time I had the pleasure of hitting the links, it was to test out a new product called the Golfboard.
When I saw the PGA tweet about this combination golf cart/seque/scooter/skateboard, I knew our guys would love it because many of our players use scooters as transportation between the parking lot and the Clubhouse at Miller Park.
The good folks at Golfboard were kind enough to set us up with two Golfboards for a round of golf at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, so I joined Kyle Lohse and Will Smith to document the experience.
After a brief tutorial, the guys quickly picked up on the boards, which are extremely easy to learn, fun, and most importantly for these guys, safe.
The guys were zipping around the course in no time flat. Here’s a short video Kyle took:
I also brought the GoPro and we hooked it up to the Golfboard. Here’s a tour of the 9th hole, courtesy of Kyle. (Note: The ride felt much smoother than this video portrays!)
And here’s a shot Kyle hit while the GoPro was still running:
Here are some other fun photos from the round:
It was a lot of fun out there on the course, getting to know these guys a little better away from the field.
Whether it’s fishing or golf, or another hobby, it is good to see the guys get a chance to relax and unwind now because we know once the regular season is underway, there will be little (if any) time for those things.
Speaking of time to relax and have fun, today is one of just two offdays in the Spring Training schedule and I’ll be back out on the golf course with Kyle, Will and a bunch of other players, coaches and celebrities for Bob Uecker’s Front Row Classic. Stay tuned for more photos and videos!
Special thanks to Lookout Mountain and Westin Kierland (and Troon Golf) for letting us hack on your courses; and of course, special thanks to Golfboard for letting us test drive your gamechangers.