There's no better way to get to know someone than by teeing it up with them. Regardless of how good or bad a person's swing or scorecard might look, how they approach the game says a lot about their personality. At the very least, five hours on the links also opens the door for conversation on topics far beyond a person's chosen field of work.
Sun columnist Eric Francis, a four handicap who logs more than 60 rounds a year, kicks off a regular feature today called 'Teeing Off With...' in an effort to take readers on 18-hole outings with the city's biggest names in sports.
Seconds after his playing partner rattled a drive off a house, Scott Coe is asked about the funniest thing he's ever seen on a golf course.
As someone who makes a living making split-second decisions in the core of the Calgary Stampeders defence, the 27-year-old linebacker doesn't hesitate.
"That's easy -- seeing Hank (quarterback Henry Burris) trying to get out of the sand," laughs Coe on a brilliant afternoon of sunshine at Valley Ridge.
"I've seen him take four or five swipes at it. Now he doesn't even try. He just picks it up and takes a stroke."
As ringleader of the Stamps' unofficial golf society, Coe has seen plenty of hacks and hijinks from teammates who join him once or twice a week for post-practice afternoons on the links. And while the eight handicap concedes receiver Brett Ralph is slightly better than he is, Coe is quick to point out his first hole-in-one last week at D'Arcy Ranch's 155-yard 14th hole earned him a one-stroke win over his closest rival.
"I was 77, he was 78," beamed Coe, the brother of a golf pro. "It doesn't matter how good or bad guys are -- we have a nice little group of four or eight who go out once or twice as a release. I've always seen golf as great camaraderie and you get to know guys better."
Joining Coe with regularity is Jeremaine Copeland, Wes Lysack, Brian Clark and Cornelius Anthony.
"Rob Lazeo -- the new guy -- wants to come out so we'll see how the big man can play," said Coe of the 310-lb. offensive lineman. "Burke Dales and Sandro DeAngelis allegedly play but we've yet to see them swing a club so they're bottom of the list when it comes to invites ... and they're kickers."
A notorious gambler on the course, Coe says his ace could end up costing him down the road as his fiercest rival and roommate, former Stamp Mike Juhasz, now wants more strokes in their high-stakes matches.
"He broke his leg and I got my hole-in-one so instead of three aside now he wants six aside," scoffs Coe, who plays 40 to 50 rounds a year.
Taking up the game in Winnipeg at age 14, Coe has since used golf to relax -- even though he is the first to point out it's far more frustrating than any sport he's ever played.
The greatest source of his frustration stems from a short game that clashes with his 330-yard drives.
"Even when I was young I could always hit the ball far," said the 6-ft. 3-in., 230-pounder, who somehow doesn't look out of place despite red dye in his hair.
"Problem is, one of eight drives would be straight and the rest of the time I'd be playing from other fairways.
Even when I do hit it straight, from 80 yards in I'm in trouble."
By shooting in the low 80's with regularity his problems are relatively minor compared to some of his teammates like Burris, to whom he offers nothing but encouragement.
"I don't trash talk -- I leave that to everybody else," said one of the CFL's most colourful characters. "Besides, golf is a game of gentlemen."
Best score: 74
Years played: 13
In his bag: Taylor Made 300, King Cobra Driver
Avg. rounds a year: 40
Favourite course: Heritage Pointe
Golf highlight: Last week's hole-in-one. He drained it on the 14th hole at D'Arcy Ranch with a 9-iron from 155 yards out.
When the beer cart pulls up, I'll have a: Coors Lite and a Kit-Kat.