Teeing off with Dickenson

Quarterback Dave Dickenson admits the game of golf isn't what it used to be for him. SUN...

Quarterback Dave Dickenson admits the game of golf isn't what it used to be for him. SUN MEDIA/Marcel Cretain

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

At a time when Dave Dickenson was playing some of the best golf of his life, his favourite regular foursome included San Diego Chargers teammates Doug Flutie and Drew Brees.

"I enjoyed it because I used to beat them," laughed the Stampeders quarterback.

"Playing with those guys, you could also get on any course you needed."

A 5-handicap in his heyday, the combination of having kids and fighting through countless football injuries now sees Dickenson routinely knock it around at roughly 10-over par.

Having long suggested he'd rather be a pro golfer than a pro football player, the easy-going Montana icon admits the game isn't what it used to be for him.

"As my game's gotten a little worse, it's not as much fun -- I don't like to do anything I'm not good at," said the smooth-swinging Stamps QB after drawing a ball 280 yards down the 15th fairway at Springbank Links to set up a tap-in birdie.

"I don't take it as seriously as I used to -- that's a good thing."

Case in point ...

"I was playing my favourite course -- Maderas -- with my brother (Stamps assistant coach Craig) years back, and was 1-over after 13 before going double, triple, double, and on the third double, I tossed a club," said Dickenson of an incident which has shaped his golf mentality.

"Craig said to me, 'You're not good enough to get mad at that.' And he was right.

"I think about that all the time now -- words to live by, especially as my game gets progressively worse."

Although understandably frustrated throughout his season-opening 86, the 35-year-old pivot remained as even-keeled as he appears on the football field, where the former league MVP and two-time Grey Cup winner also takes a methodical, thinking-man's approach. Punctuating several mis-hits with choice analysis like "chunk-a-doodle," the most emotion he showed on the afternoon came on the 10th green when a crow flew off with a playing partner's sandwich. So amused by the incident, he paid for the replacement grub.

"I don't just want to hit (the ball) -- I want to try to have a strategy and execute a shot," said the cerebral Valley Ridge resident, a student of the game since he joined the high-school golf team.

"I like to try to pick a spot or shape a shot or see the shot before you hit it, and it's the same in football. You see a play develop in your mind before it happens. Problem is, since I play (golf) so few times, I expect to do the same thing I used to, and it doesn't respond as well. I still think I can carry 250 yards over water."

While some hackers find themselves battling though bad backs or blisters, Dickenson's game has been hampered over the years by a slew of injuries that include concussions, knee surgery, shoulder surgery, broken wrists and broken thumbs.

"I think probably the things that get me the most are my fingers -- I've broken four different fingers, my right thumb and wrist. I don't know if it's changed my grip, but I sure feel it when it's cold," said Dickenson, who saves his game with his touch, much as he does with a football.

"I think knee injuries have also changed my swing."

Either way, a round with Dickenson is a pleasure as the humble hero from Great Falls, Mont., loves a good laugh and conversation as much as anyone -- even if his playing partners aren't Pro Bowlers.

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DAVE DICKENSON

STAMPEDERS QUARTERBACK

Handicap: 10

Best score: 70

Years played: 23

Average rounds per year: Before kids -- 30; After kids -- 5

In his bag: Taylor Made 300 series irons, R5 driver

Favourite course: Maderas CC, outside San Diego.

In Calgary: Valley Ridge. Best staff: Lynx Ridge

Golf highlight: 5-under 31 on the front nine at Country Hills.

When the beer cart pulls up, "I'll have a: Gatorade and a granola bar."


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