Michael Beasley's growing golf obsession

Categories: Sports
Mike Beasley.jpg
Image courtesy of Keith Allison
At the close of the season, Beasley is coming to a T.C. golf course near you.
Wolves forward Michael Beasley is about to give an entirely different meaning to Minnesota Links.

Who can blame him? A slew of blue-chip opponents (Boston on Sunday, followed by the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and the Miami Heat on Friday) will fill Target Center this week. It requires little analysis to observe that the vast wealth of those on hand will be in attendance to view the visitor's bench.  

And as the Timberwolves' 17-57 season bleeds toward a close, they're pacing toward the league's second-worst mark for the second time in as many seasons.

Copious amounts of losing at this stage in the game could lead to either binge drinking or levity. Let us trend toward the latter today, and recognize that players (like all who have invested advanced degrees' worth of time with this bunch) have actual lives outside of Target Center and require variety and leisure pursuits to maintain some sanity amid a demanding work and travel schedule.

For Beasley, said leisure will find him on the golf course after the season breaks.  

The amply inked scorer will be spending a substantial part of his off-season in the Twin Cities, and he aims to refine a golf game that he was introduced to just a year back by Keith Askins, his former assistant coach in Miami.

"I drive past the golf course every day waiting for the snow to melt," Beasley said after a recent Wolves practice. "I'm fairly new [to golf], but I'm pretty good, though. I've learned from some good teachers."

Before being traded to Minnesota, Beasley began playing in Miami's North Beach, and took several lessons from pros to learn how--in his words--to play the game "the right way."

While his scoring marks on the course more than quintuples his 19-point scoring average on the court, Beasley (who shoots lefty, swing righty) knows that his marked hoops skills mean little on the links. 

"It's the only sport in the world I can play and my physical ability has nothing to do with it," he said. "It's challenging. You go out there and think, 'I'm big. I'm strong. I'm athletic, so I can hit the ball.' But it's just not that at all. It's a mental game. I love being out there by myself, sometimes. Just give me time to think and give me time to be with myself."

Minnesota has more golfers per capita than any state in the nation. Count our pro hoopsters among the numbers. Of his Wolves playing peers, Beasley notes that he's discussed golf at length with both Lazar Hayward and Luke Ridnour.

But whether he's playing solo or with a foursome, Beasley is so drawn to golf that he now counts the pursuit as "third on my priority list, behind basketball and my kids." 

He practiced regularly over the winter, refining his swing at indoor virtual facilities.

"It keeps my swing intact," he says. "I'm not really sure how accurate it is for speed, distance, and the ball. But it definitely helps keep my swing where it needs to be."

That virtual hand-eye is extended via Beasley's longtime affinity for video games; in this vein,

Tiger.EA.Sports.jpg
EA Sports
it's "Tiger Woods PGA TOUR" offering from EA Sports. 

"I get them every year; every one that comes out I get," he says of Woods's game. "I'm actually, like, the best at the video game. I shoot, like, 40-under sometimes. The video game is unreal. Once you master it, it's the easiest thing in the world."

Beasley has never met Woods in person ("That would be a great honor," he notes), but he says he always uses Tiger's likeness in the virtual realm. Of the real Woods's struggling game, Beasley adds:

"Tiger Woods, in my eyes, is the best to ever play. I still think he's the best; even though he's going through a little rough patch right now and he's still going to show everybody why he's Tiger Woods."

After being traded from Miami to Minnesota last summer, Beasley acclimated to his new home by frequenting a public nine-hole course in the western suburbs. Describing the condition of his game, he says:

"My weakness is my putt game; I can't really putt that good . . . I'm either swinging too hard or not hard enough. And reading the hills and stuff like that, I'm not really good at that. But my strengths are probably the pitch; I'm good with the pitching wedge. And the sand--I'm good in the sand, believe it or not."

But aside from chewing on crazy amounts of candy in both arenas, are his court and course games simpatico?

"My basketball game is a little fast-paced," Beasley concludes. "I kinda want my basketball game to be like my golf game: real slow, real patient, and just letting things happen. On a basketball court I have all the confidence in the world. When I'm on the golf course it's the total opposite."


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8 comments
Malone
Malone

Perhaps Mr. Beasley should take his putter along with him on road trips and practice putting in hotel rooms (I am currently doing the same in Asia). Much like simulated golf to keep your swing in tact in the winter, putting in the hotel room helps with your tempo. In an effort to help him with speed, he should try putting more with his shoulders (see Tiger Woods) and build up a go-to rhythm while helping to keep that putter face square - he'll be dropping 20 footers in no time!

Drew
Drew

Kenty, that court is gone.

Judd should get out and play 9 with these guys. See if they really got game. Ouch.

unkle kenty
unkle kenty

Fascinating! I would love to see him take out the corn-rows and bring the Fro to Mendota Heights par 3 and hook one into Fahey's tennis court!

myles
myles

Interesting how so may athletes are fine and natural golfers (and the transfers between sports). Lots of hand/eye, etc. But I generally think the best golfers come from either baseball or hockey, where the transfer is more related. Anyway, we welcome Beasley to the game -- lots of great courses here if he spends summer in Minnesota.

Judd
Judd

Well, I'm no at all ripping the guy here because he is surely new to the game. Yet I thought it kind of . . . funny, I suppose, of his reference to reading "hills" when putting. I tod him he may need a sound caddie or help him with that.

Judd
Judd

Course in fine game. Court in no shape. I'd like to play with Beasley, and offered as much. We'll see where it goes. Very nice fella, and let's face it -- pretty fun to spend time with like-minded dudes that like: hoop, candy (Skittles in his case), golf and video games.

Judd
Judd

Me thinks that would surely stand out on the Par 3 . . . Probably a fine training ground for a plyer ofhis level, though.

Judd
Judd

Will do on the welcome. And I agree about the "transfer" in that baseball, pitchers especilly, seem to have exceptional hand-eye crossover to golf. I asked Beasley if he thought it was tougher for basketball players because of their length, and he basically seemed to vindicate he felt the sport could be tough on everyone.

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