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Bode Miller

I may be known for my exploits on snow, but I love being outside in the spring and summer. I like seeing the well-manicured landscape of golf courses—where I grew up in New England the grass is often kind of mangy. Golf's also good for focus. It makes me pay attention to what I'm doing. Some sports don't necessarily do that. Also, the injury issues are pretty low and it takes a lot of time. Other sports are so quick and you need other people to play them. I'm perfectly happy playing golf by myself.

"I've been on skis since I was three years old, but I didn't start swinging a golf club until high school, and even then my friends and I just smacked balls around; we never really played on a course. The summer after I graduated I started actually playing some.

"Since joining the U.S. Ski Team, I've been able to play about three times a week every off-season. But I don't get to start till May, and I can only play seriously through the end of July. Then in August we go down to South America or New Zealand. I bring my clubs with me—even though I get yelled at for bringing an extra bag. A lot of guys smuggle their clubs in with their skis, but I don't. I just bring an extra bag.

"New Zealand's the only place where I play golf with any regularity around the team. We'll go and ski in the morning up on the mountain, and it's full-on winter there. But down in the town it's warmer, so I'll go play in the afternoon. It's sometimes a bit of a scramble, because you can only get nine in before we do something else with the team.

"Team officials want me to spend more time at our training center in Utah in the off-season—team-building stuff and all that. But I need time away from being with the team. I need a little time alone, when I'm not someone who everyone's relying on. And golf is a big part of that.

"I've never taken a lesson. The closest I've come was at a golf store in Denver where I hit into a net and they videotaped my swing. It looked pretty good. The guy laid it up against Ernie Els I think, and our swings were pretty similar. I was generating good speed and coming through on plane just about the way I want to.

"In some ways, golf and skiing are a lot alike. If you've never played golf and your goal is to shoot ninety, you can just kind of chop at it and punch it down the fairway and get on every green in one over regulation and, after a while, you'll end up with a ninety. If you have higher goals, you're better off taking a full, long swing right from the beginning so you can build a technique that you can carry all the way through until you're playing below par. If you've never skied before and you just want to make it down the mountain, you can get some shaped skis and sit back and punch it with your legs. But that really isn't the best way. If your eventual goal is to race World Cup, there's a process that you need to go through to develop speed.

"I play golf a lot like I ski: aggressively. I can hit the ball so far that an aggressive game suits me. Generally, at sea level, I hit it right around 300 yards in the air. I can roll it out to 340 or 350 if the fairways are firm. Out in Utah, anything under 400 is well within range of a driver, because the air is so thin—I just hit bombs.

"Eventually I'd like to be able to play at a tournament level. I play in celebrity tournaments now and I usually shoot like crap. I could play it safe and hit my four-iron off every tee and shoot around eighty. Instead, I pull out my driver, spray it around the course and usually shoot eighty-eight. But I don't get flustered. I'm even-keeled. I let go of bad results really easily. Golf will be a great sport for me to play as I get older, to be able to still do something competitive long after I've put away my skis." •

Bode's Well Analysis by Nick Faldo

A good, aggressive swing, but Bode could be getting get more mileage out of his strong skier's legs. At setup (1) his knees and posture are good, but I'd like to see him put more weight on the balls of his feet so he can position the ball a bit farther from his body. He should also relax; look how tightly he's jamming his elbows together. I like how he turns away from the ball in one piece and resists the turn with a strong right knee (2). But then he loses some of that resistance by straightening the right knee a bit (3). His wrist set is excellent and so is his ninety-degree turn—except that his left shoulder whacks into his chin and pushes his head around. Lifting the chin at setup would solve that. His transition (4) is good, but his cheeks are puffing out from holding his breath. He needs to relax. A good drill would be for him to practice with a potato chip in his mouth, until he can hit drives without crunching it. At impact (5), he's too close to the ball, so he has to go up on his toes to make room for the club, limiting the power he can exert with his legs. His finish (6) is fantastic: His eyes, chest and belt buckle all squarely face the target, with his right knee kissing his left, in perfect skier's balance.

Scorecard

Bode Miller

Age

27

Handicap

10

Best Score

69 (1 under) at Jack O'Lantern Resort, NH

Favorite Courses

Sawgrass; Country Club of Vermont; Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods (NH); Jeremy Golf & Country Club (UT)

Skiing Feats

First American in 22 years to win overall World Cup title (2005); won two silver medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics (2002)

Equipment

Nike Ignite driver; Nike Pro Combo irons; Wilson Staff wedges; Never Compromise Voodoo putter

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