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Golf Digest

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers
Primarily known for bone-crunching hits and an intimidating on-ice persona, many wouldn't expect Theo Peckham to develop such accuracy and pinpoint touch around Edmonton's challenging fairways. Although hockey players have long spent their summers on the links, Peckham is only now trying his hand at the NHL's unofficial off-season sport.

And he's doing pretty well.

"I went to the Blackhawk Golf Club and played the Fairways Fore Hope tournament with Jason Strudwick a few weeks ago," Peckham said. "I usually rent clubs and they actually gave me a good set of rentals this time. For once, my drives–I could actually find them.

"It was a lot better experience than I've had in the past. I've been invited to a lot of charity tournaments lately, so I thought it would be a good idea to sharpen up."

Peckham posted a rather pedestrian score of 105 in his opening round. Not bad for a rookie, but there was certainly room for improvement. One week later, he bettered that score by 20 strokes, shooting an 85 in 18 holes. Some of us have spent decades trying to maintain a similar score without progressively getting worse over time.

Theo Peckham (Photo by Andy Devlin / EOHC).

It's an improvement that has sparked some debate on Twitter. Ryan Jones doesn't seem to buy Peckham's incredible turnaround.

"I haven't seen [Ryan] play, but he's talking a pretty big game," Peckham said.

It's true. The 23-year-old blueliner makes a subtle rule change, as most amateur players do to help support a physically demanding four-hour round. Peckham banks one mulligan per nine holes, assisting when an overly aggressive tee-shot slices to the wilderness.

Jones replied on Twitter, saying he plays without bending the rules at all.

"I've shot under par when not playing penalty strokes and a mulligan a hole. Not a big deal @PECKS24."

It appears as though Peckham was right. Jones' big-game talk should, at some point, be backed with a pre-season duel between the two.

"Maybe when he gets back into town we'll have to play a round or two to see who's the better player," he chuckled. "If I keep going at this pace, I'll be shooting low-40s in about a month or so."

It's possible he was referring to the front nine, but given that he's working on the high of a scorching pace, an 18-hole score like that seems pretty realistic.

Peckham declined to comment on the distance of his drives, but we can safely assume he's shooting 320-yard darts down the pipe on a regular basis. Although his putting needs some work, he was eager to brag about his remarkable play with the short irons.

"From about 150 yards out, I'm usually on the green pretty easily. But then I three-putt."

He's still trying to adapt to the phrase 'drive for show, putt for dough,' but Peckham seems to have found a new summertime passion. In between workouts and intense on-ice training sessions, he's found the proper way to relax and recharge for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

"I wasn't interested in the game much before. I didn't really have a group of friends back home that were too interested in playing, so I never got into it. But now that I have, I'm having a lot of fun."

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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