By Ian Hutchinson
Even if you sneer at professional wrestling, there was no denying the athleticism of Trish Stratus when she delivered a Chick Kick or Stratus-faction, two of her more lethal moves on her way to seven WWE women’s championships.
It was with the confidence of an athlete that she approached an event at the opening of the Callaway Performance Centre at DiamondBack Golf Club near Richmond Hill, Ont., about a year-and-a-half ago when Stratus was scheduled to take a few cuts at the ball in front of a gathering of media types.
Callaway, as it’s been known to do with non-golf personalities such as Alice Cooper and Justin Timberlake, has forged a relationship with Stratus, who admitted last week that those shots didn’t quite work out as planned.
I caught up with the WWE Diva of the Decade last week at an event held by Callaway at Copper Creek in Kleinburg, Ont., to preview the new X-24 Hot irons that you can read about here and we started chatting about her inauspicious debut in such a public forum.
“What a brave soul I was. I had no idea what I was doing and went in there going, `I’m about to hit a ball in front of all the press and I’m kind of new at this,’” she recalled.
“Now, I’ve seen how intricate the game is and how you can get distracted and the next thing you know, your whole game is gone. Now that I know that, I’m like, `What was I thinking?’” added Stratus, who didn’t allow that experience to deter her from the game.
What she was thinking afterwards was that she wanted to get better and enlisted the help of teaching professionals such as Callaway’s Barry Wallis and Mike Lefevre of Golf Town.
She now regularly plays charity events such as this week’s Joe Carter and Friends tournament to benefit the Children’s Aid Foundation in the Toronto area. Stratus believes her first experience, even if it was more high profile, was typical of what many women face the first time in a golf setting.
“People say, `Why does Callaway have you out as their ambassador?’ but I feel like I represent the women. It’s a little intimidating,” said Stratus, adding that the perception is that golf is a man’s world, just as pro wrestling was when she broke in.
“You think I’m not going to be good enough or I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s just a matter of breaking it down, going to get properly fitted, taking lessons. All of these little things are going to take care of that and that’s what I’ve done to overcome that and it’s a little bit easier to come out and just have fun.”
Golf is more than just social for Stratus, who not only works with Callaway on the professional side, but she’s also instituted a golf component into Stratusphere, the yoga studio in Vaughan, Ont., that she established after retiring from the WWE in 2006 to be with her husband and family more.
“Yoga for Golfers was a natural fit,” said Stratus, who just finished filming the action film Bail Enforcers
, in which she plays a bounty hunter who faces a moral dilemma.
“Right away, when I saw the correlation (between golf and yoga), I thought you know what? This could really benefit people and it might be a good way for women especially to make that transition,” she said.
“Conditioning of your body is very important and something you can do in the off-season, so I’m saying in your off-season and during the season, if you do Yoga for Golfers, it’s not only going to improve your game of golf, but it’s going to enhance your whole well-being and that’s not a bad thing, right?”
Stratus first got caught up in yoga during her WWE career when she suffered a herniated disk in 2005, one of many injuries she suffered throughout her career. When traditional rehab didn’t seem to be working, things began to improve when she turned to yoga.
“Initially, the whole lure of yoga to me was that it’s so versatile. There are just so many applications and so, we are able, with 40 classes a week, to offer all these different kinds,” she said.
“There’s a core strength, My body is stronger than it ever was and that’s what’s going to keep me feeling younger a lot longer. That’s what yoga brought to me, The 300 days on the road (with the WWE) seemed a little bit easier,” said Stratus, who will be getting that message across in a different venue next month.
From July 16-18, Stratus will be part of a Yoga and Golf Retreat along with Wallis at Deerhurst Resort near Huntsville, Ont.
For more information, see the websites www.stratusphereyoga.com
, or www.trishstratus.com