Albert Pujols Q&A: ‘The Machine’ talks playing Michael Jordan’s course

Retired professional baseball player Albert Pujols plays his shot from the ninth tee during the first round of the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club on January 18, 2024 in Orlando, Florida

Albert Pujols plays a shot at the 2024 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.

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He’s one of only four players with 700 home runs — and a certain first ballot Hall of Famer. So why can’t ‘The Machine’ get a game with the G.O.A.T.?


GOLF: You’re known for hitting a baseball a long way. What club would you use to hit a golf ball out of Busch Stadium, where you played for the Cardinals for years?

Albert Pujols: From home plate, I can probably hit a 4-iron out of Busch Stadium.

G: You think? Out to the street?

AP: Yeah, for sure. I hit my 4-iron probably 215 or 225 yards. What is it — 130 yards to center field? So, you add another 100 yards to that…

G: Well, there you go! What’s your favorite thing about golf?

AP: For me, definitely, 100 percent, it’s having the opportunity to play with my son AJ [a former collegiate golfer at Vanguard University]. He definitely can beat me. He hits the ball a long way. He loves the game. I love the game. It’s not an easy game to pick up after you retire. But I enjoy it, you know?

G: What else do you enjoy about it?

AP: Just playing along with friends. This is a game that it doesn’t matter if you’re young, you’re old — you can still play. And it’s fun, you know? It makes me relax.

G: Where do you plan to tee it up this year?

AP: I got invited to play [the American Century Championship] in Tahoe. So that’s pretty awesome. I live in the Dominican Republic now and it’s always fun to play in the DR.

G: Oh yeah, a lot of great spots there. I heard you got to play at Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan’s course in Florida. Did you see MJ while you were out there?

AP: Yes. All three times that I have been there, he’s actually played in the group in front of me or behind me.

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G: But not with you?

AP: No, not with me. [Laughs] He has his regular group.

G: You’re still working on that, I guess. What did you think about the drones they have flying around there? The ones they use to deliver drinks and food?

AP: Actually, the three times I’ve been there, it was so windy that they couldn’t use the drones. But the place is just unbelievable. It’s beautiful. I encourage anyone who has the chance to play it to definitely go.

G: Where else have you teed it up? Have you been out to Augusta National?

AP: No, not yet. One day, maybe.

G: Derek Jeter told me that with baseball, everything just seemed natural to him. But with golf, nothing seems natural. Agree?

AP: I can relate to that.

G: I’ve noticed you don’t spend a lot of time over the ball. You just step up and hit it.

AP: Yeah, in general, the more I think about hitting, the worse I get!

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Art Stricklin