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A swing isn’t just a swing to Lightning’s Alex Killorn

When he needed a new set of irons, Killorn visited the on-site fitter at Pelican Golf Club, home of this week’s LPGA Pelican Women’s Championship, where he is a member.
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn, an avid golfer, is a member of Pelican Golf Club in Belleair. While golf and hockey swings might appear similar, there are important differences, he says.
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn, an avid golfer, is a member of Pelican Golf Club in Belleair. While golf and hockey swings might appear similar, there are important differences, he says. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Nov. 7
Updated Nov. 7

When he takes a slapshot, Lightning foward Alex Killorn leans heavily into the shot, his hands spaced apart and arms and stick moving in a wide arc. His natural athleticism and the speed of his swing can send pucks careening toward the net at speeds approaching 100 mph.

But few of those things help him on a golf course.

Which is why Killorn recently needed the aid of Dan Doyle, the master club fitter at True Spec Golf, the on-site public fitting facility at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair.

An avid golfer, Killorn is a member at the club that will host this week’s Pelican Women’s Championship. More than 100 LPGA players, including seven of the top 10 in the world and 10 of the top 15, will compete Thursday through Sunday.

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Killorn follows the PGA Tour and attended the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Golf Club in Palm Harbor in the spring — following Dustin Johnson inside the ropes on the final day — but won’t be able to attend the LPGA event. However, he tries to play the Pelican course two or three times a month during hockey season and at least four times a week in the offseason, calling it “one of the most pristine courses in Florida that I’ve played.”

“It’s beautiful,” Killorn said. “Just to walk around, the colors are so green out there, and they’ve done such a good job building such a great golf course.”

It’s part of the reason Killorn didn’t hesitate to visit the club’s on-site fitting facility in September when he needed a new set of irons. He liked the fact that True Spec wasn’t brand-affiliated, so no bias was involved, and he could see which clubs fit his swing with the technology available.

Finding the right set of clubs was important to Killorn, 32, but he only needed a couple of hours with Doyle. The club fitter attended Northwestern on a golf scholarship and has worked in and around the game ever since.

Related: What to know about LPGA Pelican Women’s Championship

“All swings are very unique,” said Doyle, no relation to the Pelican Golf Club owner of the same name. “There’s so many different ways that equipment can be modified to help out an individual’s game. And you never really know what that may be until you take a look into all the other options.”

Even though golf and hockey swings might appear similar, Killorn said there are important differences.

For starters, he shoots left-handed but swings right-handed. The hand-positioning is different, too. Killorn said his hands sit closer together on a club than they do on a stick. He also leans more heavily into his stick than his club, where he would want as little body movement as possible for the optimum drive, putt or swing.

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Doyle, 35, knows what to look for when hockey players such as Killorn walk through his door, having helped a few previously.

“There’s a lot of similarities in the way they swing the club,” Doyle said. “They have an ability to move efficiently and consistently, and so their potential is always quite high. ... They tend to maybe hit down into the golf ball and down into the ground, pretty severely at times, so they need a club that’s going to help them get through the turf and not too deep into the ground.”

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After Killorn took a few swings with his old TaylorMade clubs, the pair looked at numbers such as his traveled distance and arc of the ball to figure out which clubs might be the best fit. Doyle immediately noticed Killorn’s athleticism and the speed in his swing. But the speed also put a spin on the ball that affected its flight.

“If the ball is spinning too much, that’s going to make controlling distance or judging shots through the wind a little bit tougher,” Doyle said. “It was more so about trying to figure out how we could control that as best as possible.”

On Doyle’s recommendation, Killorn decided to step away from his TaylorMade irons and play Srixon instead. Two-time U.S. Open and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka also uses the brand.

“I never would have thought going in,” Killorn said, “that I would have come out with that club.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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