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In Hicksville, home on the (driving) range

Pasquale Grisafi practices his golf swing at Cantiague

Pasquale Grisafi practices his golf swing at Cantiague Park in Hicksville Friday. (Feb. 25, 2011). Photo by Josh Stewart Photo Credit: Photo by Josh Stewart

Spring training had nothing to do with baseball for 68-year-old Pasquale Grisafi on a dreary Friday afternoon at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.

His choice of hardball is smaller, and with dimples.

“For true golfers, the weather doesn’t matter,” said Bellmore’s Grisafi, who at one point had the driving range all to himself. (If you don’t count the Newsday editor who avoided a lawsuit when his misguided attempt caromed off the tee box instead of slamming into Grisafi’s ankle.)

“There are some hardcore guys here, and he’s one of them,” said range manager Chris Gruter.

Grisafi picked up the game 10 years ago in retirement -- he still owns Creative Impressions, a salon in East Meadow -- but his swing would make you think he started much younger.

“I practice in my sleep,” said the gregarious Grisafi. “I tell my wife not to wake me up.”

As he offered friendly advice and a fist bump for his scribe counterpart’s lone good shot, Gruter came by to prepare to close the range. A little bit of Abbott & Costello ensued between the two. Grisafi complimented the casually dressed Gruter for his game and said it would be obvious if he were in his golf clothes.

“What are those things you wear?” Grisafi said. “Snickers, right? Oh, yeah, knickers.”

Gruter said the humor of his patrons belies a itch to shed this wretched winter.

“They’re getting the fever, they’re getting the edge,” Gruter said. “Especially with all this snow. Usually you don’t see this until the Masters [in early April]. They’re ready.”

Pictured: Pasquale Grisafi practices his golf swing at Cantiague Park in Hicksville Friday.


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