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Chip Shots: Driving for Show

Dean Mouhtaropoulos, Getty Images

When Jason Brooks, owner of Pine Hill Golf Course, casually mentioned to me that his course was hosting a qualifier for the ReMax Long Drive Championship, I was immediately hooked on the idea of competing.

This event, being organized locally by Phil Adams and open to all ages and both genders, is taking place on Saturday, May 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To compete you simply need to show up during this time and register by paying either $20 (ladies, super senior, junior) or $40 (open or senior).

The entry fee gets you six balls, and six chances to hit the drive of your life. The distance is measured in total yards, not just carry, although the wet conditions will lend themselves to limited roll most likely. For more information you can call 356-7960.

The concept takes the most macho of all aspects of golf, the “crushed drive”, and turns it into a spectacle of people swinging insanely long drivers and hitting golf balls off incredibly tall tees amazingly far distances. That’s it. Well, sometimes the competitors yell when they hit their drives, but really that is the entire spectacle.

Somehow, this has evolved into a global event, with local and regional qualifiers leading to the finals in Las Vegas every October. There is even an organization, known as Long Drivers of America, that oversees these competitions.

“Controlled Fury”
Driving the ball is all about physics. There is swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, angle of attack, launch angle, ball spin rate, etc. The key for me to have any chance of hitting a respectable drive would come from having the ability to take my 100 mph swing speed and increase it to around 110 mph without my technique going to hell.

I knew I needed a strategy, and most likely some assistance, to achieve my goal of:
A. Not embarrassing myself too badly, and;
B. Not injuring myself too badly.

My first stroke of good fortune was to get Michael Clendenning, owner of Barnes Brook Golf Course in Enfield and a Level III Certified Golf Teaching Pro to give me some driving tips. I’ll be writing more about this experience in an upcoming Blog.

The second piece of luck came when I looked up the categories and found, to my surprise, that I am in the “Senior” Division. Now, at 46 years of age this was a first for me. The senior division is for people ages 45 to 49 years old. Being in this category would protect me from the younger, stronger and more flexible people in the “Open” Division. Whew!

At this point I have roughly two weeks to hone my driving prowess, and I will keep you updated on my preparations and how I fare on May 2 with my trusty new (to me) driver, an Adams Speedline Fast 12 LS with a 45.5” Fubuki stiff shaft driver at 10.5 degrees neutral setting.

In the meantime, know any good chiropractors?

Something to Ponder
Last year’s winner, Tim Burke, hit a drive (total distance) 427 yards in the finals to take home the honors. How’s this for stats:
Swing Speed – 156 mph
Ball speed – 228 mph
Longest competitive drive – 469 yards

So, what does he use to achieve such incredible results?
A Krank Golf Formula 5 driver with 3.5 degrees of loft with a XXX flex Fujikura Flywire shaft at 50”. And what are YOU hitting?

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