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From the sidelines: Learning from a long hitter
Jul 16, 2014 | 1443 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shane Gillet
Shane Gillet

Starting today at Lakeside Golf Course in West Bountiful, golfers from high school ages and up can learn how to hit a golf ball really, really far.

In an event running through Saturday, the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship is being paired with the Rockwell Long Drive Championship in what is sure to see golf balls fly up to and possibly beyond 400 yards on a consistent basis.

Some of the tournament’s other activities will help raise money for some good causes, and other activities will be geared towards kids, such as educating them how to hit a golf ball so far you need binoculars to see it land.

It’s all in good fun until the actual competitions start. The Rockwell Long Drive Championship will be held throughout the afternoon on Friday, and the finals of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship will kick off Saturday morning at 9 a.m. 

The champion of the Re/Max event will have his ticket punched to the world championships, taking place in September.

As a fan of long drive competitions, the one thing I’ve always admired about the competitors is just how far they can hit a golf ball. Unlike the infomercial with Jack Hamm “guaranteeing” 50 yards or more off the tee, these guys turn hitting a golf ball into a work of art.

It should be admired by as many people as possible.

I’ve mentioned many times that I can out-drive my foursome on a consistent basis. It seems a little unfair, though, because my foursome typically consists of a couple of sexagenarians and my brother-in-law, who is a bit more methodical in his approach to a hole than myself.

One lesson from one of these guys and it’s likely I’d never golf with any of my foursome ever again. 

Driving greens and being able to hit the ball properly is the way golf should be played. The competitors in this week’s long drive competition also play a few rounds here and there too. 

Ryan Reisbeck, who won last year’s competition with a 428-yard drive, had a handicap in the single digits last year thanks in part to being able to drive greens without worrying about hitting approach shots.

It’s that kind of distance a lot of regular golfers Рand maybe a few professional onesР dream about. The PGA Tour’s Bubba Watson is the longest, most consistent driver on tour, yet he couldn’t match the yardage of the long hitters people will see from Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning.

The opposite could be said of the long drivers as well. Some may be able to hit the ball a country mile but couldn’t avoid three-putting every hole to save their lives.

I for one do not want to miss this event. I likely won’t be there for every day of competition, but at the very least I’d like to go to one of the qualifying days just to have a quick look at what it takes to be a long drive competitor.

I’m urging you to do the same, even if it’s just to be in awe of the jaw-dropping distance the competition has to offer.

Don’t forget the good causes it will support too.

See you on the range.


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