Championship winners will head to national face-off
WEST BOUNTIFUL – West Bountiful’s Lakeside Golf Course is once again hosting the Rockwell Championship and Re/Max World Long Drive Championships.
The competition, which starts Thursday and runs until Saturday, will showcase some of the longest drivers of a golf ball locals have ever seen.
Ryan Reisbeck, last year’s winner, will also be in attendance, though he won’t have to go through the rigors of qualifying for the national competition being held later this year in Nevada.
“I actually qualified at the Desert Launch Long Drive Association competition so I won’t have to compete in the Re/Max here,” he said. “I’ll miss being able to hit balls, though. I love going out and competing in these.”
Competition will continue to be fierce throughout the weekend. The Re/Max World Long Drive Championship is another qualifying event for long bombers like Reisbeck, and the same names in last year’s tournament are certain to appear this year as well.
Two new items are added to this year’s competition: a Pro-am golf tournament that will benefit the Sportsmen for Warriors foundation, and a high school Long Drive Challenge and Clinic that will be open to all high-school students.
The idea behind the latter item, said Reisbeck, is to attract a new audience into the sport.
“Younger kids actually like this kind of stuff,” he said. “It gives them a chance to compete in something different. Plus it’s free and they can still win a few prizes.”
The Pro-am tournament this year will include a four-some plus one long driver, giving golfers a first-hand look at a professional long bomber.
That tournament started the weekend-filled festivities and proceeds went to benefit the Sportsmen for Warriors, a non-profit organization that helps set up outdoor adventures and trips to wounded veterans.
A silent auction will also be held during the three-days of competition. Items to auction off include a laptop, a driver from one of the competitors and fly-fishing equipment, among other things.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Make A Wish Foundation.
“It’s nice to be able to give to a great cause,” Reisbeck said. “Last year we auctioned off some cool stuff and we’re hoping this year we’ll have more success with the auction.”
As far as the tournament goes, Reisbeck is staying prepared by getting loose and in shape for the national competition, he said. He has almost everything he needs physically to take a shot at a world championship this year.
“I do a lot of explosive exercises and speed training to prepare for these,” Reisbeck said. “I think my speed is good and I’m hitting the ball well. It’s really just a matter of hitting the ball square each and every time you get up there to hit.”
All competitions are different as well, he said. Depending on the conditions of the tournament (wind speed, altitude, etc.), long drivers can hit a ball barely over 300 yards and qualify.
On the other hand, Reisbeck has seen competitors hit the ball over 400 yards and fail to qualify as well.
Reisbeck’s qualifying drive went 388 yards.
“I’ve seen guys hit into a 30 mile-per-hour win and the ball doesn’t even travel 300 yards,” he said. “There have been a few guys to hit the ball 400 yards and missed qualifying by a few inches too; it’s all condition-based, really.”
Personally, Reisbeck is hoping to stay as consistent as he has been recently.
“I’m mainly trying to increase my ball speed so I can get more carry when it lands,” he said. “If I can maintain that ball speed and hit one square, I might have a chance at winning.”
The World Championships will be held in September.