I’m going to try something a little different here. I hope you like it.
Each year the World Long Drive Championships are held in Mesquite, NV at the end of October.
I won the event in 2003, and have been back every year since, posting three top-3 finishes and six of seven finishes in the top 10. It’s been a blast.
But this year the age brackets changed. The Senior Division is age 45-50, and I’ve officially aged out of the Senior Division. But that’s where I still want to compete.
The challenge is that I have no more exemptions for the Senior division. I’ve been exempt from qualifying every year because of my past finishes.
This year I have to do it the hard way. I have to compete in a local qualifier, and if I win the local I have to go to a Regional tournament. Out of the regional only 2-3 players advance, and it seems like my competition keeps getting younger and stronger.
Still … I am determined to make it.
I’ve already started my journey to the Worlds, so this journal is somewhat mid-stream. I won the local qualifier in June and now I have a chance to compete at the Regional championships in late August.
It’s time to start preparing.
I hope you find my journey interesting. It won’t be without challenges or setbacks. It’s a difficult road. I’ll be up against the best of the best in the Regionals, and I know the competition will be tough. There will be long drivers from all throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona all looking to secure one of the few coveted invitations to the Worlds. There are 9 districts plus Canada all sending their Champions to the Worlds in October. My goal is to be one of those representatives.
I hope you enjoy my journey. I’ll try to share the way I practice and the things I learn. Perhaps you will find something of value to help or inspire your golf game along the way.
Here is a video I shot as I was getting ready to practice. You’ll note that I use exactly the same drills and routines I outline in The 5 Keys To Distance.
In this video I talk about the Tee Back drill, the knee set drill, and the sole plant drill. I haven’t been feeling very fast, so that’s where I intended to spend most of my time – generating more club head speed. But I didn’t want to do it at the expense of other fundamentals, particularly losing my leverage position. One of my big advantages in long drive is the way I use my lower body to generate speed. Leverage is the key to using my lower body, and I try to stay on the inside part of my left foot, right on the ball of the foot, to maximize my lower body strength.
The other key to my club head speed, which gets up around 140 mph in competition, is a wider arc.
So those are the two things that give me the biggest advantage in long drive. Please don’t tell my competitors!
The other thing you’ll see in this video is that after I do my work on swing mechanics I switch to target focus. That give me an opportunity to see what is sticking and what still needs work. On the tee everything has to be automatic. There isn’t time and it’s almost impossible to think of everything in the heat of battle. So I do my target drills to see what is coming out when the swing is on automatic and where I still need work.
The same is true when you play golf. You can’t score well when you are thinking about mechanics. Scoring is all about hitting targets with your automatic swing. You pay attention to what isn’t working when you play, and plan to address it when you have time on the range.
The same is true in long drive. I hit my automatic swings as though I am in competition, and see what emerges. If I notice an issue, I drop out of competition mode (target focus) and work on mechanics. I’m NOT working on mechanics for the sake of improving my swing. I’m working on mechanics for the sake of improving my performance.