How long have you been interested in long drive? Are you also a golfer?
I have been interested in long drive for the past 5 years. This is my 3rd year participating. I also play traditional golf and love to get out and play a round with the boys.
What is a typical practice session like for you? Do you have a routine?
A typical training session consists of: warming up with my orange whip, then usually hitting 20 balls with a driver that has a much heavier head to get my muscles nice and loose, and then I spend between an hour to an hour and a half hitting between 80-100 balls focusing on only the drivers I compete with. Some days I focus on specific drivers like only hitting ones with a Reaper shaft, or only hitting drivers with a certain loft, etc. I frequently practice with a friend or someone to watch the ball and give me shot analysis or swing advice, along with my ES14 range launch monitor. Once I finish hitting the majority of my practice balls, I hit a couple of practice “long drive” rounds in which the person I’m hitting with sets the timer, gives me six balls, and we go through a couple of competition practice rounds. I always have music playing through my headphones (if there are a lot of other people around) or a personal speaker I bring with me. This keeps me pumped up and focused on having fun and not taking myself too seriously or getting discouraged when I have a bad practice round. I usually practice 2-3 days a week during the winter and 4-5 days a week in the spring/summer/fall months (weather depending).
You got your start in ALD 2 years ago. What was your first event and how did it feel?
My first competition was 2 years ago at Par Tee Golf Center in Columbia, South Carolina. My buddy and I drove from Chicago to Columbia on Thursday evening to compete Saturday Morning. My sister and brother and law live in Columbia, which gave me an opportunity to visit with them and have family support at my first competition. When I arrived at Par Tee Golf Center on Saturday morning, I had no idea what to do or what to expect. I competed in the Men’s Open Division and was very nervous. In fact, I was so nervous I had trouble teeing up the ball! During warm-ups, I met another competitor, Mark Brown. He was able to give me the low-down on the format of the competition, which helped to ease my nerves. We ended up being the first two competitors in the competition! It was at this event where I really developed a love for the sport, and developed long-lasting relationships. Everyone was so welcoming and really made you feel like you were family-even though we were competing against each other. I knew at this moment, that I would keep competing!
Your amazing family travels with you whenever you compete. How fun is that for you?
I am incredibly lucky to have such a strong support system and be able to travel together. We often make these competitions a vacation, even if they’re just long weekends. They are always supportive and keep me encouraged when I don’t feel like I’m performing my best. I’m really blessed to have these amazing people to create these memories with!
Tell us the story behind the “HULK SMASH” shirts.
Growing up, whenever I would hit a ball far or play rough contact sports, my mom would always joke that I would “hulk out” on the competition. When I decided to begin competing, my mom had the idea of making shirts for my support team. It started out with just a few shirts, but then every time someone new came to a competition, we would just keep ordering more and more shirts. It’s fun to see my friends and family as my “groupies” and just adds to the enjoyable experience of long drive competitions!