Sports World Long Drive champ swinging for the PGA

07:08  05 august  2017
07:08  05 august  2017 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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I find swing thoughts fascinating. We all have them whether we’re on a quest to break 80 for the first time or So when I sat down to talk with last year’s World Long Drive Champ , Justin James, before ending the call I pga tour1 month ago. Jason Day’s Winning WITB: 2018 Wells Fargo Championship.

PGA TOUR Champions - Charles Schwab C Web.com Tour - Rust-Oleum Champ Longest Drives . Y-T-D-statistics through: FedEx St. Jude Classic, Jun 10, 2018. World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. 3.

080417-no_object-58273458-IK-20170804-115-W.jpg © Ian Kucerak 080417-no_object-58273458-IK-20170804-115-W.jpg

The easier route for Jamie Sadlowski would have been to continue collecting paycheques and sponsorship money for busting 420 yard tee shots down a long-driving grid.

He’s a natural, he has a well-earned reputation in the sport and swinging for the fences is waaaay easier than counting strokes.

But the two time World Long Driving Champion is determined to make the jump to the PGA Tour.

“It was a difficult decision,” said the 29-year-old from St. Paul, Alta. “I’ve been talking about it for about five years. When you leave something you’re very successful at, you’re one of the best in the world at for almost a decade, making a good living, living a pretty low stress life, it’s hard to just walk away.

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Realistically, to win the World Long Drive Championships, you need to be swinging in the mid-140s (the average champion is 146 mph based on 7 champions ). He is over the age of 53 and yet he swings over 12 mph faster than the PGA TOUR’s “ long hitting” Bubba Watson.

Morning Drive : Morning Drive throughout 2016 has welcomed Long Drive participants in-studio to showcase their distance on-air in addition to regularly featuring segments focusing on the longest drives of the week on the PGA TOUR. In anticipation of the World Long Drive Championship

“It’s a different challenge, but it’s time for something different.”

That something different is the Mackenzie Tour/PGA Tour Canada, where he is learning the ropes in his rookie season.

“This is definitely a lot more stressful,” said Sadlowski, who shot 69-72 through the first two days of the Syncrude Oil Country Championship at Windermere. “It’s all facets of the game that have to be clicking. If you’re a little bit off, things can go south really quick, but it’s a learning experience. Every round I play I learn a little bit more.”

His first tournament as a professional in Edmonton had its moments, with none more important than a birdie on 17 Friday. Thanks to that he made the cut on the number and will play into the weekend.

“I was paying attention (to the cutline),” he said. “The last couple of holes I hit driver where I wouldn’t hit driver. When you’re in that position, one or two off the cutline, you just try to give yourself the best chance. You have to do something, you have to make a birdie. If I blow it in the trees I can live with that, going down swinging.”

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Typical amateurs swing 70-95 mph, PGA Tour pros swing 105-125 mph, and Long Drive Pros swing 135-160 mph. And went on to set a grid record with a 421-yard drive at a Local Qualifier in the Open Division for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships.

Bubba Watson is one of the biggest hitters on the PGA tour, sending the ball an average of 313 yards. At the Masters in April, his pink-shafted driver and mega swing helped him pull away And Burke's the best. Last year, he won the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship with a drive of 427 yards.

Other than having to master 13 other clubs in his bag, Sadlowski says course management and a change in his mental approach are the biggest differences from Long Drive to a professional tour. Grip it and rip it no longer the one and only strategy.

“Long drive is so much different than golf. You have those six balls on the tee and you’re amped up, jacked up. And you know if you hit a bad one it’s OK, you’ve got another one.

“Here you have to flat line. There are ebbs and flows. It’s keeping a flat line versus getting so high with the adrenaline. Keep your composure. You have to almost feel like it’s slow motion out here for me.”

Sadlowski can smack a driver over 400 yards (his record is 445), a 2 iron well over 300 and holds the record for distance on a 7 iron (240 yards). While long driving isn’t the same thing as golf, that kind of length does work in his favour — like when he can use an 8 iron to approach a green from 195 yards.

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Long drive champion Ryan Winther shoots through plywood and the Golf Channel simulator while swinging at 50% during a FedEx Cup Points. PGA Tour Career Earnings. LPGA Rolex World Rankings. Long Drive Champ Ryan Winther breaks simulator during School of GolfJun 05, 2013.

You're going to see some of the most violent golf swings imaginable and wonder, "How the heck do they do that?!" But on Tuesday night in the Volvik World Long Drive Championship at the WinStar World Registration open for 2019 PGA Champ tickets. 93-year-old gets first ace in last round.

“I think it’s a big advantage. If you watch the PGA Tour now, driving is so important. The guys who hit it the farthest and straightest have such a huge advantage. If I can flip an 8 iron in on No.4 when guys are hitting long irons in it’s a huge advantage, if used correctly. Speed can be your best friend, it can also be a killer.

“I still have trouble getting to back pins with the amount of spin I create. But it’s a good weapon to have in your bag.”

He says he’s giving himself a three year window to make the PGA. Roughly.

“I’m 29 years old, an old guy out here hanging out with all these kids,” he laughed. “After three years we’ll re-assess. It’s not necessarily if I don’t make it in three years I’m done. We’ll see where we’re at. If the progress isn’t on a steady incline then it might be time to change. We’ll see.”

Golf is a game where repetition is key to success and Sadlowski admits he’s way behind the competition on that front. So he knows he has to hurry.

“These guys have all played NCAA golf, they’ve played (tournament) golf their whole lives. I’ve got less than 60 competitive rounds to my name where these guys had that when they were 14. I’m trying to learn as much as I can as quick as I can to speed the process up.”

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rtychkowski@postmedia.com

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