Sports World Long Drive champ swinging for the PGA

07:08  05 august  2017
07:08  05 august  2017 Source:   Edmonton Journal

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The two-time winner of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship is expected to hit it far. 1 (the 365-yarder) and 2 (a 350-yard drive on his hardest swing of the day). “It wasn’t that long ago that I was a kid sitting on the couch watching PGA TOUR events – which I still do,” he said, still soaking in

Most long drivers have fundamentally correct golf swings , which is so important because we hit into a grid! Look at the current Re/Max World long drive champion . Easily, a seasoned long driver would out shine a PGA player on any given day in long drive .

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.

Check out the new Swing Advantage Golf video featuring the lovely Gina Miller of That Sports Girl Media and 4 time REMAX World Long Drive Champ Bobby Wilson. Look for Bobby Wilson at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL and ask him how Swing Advantage helped him win his 4th

“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.

Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship thanks to great driving , something that wasn't always true of his game in 2016. “For me, if I swing the longer clubs well, I know the rest of my game is going to be pretty good,” he said.

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 Champ Joe Miller's Swing in Slow-Mo. 10 months ago. Jamie Sadlowski, 2-time World Long Drive champion , has ultimately decided he wants to focus more on making the PGA TOUR.

Monte is a former national and world long drive champion , as well as a Nationwide (Web.com) Tour player, that has played with and knows dozens of players currently on the PGA Tour. (more).

“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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