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I wish: From the sidelines
Jul 04, 2013 | 792 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Shain Gillet

You know you’ve tried it before.

I know that you know that you’ve tried it at least once in your golfing life, recreationally or otherwise.

Those with an addictive sports personality, such as myself, have tried it more than once.

You know what I’m talking about ... you tee a ball higher than normal after crushing a ball 300-plus yards for the first time in your life and you think “I wonder what would happen if I tried to hit it harder.”

You’ll even do what I did a couple times, taking a queue from the “Happy Gilmore” movie and stepping back a couple paces in order to get a head start on a swing that will probably throw out your back, knees, and maybe even tear about half the ligaments in your leg if you don’t swing the driver just right.

Then you actually throw out your back, buckle your knees and probably feel like you tore a few ligaments in the process, all while barely hitting the ball off the tee and watching it land about 10 yards into the driving range.

For guys like Ryan Reisbeck and Ryan Winther, a pair of locals who took part in last week’s long drive competition, the ability to hit the ball near or beyond 400 yards is the norm. They have the flexibility, strength and about 10 to 12 drivers in the bag ready to use, and they could out-drive you with 75 percent of their full swing compared to 110 percent of yours.

If you don’t believe me, do a Google search on long drives and proceed to be amazed.

I used to be one of those guys, one of the guys who thought they could hit it a country mile the first time I picked up a driver and hit a ball 300 yards in a straight line.

It was a friend of my dad’s who fixed my horrible slice about six or seven years ago that got me started on the idea. I had seen a long drive competition on ESPN more than once, and the thought of giving a golf ball all I had was a good idea, even if I had an out-dated driver.

Once I hit one straight, I wanted to try it again ... and again ... and again.

Every time I swung faster, I could hear the sound of the ball hitting the sweet spot and watched as it went farther and farther down the range.

I bought a new driver, continued to do the same swing, and produced some pretty good results.

I even went to a demo day at a golf course with a 350-yard driving range, and proceeded to hit golf balls with one specific driver consistently onto the streets.

Don’t believe me? I have a witness to prove it.

But those days are gone already. At the time when I could swing that fast, I weighed a lot less and had the flexibility to produce the swing speed to hit a golf ball over and out of driving ranges.

Now, even though I’m still the longest hitter in my foursome, I can’t keep the ball in play anymore and have gained a significant amount of weight, taking away all the advantages I once had.

But even on my best day, I still couldn’t come close to the guys that do this for a living. My longest drive came when I hit the green at a 380-yard hole while playing with my dad and brother-in-law, but even that came with a 20-plus mile per hour wind at my back.

Give a long driver those conditions and they could probably hit it 450 yards or more, a scary and jaw-dropping experience that I’ve only witnessed on television. 

It was fun for me while it lasted, and even though I still have the urge to “tee it high and let it fly” every once in a while, something in the back of my mind tells me “don’t do it, you’ll only make it worse.”

My only chance to view something like a nice, long, straight drive nowadays will come on TV as I’m watching the professional golfers hit balls down the fairway of a long par-5.

At least I can still out-drive my foursome, and it still makes most of them jealous to this day.

It’s something to smile about for my golf game.

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