Drive for show and putt for dough is a golf adage most players have heard but nobody understands the first part of that saying better than the men and women who take part in long drive competitions.
St. Paul native Jamie Sadlowskei has been at the top of the world in that discipline, winning the crown in 2008 and 2009 down in Mesquite, Nevada.
He had a third place finish in 2010 and dropped a notch to fourth last year but he vows to be back in 2012 .
“A couple of good breaks to win and a couple of bad breaks to lose but I’m looking forward to October and our world championship and to try to redeem myself,” he proclaimed .
It started for him as a junior in St. Albert qualifying for a long drive event and he figured he had found something he was very good at.
The secret to hitting a golf ball as far as these guys do has not much to do with how big you are and more to do with how fast you can get the clubface to the golf ball, he said.
There are many ways to generate enough speed to crush the ball the length of close to three football fields and for the 5’11” , 145 lb Sadlowski it’s his Gumby-like flexibility and terrific eye/hand coordination.
One might think it would be a simple task to translate that skill into a potentially more lucrative career on the PGA tour but he is quite comfortable in the career path he’s chosen which has become essentially a full-time job.
“I do about 50 corporate outings a year, travel 250 days but everyone wants that Remax World Long Driving title,” he said. “It’s something that I strive for and that I prep for and anytime you have a chance to win a world championship it’s a pretty big deal.”
Sadlowski does have the other tools to make him a very good golfer, making the cut at a tournament on the former Nationwide Tour but he says he is well aware of what butters his toast each morning.
“Do I have the game? Yeah. Do I need a lot of work? Sure. But I’m happy with what I’m doing now, it’s been a good job for me.”
As well, making the big tour is extremely difficult and when you’re good at something you really don’t want to waiver too far from it, he explained.
“I’ve been blessed with the gift of speed and I’m going to use that as long as I can until my body stops working and try to play but right now my focus is long drive,” he said. “And anyone who doesn’t think 400 yards is cool then there’s got to be something wrong.”