A look at the long drive championships

The rule makers in golf may be taking away the long putter but the long drive will be there forever making Art Sellinger a happy man.

He’s the brains behind what can be described as a combination of skill, flexibility, power and very loud music — the Remax Long Drive Championship in Mesquite, Nevada.

It started in 1975 with Golf Digest as the main backer and Sellinger was the men’s champion in 1986 and 1991 but there was just something missing from his point of view.

“It didn’t have the flair,” he said. “We had a lot of talent but people just didn’t see it.”

So he brought the event to glitzy Las Vegas in 1995 and then moved to Mesquite two years later where they staged this increasingly popular event under the lights with about two thousand screaming fans.

He also brought in a shot clock so you’ll have four guys on the tee with two minutes and 45 seconds to hit six golf balls within a grid more than 400 yards in length and about 60 yards wide.

For those fans of the boys and girls who smash the smithereens out of a golf ball you can catch it on the tube if you can’t be there in person.

“It’s going to the Golf Channel so it’s about to explode and have its biggest shot in the arm ever.”

So what is it about knocking a little white ball so far away you might need the Hubble telescope to track it’s flight?

“It’s the same feeling you get when you see a slam dunk in the arena, a long bomb on the field or a grand slam home run,” he said. “That’s what it’s like, that’s what these guys are doing here.”

Sellinger is very aware Alberta seems to be a breeding ground for long drive champions with Calgary’s Lisa Vlooswyk a former champ and most recently St. Paul’s Jamie Sadlowski taking the men’s title but he singled out a pharmacist from Drayton Valley as one of the best.

“Jason Zuback is the best long driver I have ever seen in my life,” he proclaimed. “He won five Remax World Long Drive Championships, four in a row. Just simply the best there ever was.

“I think it has a little to do with hockey,” he said. “The hockey players to me are the best strikers of the ball as athletes followed by the pitchers. That’s because of the wrists.”

Sellinger is proud of the atmosphere surrounding it being nothing like you have ever seen involving golf, noting there won’t ever be a request to be quiet.

“We don’t want quiet on the tee. We want excitement, we want these guys adrenalin flowing.”