Monday, April 24, 2006

RE/MAX Long Drive In Shorts & Flip-flops

Yes the title of this post is correct. About 6 years ago I was on vacation at the Omni Tucson International Resort in Tucson, Arizona. It was in August and disgustingly hot, but we spent most of the time in the pool.

One of the nice amenities was a complimentary golf range that just happened to be steps from our suite. I was with my son and every afternoon around 3 or 4pm we would go out and hit a bucket or two. This particular day we had just left the pool and on my way back to the suite I saw a RE/MAX tent over by the clubhouse.

We got our clubs and went over to the clubhouse to see what was going on and that's when I saw it was the RE/MAX Long Drive contest. It was the regional qualifications and it was open to anyone. It was about 4:15 and the contest was ending at 5pm so I went to the range to hit my driver because I decided I was going to do this.

I hit for about 20 minutes and went back up to the clubhouse and signed up for the contest. It cost $30 for 6 balls and you could do it as many times as you wanted. I got the 6 balls and waited my turn. I had to wait about 10 minutes and while I was waiting I saw some of the guys hitting their drives about 320 to 340 and then they called my name "Don Smith from Fountain Valley, CA".

I walked up there with my Taylormade Burner 2 in board shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops. It was a small crowd of about 30 people and I'm pretty sure they thought they were going to see me hack my drives out there. I couldn't believe how nervous I was. I've played in many tournaments before in high school and at the club level and I've always been able to calm myself down and do well on the first tee, but this time I couldn't. I had a hard time getting the tee in the ground and keeping the ball on the tee.

I finally took a few deep breaths and settled in behind the ball. I was so amped up and I was trying so hard to bring myself down, but I just couldn't do it. My first drive was a 200-yard duck-hook, which I followed up with 3 more duck-hooks in the 220-yard range. I was swinging so quick because of the adrenaline that it was uncontrollable.

I stepped away and took a few more deep breaths and on my 5th drive I hit it semi-solid about 260-yards. It wasn't my best and I knew I could do better, but I just needed to settle down because I was down to my 6th and final ball. I took a few more deep breaths and told myself to take it away slow and I did just that. The ball came off the face with the crack of a well hit drive and it had a soft draw to it. I heard the small crowd approve of the drive and when the ball stopped rolling it measured 304 yards and they applauded.

I walked away happy with my performance and hoping I gave them a story they could tell about a guy in board shorts and flip-flips entering the long drive contest.

Have you every tried the long drive contest? Have you been in a golf situation where you were this nervous?

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