03 Oct 2022 | Industry news |

Aussies eyeing off Long Drive rise after World Champs

by Dane Heverin

PLDA Australia Director Joel Taylor in action at an Australian Long Drive event.
PLDA Australia Director Joel Taylor in action at an Australian Long Drive event.

A successful voyage to the Pro Long Drive Association’s (PLDA) World Championships in Mesquite, Nevada last week has PLDA Australia buoyant about growing the sport back at home.

Australians Joel Taylor, Sebastian Twaddell, Matt Stubbs and Thomas Fliniks made their world championship debuts as Bryson DeChambeau created headlines, and social media engagement, worldwide with his charge to the final.

German Martin Borgmeier defeated DeChambeau with a drive of 426 yards, but the hype surrounding the showpiece event has Taylor, a New Zealander who is director of PLDA Australia, envisioning similar scenes in Australia.

“It’s just a friendly atmosphere over here. Everyone is so welcoming and that’s been great for us who’ve just come from little Australia to be here,” Taylor said.

“When you come to something like this you see how big the sport can actually be. It’s a huge eye-opener for us. This is next level. This is insane and it would be cool to get Australia to this level.

“It’s such an entertaining sport and it’s over so quickly. Our events in Australia are done and dusted within three or four hours. Here it’s a bit bigger because they have the numbers.”

In comparison, the world championship began with 128 long drivers in action and ran across six days in the Nevada Desert with a global live stream where fans watched balls fly high and long, and adrenaline-fuelled celebrations as the competition dwindled down.

The conditions were also quite foreign to the Australian athletes. Twaddell performed best in reaching the Final 32 as the high altitude and lack of humidity presented a new challenge.

“The ball just floats. It is unbelievable,” Taylor said. 

“The Americans thought I was crazy when I said it. Here we have to hit it high so we set our drivers up to five and six degrees. At home we have to have that ball come down as quickly as possible because of the humidity. 

“Here it’s amazing watching it just float through the air and it probably puts 20 to 30 yards on the ball.”

For Taylor, his result was not the priority.

The 44-year-old is only a year away from being eligible for the Masters division and headed to the States not attending to compete.

“I brought the clubs in hope that they said I could have a hit. I wasn’t actually going to compete,” he said. 

“I train pretty hard no matter what but we got over here and they were like ‘right, you’re an affiliate. We’ve had a few pull out so you’re in’. That was a huge opportunity for me.”

Golf Australia is a partner of the PLDA and assisted in getting the Australian quartet to the event.

The two organisations are working together to showcase the sport nationwide.

“We really appreciate everything GA has done for us and how we’ve managed to get here,” Taylor said.

“We find people that love the gym and love golf, and it’s great that GA are helping us spread the word.”

Find out more about PLDA Australia here.

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