I’ve been blessed to be a part of the sport of Long Drive for several years. I started as most do with a love of golf but as my love grew, the game seemed to be aloof and distant. PGA level golf is a pipe dream for most unless your lucky enough to be born into a family with easy access to the course and the driving range. My rebellious nature has led me into a pursuit of aggression and extremity in golf and through Long Drive, I’ve found an outlet. Extreme golf is a double edged sword in that it brings in folks from all walks of life but also folks who are in a constant search mode for a ride. We all want to be appreciated and asking for a sponsorship is a song that’s on heavy repeat. I’m a person who appreciates the athletic ability to send a ball 400 yards down the grid and I fully believe that Long Drive deserves publicity and an opportunity to play for a living. Reality has been that it’s a self sponsored sport driven by top tier athletes who are willing to risk their own money to prove their superiority. A few have earned the right to receive free clubs, shafts, grips and even entry fees. Some have even made a living on long drive and appearances alone and I salute you.
As a club producer, I speak to other club makers, shaft designers and component makers. It’s always fun to share stories and cross promote. Recently, while speaking to a shaft maker, he said that if he got one more request from a long driver to “test” a shaft for free, he was going to jump off of a roof head first! He also asked me if I went home every night and crawled into the fetal position from the stress involved? It was truly funny to hear those comments and unfortunately, it’s not a rare occurrence. It’s never wrong to search for the very best club, shaft and grip combo that works for you and it’s never wrong to accept a sponsorship offer but the problem comes in when you constantly request free stuff from everyone. This breads a constant jump from one product to another even if it doesn’t help you as a player. It also leads to screwing the very companies that have been kind enough to give you a piece of themselves. My rule has always been to offer to send any product back to the company after testing or reviewing them. Some people have such little respect that they have tested products and then sold them on Ebay just to obtain a few bucks in order to buy other equipment.
I remember seeing bumper stickers and t-shirts back in the day that said “gas, grass or ass, nobody rides for free”. I haven’t seen those signs lately but it seems really appropriate at this time and in our sport. When you’ve got skin in the game, you have so much more to lose. I played golf with an assistant pro once who was sponsored by TaylorMade and after hitting a bad shot with a 3 wood, he turned and pounded his 5 wood with the 3 wood and punched a giant dent in the crown of it. I freaked out and grabbed the 5 wood but he just shrugged and said he didn’t really care because he could have another one sent to him for free. Now that’s a great deal if you can get it and believe me, the major golf companies can afford it but just as many long drivers have day jobs, so do most long drive component company owners. In a way, we are all in this together and our power is found in our common purpose to make the sport a major factor in the golf community. When you join a team or purchase equipment, please use your brain and move toward what helps you achieve your best results. Most equipment can perform but if you can find a team that appreciates you and supports you, perhaps that should hold some weight. A free drink can taste great but knowing how to mix and make your own offers a sense of satisfaction. Until our sport achieves a bigger platform and monetary rewards, work hard and if you believe in your abilities, don’t shy away from investing in yourself and your career.
Shark Attack Golf