04/19/2016

Try and name the biggest hitter of the ball in all of professional golf. 

Bubba Watson?  Dustin Johnson?  Jason Day?  Good choices and they all can certainly produce jaw-dropping drives, but no.  Rory, Rickie and Jordan are also wrong. Suppose I told you there’s a guy who can it put 60 or 70 yards past all those players with ease?  Yes, with ease. 

And, oh by the way, he’s a Canadian ice hockey player who didn’t begin to seriously play golf until he was a teenager.

Laugh all you want but it’s true.  His name is Jamie Sadlowski.

Who?  OK, admittedly he’s not on the PGA or European Tour but he is a two-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship winner and, additionally, has competed in hundreds of other long drive competitions and demonstrations.  He’s outdriven Bubba and Dustin in exhibitions and has a personal best drive of 445 yards.  Sadlowski also claims to have driven a ball 400 yards when he was just 16 years old. 

Put a 3-iron in his hands and he’ll crush that 300 yards.  He’s crazy long. He’s even gone on with the fellas at Dude Perfect to put a hilarious trick shot video together.

Sadlowski isn’t an imposing presence on the tee box.  Far from it.  He stands all of 5 feet, 10 inches and weighs roughly 170 pounds.  Not exactly an ideal build for 400-yard drives, so how does he do it?

Although a natural southpaw, he plays right-handed and uses his extreme flexibility and slender frame to generate a lot of clubhead speed.  Any instructor will tell you the key to distance is to swing fast; not hard.  Sadlowski does exactly that. 

Motion Golf studied his swing and found his shoulders rotate 166 degrees while his hips move just 49 degrees.  A lifetime of playing hockey helped a lot too.  Since he played hockey left-handed all winter in Canada, and then played golf right-handed during the summer, his wrists are so strong that he essentially has two right wrists.  The quick, fast-twitch muscles developed during all those years on the ice serve him very well on the golf course.

CBS Sports’ Peter Kostis broke down his swing (you can find it here) and you can see for yourself how he gets so much power. 

During his back swing he looks like any other technically sound golfer on tour, but went he gets to the top of his swing, it’s astonishing how high his hands are over his head, while the clubhead is pointing to about 4 o’clock.  Unorthodox for sure, but boy does it work. 

Beginning the downswing, the hands stay well ahead of the club, and he releases it beautifully through impact.  The strain and effort his wrists and arm muscles are absorbing is clearly evident, but they can handle the workload.  The club head is perfectly square at impact despite traveling about 140 mph, while the ball rockets off faster than a Maserati at top speed. 

For comparison, an average weekend hacker has a clubhead speed between 70-95 mph, PGA pros average 115-125, while Bubba and Dustin might hit 130 on occasion.  Swing fast, not hard.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sadlowski and his swing, he’s teamed up with Gary McCord to promote a series of instructional DVDs that can be found on the website FreeDistanceSecrets.com. 

You probably won’t be hitting driver-pitching wedge to par-5s after watching them but you’ll likely take away a lot of valuable lessons you can apply to your own game.