TOP 10 QUESTIONS
HOW DID YOU GET INTO LONG DRIVE?
I played competitive golf 20 years ago after retiring from professional baseball. I could always hit it far, but had no idea there was an actual tour for long drive. Fast forward to November 2021 and I walked into a local Golf Galaxy to have my Taylormade R5 regripped (yes, I was playing a 20-year-old driver) and I started hitting a new Callaway Epic Speed head on the only long drive shaft they had in the store. I hit 20 shots cold and peaked at 135.5 mph clubhead speed. The pro there told me I should look into long drive competitions. I entered my first Pro Long Drivers Association (PLDA) event in March 2022 and placed 9th.
WHAT'S THE LONGEST DRIVE YOU'VE HIT SO FAR?
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE TO SPEED TRAIN?
Golf Slingshot is my primary speed training tool. It comes as one club with three different weights to use interchangeably. I also have a set of SuperSpeed Sticks from SuperSpeed Golf. These two tools are top of the line. I track speeds with a PRGR swing speed monitor.
HOW DO YOU TRAIN FOR SPEED?
Short answer is you have to make your body move faster and get used to moving faster than it normally does. I have a few tools in my bag to help with "overspeed" training (swinging light, standard, and overweight clubs to try to gain speed). A friend of mine—"Fast" Eddie Fernandez—says 1 mph gained per month is a good metric for progress. I subscribe to that.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY IN SHAPE?
At 51, it's important not only to workout, but to stay on top of my nutrition, sleep, and overall mobility. I've developed a program for men 35-55 to maximize their potential on the field. The core of it contains those four pillars.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE IN LONG DRIVE COMPETITIONS?
Callaway Epic Speed 5* Driver Head with House of Forged Ballistic 250X shaft.
WHY DO YOU WEAR A HAT WITH ALL MIGHT FROM MY HERO ACADEMIA?
I watched the entire My Hero Academia series with my youngest son, Christian. All Might reminded me of who I've always wanted to be for my boys. Christian saw himself in the character, Deku. So he drew up a birthday card depicting me as All Might and him as Deku together. It was such a special gift that I had it made into a hat.
WHAT MATTERS MORE: CLUB SPEED OR BALL SPEED?
If you're just talking about speeds, the only one that truly matters is ball speed. You can swing faster than anyone else in the world, but if you can't relay that from the club to the ball with solid impact, the ball won't go anywhere. There are other key variables today—backspin rate, angle of attack, launch angle, etc.—that round out the optimal shot. All of those matter in pro long drive, but they don't necessarily make a big difference hole to hole on the course every weekend. So if you are going for speed, think ball speed (and to get it, think center of the club face).
WAIT, YOU PLAYED FOR THE DODGERS?
Yes, in the minor leagues. I was an All-American closer out of Long Beach State in 1992 and was drafted in the 6th round by the Dodgers. I was injured shortly after and had reconstructive surgery on my shoulder in 1993. I had to retire in 1995 after a couple of rehab seasons in the minor leagues.
DO YOU PLAY ACTUAL GOLF?
These days, I tend to play in more scrambles than anything else, but I did play on the Golden State Tour 1996-1997. Lowest score is 68.