Every sport is looking for its shortened and quick version to cater for a busy sports market and a lack of time for members of the public. Golf now has its version of quick-fire sport, the Long Drive.
There are now golf events aplenty in New Zealand, but the International Long Drive Invitational is something of a innovation becoming a reality around the world.
The International Long Drive Invitational is being held this coming Sunday, November 5th at the Remuera Golf Club on the first hole which is a par 5 at 470 metres
From 1.30pm the 16 players from 12 nations will tee off, competing for a prize purse of US$10,000 with an expected finish of around 6pm. Later in the evening Remuera Golf Club will host a major fireworks display thanks to Boulgaris Realty.
The players come from a variety of countries and backgrounds. The full entry list features a number of highly ranked and former No.1 players along with a few newcomers. The entries are ; Maurice Allen (United States), Bob De Boef (Netherlands), Mark Bylsma (Australia), William Howard (Cook Islands), Iain Dick (New Zealand), Ilija Djurdevic (Serbia), Tanguy Marionex (Belgium), Matt Nicolle (Jersey, Channel Islands), Brad Pearman (United Kingdom), Timo Petrasch (Germany), Teemu Pitkanen (Finland), Alex Robertson (United Kingdom), Gabriel Le Roux (South Africa), Anthony Thomas (United States), Baden Wai Wai (Australia), plus one New Zealander to be added.
The biggest recorded distance by the entrants was by Allen who officially hit 488 yards/446 metres in Prague last year.
Many of the players in Auckland this week come from different backgrounds, not just in the golf world. Matt Nicolle has taken the European tour by storm this year, while Pearman is male fitness model in the UK along with being a Long Driver, Marionex is a club pro and master of trick shot.
Thomas is an airline steward and actor with Long Drive taking a bigger and bigger priority. Le Roux is a technology salesman and South African Long Drive champ. Hartlepool 25-year-old Robertson plays off a one handicap, while Bylsma is your typical big Aussie bloke who at one stage was banned from just about every driving range around Sydney. The ranges he was allowed to hit on, it was on a condition he used a five iron.
Bylsma has had the record for the longest drive recorded in Australia, a 401m shot in 2005.
Last year a trial Long Drive event was held at the Remuera Golf Club and proved very successful with players showing plenty of emotion as they hit the ball, giving the watching crowd something a little bit different to your average golf atmosphere.