Golfer Jamie Carr didn’t miss a beat after taking 16 years off from competing at long-drive competitions.
Late last month, the 2003 Ontario champion won the senior men’s division at the Amateur Long Drive World Championship in South Carolina.
The 47-year-old Brantford native acknowledged he found taking part in his first big competition in a while “quite stressful”
“It felt great. It was a relief.”
After practising through the winter at Players Indoor Golf and Sports Bar on Dalkeith Drive in Brantford, Carr hit the long-drive circuit, winning local events in Hamilton.
From there, he was asked to join 23 others as members of Team Canada at the world championship.
There were 10 competitors in the senior division, which was for those aged 45 to 55. The golfers took part in qualifiers, with the top four moving into semifinals.
“I was a little nervous at first but, as the tournament went on, it got a little easier,” said Carr, who attended the event with his girlfriend, Jennifer Greathead, and several friends.
Each golfer got 12 balls to qualify. They had to hit them as far as possible and keep within a grid 40 to 50 yards wide.
Carr only found the grid on his final ball, hitting the longest drive among all competitors to qualify for the semifinals.
In the semifinals, he also only hit the grid once, this time smashing his drive 351 yards, which placed him second and qualified him for the final.
In the final, he once again only made one shot that counted but it was a doozy, travelling 368 yards. That beat the other finalist by more than 20 yards.
“I got three balls in bounds the whole weekend,” said Carr, who thanked sponsors UVMF and Cory’s Custom Cycles. “I think I had luck on my side that weekend, for sure.”
Carr started golfing as a youngster, getting his first membership at Hamilton’s Apollo Valley Golf Club, a par-three course that includes a 160-yard hole as its longest.
Considering himself just an average golfer, he decided to give long-drive competition a chance after watching it on television.
“I’ve always been able to hit a ball farther than other people so I thought I’d give it a try,” he said.
He went into some local contests before winning that 2003 provincial championship in Port Rowan with a drive of 355 yards.
“I never really worked on it,” said Carr. “It’s just something I’ve always been able to do.”
But that changed when he began contemplating a return to the sport.
“I just started watching YouTube videos, I saw some of the yardages and I thought maybe I could still do it,” he said.
“It turns out I still can.”
The right-hander uses four custom drivers with Brute heads and House of Forge shafts. While most golfers have lofts between eight and 12 degrees on their drivers, Carr’s is just four degrees.
Following the championship in South Carolina, Carr came home and promptly beat 10 others at the recent Canadian championship in Port Rowan.
“The expectation was win, to be honest,” said Carr, whose top shot travelled 371 yards.
Carr will be off to Mexico in November to compete for Canada at another international event and then he plans to get ready for next year.
“I’m going to put in a full year of training and see how I do next year,” said Carr, whose personal best drive, indoors, is 419 yards.
“Maybe I’ll go to a couple pro events. You can make a lot of money. The Re/Max (world championship) in Las Vegas, the winner in my division gets $50,000.”
He said he is happy.
“I’ve got the bug. I’m going to keep on doing it.”