Sunday, February 29, 2004

A quick chat with ... Scott Smith

By Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati native Scott Smith often drew comments on the golf course about the distance of his drives - so when he saw an ad in a magazine for a long drive competition, he entered it. It changed his life.

Smith won a competition that sent him on a trip to face John Daly, where he outdrove the PGA golfer by 36 yards to win $100,000 on ESPN. Since, he's acquired sponsorships with Bang Golf (heads) and Penley (shafts), placed 30th in 2003 in the World Long Drive Championships and quit the family business to teach, perform trick shows at company outings and focus on his training.

Smith begins his 2004 long drive season this March, with his ultimate goal to become the World Long Drive Champion.

Q: What's your longest drive?

A: In competition 440 yards, but on the golf course, I hit it 485 yards last year.

Q: Average?

A: Probably in the 380s - it depends on the conditions

Q: Your average is better than Tiger Woods, right?

A: Yeah. For swing speed, Tiger Woods probably is in the upper 120 to 130 miles per hour. Mine is about 155 miles per hour. My ball speed is about 210 miles per hour.

Q: Would you ever take Tiger on head to head?

A: Oh, yeah. He would never out-drive me.

Q: How did you get into golf?

A: I grew up a baseball player. ... I think that helped a lot with my power and my hand eye coordination ... Then, I picked up golf at 16.

Q: You played for La Salle High School - were you any good?

A: I was probably average. I don't think they had a really great program back then. But I have about a 6 handicap. I want to get that better.

Q: How did you get into long drive competitions?

A: I've always been an avid golfer, and a lot of people would comment on my distance. I saw an ad in Golf Magazine for the Pinnacle Distance Challenge. There were 10 tour stops in 10 cities, and I won in Washington, D.C., so I got to go to Mesquite, Nev., to compete with Daly on ESPN. Once I won, then I got sponsors.

Q: What's your best trick shot?

A: I hit the ball through a half-inch piece of plywood. Most people don't realize that takes 200 mile per hour ball speed. I hit a ball off a 4-foot tee, and it's hang time is about 15 seconds before it hits the ground. I can hit it standing on a medicine ball.

Q: Did you ever try anything that didn't work?

A: I fool with different shots. I usupractice with racquet balls to help get the feel and the timing down.

Q: What's training like for you?

A: I'm training diligently for my start of the professional season (in March until October). I do core training, like with your abs ... flexibility and weight training. I train about five days a week, with golf specific training three days a week.

Q: So what kind of places do you get to go while on tour?

A: All over - Florida, California, Dallas, New York City. We're making a stop in Toronto. I like to see new places. It's a nice lifestyle. It beats the family business - that's for sure.

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