Few teenagers can dream of reaching the prestigious distances achieved by Barnet based Elle Gibson as she fired her way to a second-place finish at the American Golf Long Drive Championship last month.
Despite being eventually felled by Scottish professional Iona Stubley in a closely fought final at Haythrop Park in Oxfordshire, the nine-handicapper showed the potential to drive her way to the very top of the sport with a phenomenal 326-yard drive in the opening round.
To put that in perspective, Lexi Thompson, considered among the longest players on the LPGA, averages 274 yards, while Rory McIlroy currently tops the PGA driving statistics on 311 yards.
That’s right, at just fourteen-years-old, the Londoner can already claim to outdrive every single player on the world’s biggest male circuit.
Even more impressive, far from being a one-hit wonder, Gibson consistently fired drives over 300 yards throughout the championship with her smooth, rhythmic swing, on course to a final match-up with the impressive Scot, who signalled her own intent to rise to the top of the Long Drive game with a new championship record of 338 yards.
The emergence of the big hitting prodigy may well have sparked a new rivalry on the Long Drive circuit, with the final among the most exciting ever witnessed at the event. The title sealed on the very last hit of the day.
It may be just as well that she didn’t attain the top spot with the youngster admitting that she already has a family holiday booked on the week of the World Final, which took place last week in America, and it was 33-year-old Stubley who teed it up on the biggest stage alongside the likes of Long Drive sensation Troy Mullins, who is known to send the ball flying over 400 yards.
Despite making the switch to a Callaway Epic driver, Gibson made few other changes from the swing she would use out on the course, bar upping her tempo, and unsurprising confessed to outdriving most of her counterparts on the junior circuit by some considerable distance.
''I hadn't expected to make it past the qualifying rounds, let along make the final,'' The Shire member admitted.
''I've taken a little time away from the game earlier in the season, after working very hard on my golf over the past couple of years, and it was exciting to be back competing, especially in a fun event like the Long Drive Championship.''
We’ve long been taught that distance doesn’t equate to a whole lot when it comes to getting it round in a low number, but with a string of impressive performances over the past few years Gibson has demonstrated that she more in her arsenal than just beastly drives.
But does length always equate to low scoring? Well not always. Joanna Klatten, who currently tops the LPGA Driving Stats currently sits in 84
th on Race to the CME Globe, which is perhaps little surprise considering she is down in a lowly 148 th in the corresponding driving accuracy rankings.
Still, we certainly wouldn’t say no to a couple of driving tips for Elle!
Ilona Stubley Wins American Golf Long Drive Championship.