Jamie Sadlowski feels right at home at Stonecutters Ridge. The 28-year-old Canadian had his first hit out in today’s pro-am and left his playing partners and a collection of observers in no doubt about his ability.
“It’s been great. It’s my first time over, and it feels like I’m back at home in Canada.”
The former world long drive champion is on his first trip to Australia and is happy to have grabbed starts in the NSW Open and next week’s Australian Open.
Sadlowski has been competing in Long Drive Competition since 2003, winning two World Junior Long Drive titles in 2005 and 2006, before backing up with wins in the 2008 and 2009 world championships.
Despite making his living full-time since 2007 doing corporate outings, the Canadian has always felt the desire to do something more in the game.
60 corporate outings a year and hitting 150 tee shots at a time was also becoming taxing on his body.
“Last year I came to terms that I can do much more than (long drive) and while I’m still young I want to give playing a try."
“I felt that if I could sharpen my game up I could be a really good player and play for a living."
“Obviously my success in long drive has got me starts in tournaments, so I’m fortunate to get into events without going into Monday qualifiers."
Sadlowski described Long Drive and tournament golf are very different beasts.
“It’s like apples and oranges. Long Drive is so much different, you get six golf balls, all you have to do is hit one far and straight and your good to go. Golf is much different, you’ve got to get the ball into the hole. There are so many elements around golf that make it difficult.”
It's a different game too, in terms of the swing for the big-hitting Canadian.
“In Long Drive competition my swing speed in the world championships was around 150mph. Out here it’s around 135mph. It's a big change, different equipment. You kind of want to hit it straight out here so it's the kind of thing I’ve been focussing on,” he smiled.
“It’s been a big change, obviously shortening my golf swing, I’m still hitting it far, I hit every club far. Not as far as I can hit it. The biggest thing is me being able to use my length to my advantage. Not hitting a five iron off every tee box. I don’t want to get into a wedge competition with the best wedge player in the world the best putters in the world; I need to use my advantage if I can sharp[en up all the other skills, I like my chances.
He hasn’t quite finished with Long Drive competition, settling now for only one tournament a year.
“I’ll get ready for that about 60 days out.”
Asked which part of his game apart from his driver that he regarded as his strength he quickly replied.
He believes the wide open Stonecutters Ridge layout is ideally suited to his game.
“It’s wide open. There's a lot of holes. I can hit it as hard as I want. There’s some places you can’t hit it, but it’s firm and fast, and the fairways are wide. I drove it well today, so there’s a lot of drivers, flip sand wedges, flip 60 degrees.
“Length is a big advantage,” he smiled.