Albany's Donnie Parker got into long drive competitions at the encouragement of his wife.
"She mentioned, 'Why don't you do long drives?' I told her, 'I didn't know you wanted me to do it,'" he remembers. "She asked me, 'Do you think you could be competitive?' I said 'I can try.'"
Competitive is an understatement for the former Darton Cavalier, who drove a ball over 360 yards to qualify for September's World Long Drive Championships.
Parker says the sport allows him to compete in the part of golf he enjoys most.
"Hitting the golf ball as far as I can has always been fun," Parker says. "That's the main thing about long drive is you do get to hit the ball, to swing as hard as you can."
Now Parker is training to win a world title.
He hits the range less than you'd expect, only about once a week. Mainly he's focusing on his strength and club speed.
"I do a lot of lunges, a lot of squats, yoga, tons of different stretches, just trying to keep my legs as flexible as possible," he explains.
Parker says he's excited to compete when the lights are brightest
"Anybody can hit it straight when they're practicing," he says. "The hard part is doing it when the pressure's on and the competition's there."
And even though this is his first World Championship appearance, Parker says he's driving to win
"My goal is to win the world championships, hands down," he says. "It'd be a testimony to anybody that you don't have to be the biggest, you don't have to be the strongest, you don't have to be the fastest, but you can still win."
He says winning would be a great achievement for him, but also a testament to his family's sacrifice.
"To be able to go out and win a world championship would be a blessing for me and a blessing or my family," Parker says.
Parker credits much of his success to his Power Golf System, which he has just patented and will soon begin selling.
For now, he's hoping to pull in more sponsors before the World Championships.
To learn more about sponsorships or the Power Golf system, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2013 WALB. All rights reserved.