DAVE Sawtell has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest golf drive hit from a chair.
Sawtell, who is a regular at the Chinderah Golf Course, isn't seated by choice – he suffers from spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair.
The 45-year-old's skill with a driver is remarkable, considering he swings with just one arm, and he obliterated the existing 113m record by a whopping 30.7 metres.
“If I didn't have a head wind, I would have been able to hit it longer,” he said yesterday.
The record, which is measured on distance in flight, was set in February at the Gold Creek Golf Course in Canberra, during a stop on the Australian REMAX longest drive world tour.
It was a great weekend overall for Sawtell, as he finished first in the amateur division of the event.
“I was shocked, I didn't know what to say and didn't know what do to,” he said.
“It was a big weekend, I will tell you. I was amazed I did so well. I am very proud, I have got to admit.”
Sawtell was given 30 balls to beat the record, and broke it in just his second attempt by hitting 143.1 metres.
He improved the record again two balls later by hitting 143.7 metres.
Sawtell has been a revelation in long driving after being convinced by his mentor Brad Thompson to give the sport a go.
Over Easter, he finished fifth at a Gold Coast event, competing against able-bodied athletes, a performance which has qualified him for the national championships. Sawtell volunteers at the Chinderah Golf Course and also coaches golf to the disabled. He subsidises his own travels as he competes on the longest drive tour with money from his pension.
His dream is to compete at the world championships in America, something he believes is possible with the help of sponsors.
Sawtell has support from One Life Gym, the Chinderah course and Spotters Polaroid Sunglasses, and would welcome further sponsorship.
“If I can get some more sponsors, I could have a chance of going to the States,” he said.
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