Long Drivers European Tour‘s second event of the season did not hold any punches in terms of excitement, and Martin Bormeier was the last man standing. It would’ve been easy to take Borgmeier’s chances for granted after the round of 16, with the matchplay bracket shaping up with names like Bryan Roberts and Vincent Palm, 2017 LDET champion Matt Nicolle, and Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath coming off his victory at the season opener in France.
The first quarterfinal match saw Jordan Brooks top Christo Kalender 358/354 to 346/320. Roberts (352/OB/352) knocked out Lee Gauthier (304/333/325) in the second match. The other semifinal round was crafted by a 342/354/350 to 346/352/330 win for Horvath over Palm, and Borgmeier’s 346/345/347 to 336/357/319 ousting of Nicolle.
Brooks then started the semifinals with a 332-yard blast, cushioning himself with another 329 yards and a final 368-yard closing statement. Bryan Roberts brought his big stick with 357- and 366-yard bombs, but an OB kept him from reaching the finals over Brooks.
With their would-be challenger set, Borgmeier and Horvath took to the teebox in a much anticipated matchup. In the end, the Hungarian Hulk’s 338/363/349 effort proved not enough to top the Beard’s 348/344/356 showing.
The Belgium Championships’ final round may very well go down as one of the best of the 2018 season — even though we’re only two events in. Brooks upped his game yet again with a 383-yard strike, his longest in the final round, giving Borgmeier an uphill fight in the first two sets. Then in the third set, after opening 375/371, the Beard launched a 380-yard bomb to clinch the championship over Brooks, who finished OB/363 in the end.
Horvath earned his second top-three finish of the season with a 320/361/363 win over Roberts (338/344/351) to claim the last spot on the podium and continue his early dominance of the 2018 LDET season.
Next on the LDET docket is the Sweden Championship at Täby Golf Klub May 4-5. The field of 40 long drivers is the largest field in the tour’s history, ensuring enough excitement to hold us over until the tour’s much-anticipated debut in Russia June 2-3.
Robin Horvath’s (GER) 399-yard bomb earned him the 2018 France Championships, and the no.1 ranking on the LDET. (Photo courtesy LDET).
The 2018 Long Drivers European Tour season opener showed France what it’s been missing. Hotel Golf Château de Chaillly played host to the tour for the first event in the country since 2014. And though there was a local name in the running heading into the final rounds, it was Robin Horvath of Germany claiming the first victory of the season.
Sunday began with a quarterfinal lineup that could not disappoint. Frenchman Maxime Bourzicot took on the top-seeded Bryan Roberts (WAL) while reigning LDET Champion Matt Nicolle (ENG) faced Martin Borgmeier (GER). Second-seeded Dewald Lubbe (SAF) versus Aleksi Kivini (FIN), and an all-German showdown between “The Hungarian Hulk,” Robin Horvath from Stuttgart, and Timo Petrasch, the “German Bomber” from Munich, filled the other side of the bracket.
Roberts (356/OB/372) bested Bourzicot (348/367/362) to earn a trip to the semifinals against Matt Nicolle (361/356), who ousted Borgmeier (357/OB). On the other side, Kivini fell to Lubbe 351/351/355 to 363/348/347, setting up a face-off against the winner of the the Horvath/Petrasch matchup. Horvath ousted Petrasch, 365/346/375 to 333/372/348, to continue his march to the finals.
The exciting championship match was shaped by Matt Nicolle’s 385/373 to 376/OB victory over Roberts, and Horvath topping Lubbe by the slimmest of margins, OB/375/371 to 375/372/OB.
In the final round, Horvath started strong with a 388-yard blast in the first set, a little too close to Nicolle’s 381-yard effort for comfort. But Horvath secured the France Championship with the longest ball of the day, a 399-yard bomb, over Nicolle’s 372-yard finisher, and vaulted into the no.1 spot in the LDET. (Lubbe took the 3rd place position on the podium after a 386/367 to 335/360 win over Roberts.)
(From to left to right) Matt Nicolle (ENG) 2nd-place, Robin Horvath (GER) 1st-place, Dewald Lubbe (SAF) 3rd-place. (Photo courtesy LDET)
“I’m speechless right now. Can’t believe it!” Hovarth posted on his Instagram page after the event. (He has, as of this writing, yet to comment further, so I’m guessing the emotion has yet to wear off, and understandably so.)
“Congratulations to @hungarian_hulk for pipping me in the final, impressive stuff going deep with a 399!” reads an April 8 post on Nicolle’s Instagram page. ” I will be back fighting harder than ever to regain that top stop!” he continues. Nicolle is now ranked no.2 on tour.
Hovarth is set to continue his hot start at Steenhoven Golf Club in Belgium later this month for the Belgium Championship, April 20th-21st. And he’s surely looking forward to competing in his own country later this year at the Germany Championship at Müncherner Golf Club in Munich, hometown of “The German Bomber” Timo Petrasch. Here’s to hoping for exciting rematch between the two that July weekend.
The 2018 LDET season is expected to one of the best yet, and the players came ready to live up to the hype. The bar has been set high for the remainder of the season but with an exciting mix of some of the best and up-and-coming players in Long Drive, new, marquee events and, of course, the long ball, it’s safe to say the best is yet to come.
No one brings the energy quite like Timo Petrasch. (Photo courtesy Timo Petrasch)
There are two ways to spell “energizing.” There’s the regular way, and there’s T-I-M-O. Going into his 5th season of the LDET, Timo Petrasch has cemented his standing as one of the tour’s most exciting players to watch. His athletic performance is one thing, but it’s his energizing charisma that’s made him a fan-favorite.
Asked about his mentality in the tee box, “The German Bomber” says he’s full of adrenaline. “I need to hit the ball so hard, and I when I hit a good shot I have to show the crowd my emotions,” he says. “And when the crowd pushes me I can hit the ball [farther]!”
The 29-year-old from Munich began swinging the clubs at age 11 and after 13 years joined the ranks of the professional circuits. His years of experience have shaped his mentality on and off the course with morning cardio routines and afternoon long drive sessions. During the winter months, training sessions move indoors.
Aside from the LDET, Petrasch, the no. 5-ranked LDET player, also competes in the German Long Drive, UK American Golf and New Zealand tours, and the World Long Drive Championships.
“It’s amazing to hit with these other golf freaks from around the world,” Petrasch saysof playing in the LDET. But when it comes to his competition, he’s focused on himself rather than sizing up his counterparts, and pushing himself whether fellow countryman and tour player Vincent Palm.
Petrasch is bringing a strategic goal into to the 2018 season. “I want to hit 50% on the grid,” he says. “When I can do that I have a good chance to win some tournaments!” Other than that, of course, “My main goal is the World Championships!”
Petrasch’s 2018 run at the LDET title begins April 7th with the France Championship at the Hotel Golf Château de Chailly, and he’ll certainly be looking forward to a home crowd atmosphere at the Germany Championship at Müncherner Golf Club, Munich, July 28-29, which is sure to be one of the most exciting events of the year.
Needless to say, this LDET veteran isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and his fanbase is only going to keep growing. Few things in this game are more exciting than watching The German Bomber on the tee box.
No. 2 ranked LDET player Vincent Palm has his eyes set on the top spot in 2018. (Photo courtesy LDET)
Vincent Palm isn’t like your average 22 year-old. The Koblenz, Germany, native — one of the youngest on tour— has his eyes firmly set on the no.1 LDET spot after finishing second to Matt Nicolle in 2017. Impressive as his own 2017 performance was, 2018 will be Palm’s third season on the Long Drivers European Tour, and he has no plans of slowing down.
“My goal is to be the best hitter in Europe,” Palm says, “and to push my name in the network all over the globe.”
His confidence doesn’t come without backing. Palm started golfing in his preteens before honing his talent for long drive. He won Germany its first LDET title in history in Hungary last year — that winning ball set last year’s season record at 424-yards.
“I train very hard in the gym and on the range improving my swing. I use speed sticks and follow a special plan I made for myself,” the young bomber says. “I’m looking forward to playing more tournaments in LDET … and in the two events in Germany which are very professionally organized.” He’s also looking forward to competing in the American Golf Long Drive Championship in the U.K., as well as other events “all over the world.”
And while Palm has his focus set on world domination — he’s hoping to compete in the World Long Drive Championships in Thackerville, Oklahoma, this September as well — he’s having a great time all along the way.
“I love the LEDT … so many nice dudes, friends and players,” Palm says. “It’s so much fun out there with these guys, it’s truly a really awesome relationship between all the players, and we make every tournament a really cool atmosphere for the audience.”
Among those dudes is Matt Nicolle, LDET no.1 ranked player. “Nicolle is a very quality hitter, and a good friend of mine,” Palm says. “There are so many hitters who are great, but I think he’s the biggest competition.”
The vivacious young man’s aspirations stretch beyond the course, too, as he’s pursuing a career in dentistry. “Sometimes it’s not easy combining my passion for the LDET with my studies, but I love it and and feel very successful right now,” Palm says.
Your performance on the golf course, just like any other sport, can see huge improvement with repetition and on-course practice. But one aspect of your game that’s often forgotten is building a strong and powerful body to really make the most of all that practice.
With golf carts being a whole thing, we won’t worry about building the endurance to walk a full 18 right now. (Though, due to some horrible drunken golf cart ramping incident, many of you may have found yourself in that situation, but that’s another post all together.) When developing a personal exercise program, one must think sports-specific, so we’re focusing on a strong, powerful swing with this full body workout.
A golf swing is very quick and powerful, using the ATP-PC (adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine) energy system. Our body uses the ATP-PC system for short, strong movements; it requires no oxygen and good for about 12 seconds of maximum physical effort. 20 minutes on a treadmill isn’t exactly going to translate to more yards from the tee — strength, power, mobility, and stability are on the menu.
The following will put you on track to become an ironman on the course (12 oz. curls not included):
Your golf swing uses nearly every muscle in the body, so training the entire body throughout the week would be wise. This is where resistance training comes in. Start with some of the key muscles in your core (glutes, abdominals, obliques), as well as your hamstrings, lats, deltoids, and your adductors. Focus on big, compound movements that use multiple muscle groups to see the most bang for your buck — exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench press, for example.
Form is of the utmost importance with these strength-building exercises. Master the easiest progressions of each exercise before moving on to something harder (ex. body weight squat, goblet squat, barbell squat). And don’t overwork yourself: when training for strength, 3-6 sets of 3-6 reps is ideal. (If you’re wanting to put on some size, stay in the 8-12 rep range.)
Strength alone isn’t going to translate into more yards off the tee, power brings the speed we need to put maximum force on the ball. You need to be able to access that power quickly. To do that, you need to add quick, explosive movements to your training.
This can be done with lifts like the bench press, squats, and deadlifts, at 60-80% of your 1-rep max for very few reps (1-3) and as quickly as possible. The key here is to maintain your form while making explosive movements. Try a rotational power exercise like medicine ball toss for a more swing-specific movement, and more advanced lifters can add olympic lifts and plyometrics to the program.
Mobility and stability are equally as important in a strength program. A golfer’s mobility and stability is crucial to maintain correct alignment throughout the swing, and important for injury prevention and longevity. When training for mobility, the hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine are the big players. Exercises like scapular shrugs, thoracic spine rotations, and fire hydrants condition all of these major parts of the body. Sets of 6-8 reps are very effective for mobility, too.
The focus should be on the core with stability training. Building strength in the abs, obliques, low back, and glutes is what we are after here. Exercises like the plank, bird dog, and glute bridge will get the job done, and you will reap the rewards on the course.
The following is a sample full body workout for beginners looking to make the most of that time on the course (you’ll look better naked, too, and who doesn’t want that?):
Full body body golf workout for beginners
Bird Dog (2 sets): 6 reps each side; rest 10 seconds
Fire Hydrant (2 sets): 6 reps each side; rest 10 seconds
Scapular Shrug (2 sets): 8 reps; rest 10 seconds
Glute Bridge (2 sets): 8 reps; rest 10 seconds
Rotational Med Ball Toss (3 sets): 3 reps each side; rest 30-60 seconds
Matt Nicolle’s nickname is “The English Enforcer,” and for very good reason. The no.1 ranked LDET player and defending tour champion delivered an unbelievable performance in 2017, earning 4 wins and another 4 top-3 finishes in his first full season on the tour (playing 8 of 9 events).
So what’s better than perfect? LDET fans may soon find out.
“I’m looking to continue my run into 2018,” Nicolle says. “I’m feeling good about the season and have a lot of events over a short period, so [I] can get into a groove.”
The 27-year-old Brute Golf athlete didn’t spend the offseason basking in glory, instead he’s approaching his LDET career with a veteran mentality. “I’ve been preparing through specific training and practice for a while now,” Nicolle says. “Lots of dynamic work and building strength, and building speed through overspeed training.” He works on his swing and equipment indoors while coaching and club fitting in central London as a PGA pro. “Dialing in my numbers, equipment and swing is an ongoing process which continues throughout the season.”
Nicolle grew up on the 9-by-5-mile UK island of Jersey, population of under 100,000. After playing football and cricket, his attention turned to golf “quite quickly.”
“Growing up in Jersey I played a links style golf course and got to a good level fast, competing as an amateur and then turning professional at 20,” Nicolle says. He’s also competed in UK South, East Regional Tours, Euro Pro Tour and French PGA events, and excited to have an organizational roll with the American Golf Championships in his home country later this year.
Now, The English Enforcer is focusing on long drive, and has his eyes on a number of LDET events in particular this season including the tour’s debut in Russia and The Nations Cup. “[LDET] is building every year and will be spectacular this season … hopefully culminating in another trip to the World Championships which is always phenomenonal,” he says.
But he also knows topping last season’s performance won’t be easy.
“I had a few good battles with Vincent Palm, Bry Roberts, Timo Petrasch and Seb Forslov last season and expect these guys to show some quality hitting this season,” Nicolle says. “Maurice Allen will return to the tour as well. Being a two-time tour champion, he knows how to win!”
Nicolle’s title defense is just one of many aspects fans can look forward to heading into the 2018 season, but he takes time to note an even more exciting big picture. “Golf is getting back to a level of growing participation,” he says. “The game is getting younger and more attractive to people looking to take up the game. Long Drive can play a huge part in this; it’s growing rapidly already and new tours have been setup globally which is fantastic for the profile of the game as a whole.”
Follow Matt Nicolle on Instagram and Twitter @mattnicollegolf, online at mattnicollegolf.com, and his battle drive for drive against other LDET players starting April 7th at the France Championships at Hotel Golf Château de Chailly.