The World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season continues next week with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash. The inaugural event – in partnership with the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) – will mark the third WLDA competition in six weeks showcased live on Golf Channel, with coverage airing from 6-8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 5 from Atlantic City Country Club.
The event will feature a 36-man field competing in the Open Division based on World Long Drive rankings, led by current No. 1 competitor in the world, Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.), who will be vying for his third consecutive victory following wins earlier this year at the Clash in the Canyon and Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun. The Women’s Division includes 2018 winners-to-date Alexis Belton (Ruston, La., Clash in the Canyon) and Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand, Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun) courtesy of her 380-yard blast in the final, along with five-time (and defending) world champion Sandra Carlborg (Alingsas, Sweden).
“We’ve reached the critical point of the season, and right now Will Hogue is on fire,” said Jonathan Coachman, play-by-play host for World Long Drive Association events on Golf Channel. “With how stiff the competition is, to have a chance to win a third straight event shows how in control of his golf swing he is to generate so much power. He has to be the favorite in Atlantic City.”
COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash will air on Golf Channel from 6-8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 5, with Golf Central previewing the event from 5:30-6 p.m. ET. Encore showings of the competition are scheduled to air on Golf Channel immediately following the live telecast, from 8-10 p.m. and 10 p.m.-Midnight ET.
The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. New to 2018 is an overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) displaying the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Trackman technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracing the arc of each drive from the moment of impact.
Morning Drive and Golf Central also will prepare viewers for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash through interviews and dedicated segments featuring competitors on-site in New Jersey.
OPEN DIVISION FIELD (in order of World Long Drive ranking): Justin James, Ryan Reisbeck, Will Hogue, Maurice Allen, Tim Burke, Trent Scruggs, Paul Howell, Ryan Steenberg, Mitch Grassing, Landon Gentry, Glenn Wilson Jr., Nick Kiefer, Kyle Berkshire, Justin Moose, Tommy Hug, Kevin Shook, Jason Eslinger, Steve Monroe, Eddie Fernandes, Jeremy Easterly, Dan McIntosh, Brady Torbitt, Jeff Gavin, Scott Kalamar, Spencer McDaniel, Jim Waldron, Stephen Kois, Josh Cassaday, Patrick Hopper, Jeff Flagg, Jeff Crittenden, Mitch Dobbyn, Mark Costello, Bryan Kelly, Wes Patterson and Ben Tuaone.
WOMEN’S DIVISION FIELD: Hollie Bartsch, Alexis Belton, Monica Borowicz, Sandra Carlborg, Mary Driscol, Chloe Garner, Erin Hess, Michelle Kinney, Ashley Lewis, Phillis Meti, Troy Mullins, Debbie Peever, Alex Phillips, Cory Ann Pond and Angela Zimmerman.
FORMAT: The Open Division preliminary rounds will consist of 36 men broken into four “pods” of nine competitors across four three-minute sets of eight balls each, with a points system being used to identify four from each pod advancing to the Round of 16. From there, five sets of eight balls will determine the eight competitors advancing to take part in the single elimination match play bracket during the live telecast on Golf Channel. The Women’s Division will feature 16 competitors broken into two groups of eight taking part in four sets of eight balls. The top four point-earners from each pod will advance to the single-elimination match play competition beginning with the quarterfinals, with the winners moving on to the semifinals which will play out on Tuesday night’s telecast.
BROADCAST TEAM: A new voice to World Long Drive, veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play at each of the five WLDA televised events on Golf Channel in 2018. Art Sellinger – World Long Drive pioneer and two-time World champion (1986, ’91) – will provide analysis, and Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will offer reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.
DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will be on-site contributing to the social conversation as the event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage on Tuesday, June 5 using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.
In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site, WorldLongDrive.com will feature real-time scoring for the duration of the event, June 4-5. Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.
2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:
DATE EVENT LOCATION WINNER(S) / DEFENDING CHAMP
March 15-17 East Coast Classic West Columbia, S.C. Justin Moose
April 21-24 Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*) Mesquite, Nev. Alexis Belton, Will Hogue
May 11-15 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*) Maricopa, Ariz. Phillis Meti, Will Hogue
June 4-5 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*) Atlantic City, N.J. (New Event)
June 21-23 Bluff City Shootout Memphis, Tenn. Justin James
July 6-8 Bash For Cash Port Rowan, Ont., Canada Justin James
August 2-4 WinStar Midwest Slam Thackerville, Okla. Landon Gentry
August 12-13 Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*) Kingsport, Tenn. (New Event)
September 1-5 Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*) Thackerville, Okla. Sandra Carlborg, Justin James
Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events will be staged in 2018 through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Additionally, an all-encompassing international qualifier will be staged (late summer) featuring a minimum of four exemptions into the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.