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Ryan Gregnol & His Impact on the Future of Long Drive

When Ryan Gregnol embarked on his Long Drive career in 2008, the world looked different from its current state. Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt were in the midst of dominating the Beijing Olympics, while Tiger Woods had just beaten Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff to win the US Open on a torn ACL. At a mere 25 years of age, Ryan embarked on his professional golf career, uncertain of his direction and motivated by the prospect of receiving gift cards for his performance. Ryan’s schedule limited his time on the practice range and without the luxury of being able to practice the entirety of the day, Ryan chose to focus on his drive as a way to maximize his time spent practicing. This led Ryan Gregnol to make his Long Drive debut in 2008, winning the first local and regional qualifier he competed in. Ryan Gregnol’s career in Long Drive has had its ups and downs, but the big Canadian has had a lasting impact on the formulation and growth of the sport in Canada as well as across the world.

            As an athletic 25-year-old kid living in Canada and playing in golf tournaments for fun, Ryan Gregnol was unsure of what was in store for him initially in terms of Long Drive. Due to his bustling schedule, Ryan's practice time was limited. Consequently, instead of honing every aspect of his game, Ryan chose to concentrate specifically on his drive. Once Ryan began putting intentional time and effort into improving his drive, the rest was history, as Ryan had caught the Long Drive bug. After completing his first couple of tournaments, Ryan knew he belonged in this sport. Ryan Gregnol proceeded to qualify for the World Championships three straight years from 2009 to 2011 and then again in 2014, before taking a break from the sport to explore other passions.



As Ryan moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario, he began to focus on fitness, which, through his competitive nature, turned into a future in the sport of Powerlifting. "My competitive side and the way I viewed it was that I had to keep myself busy doing something," said Gregnol about the switch over to Powerlifting. "In hindsight, I am glad I did step away because it showed me certain things that I can accomplish if I put my mind to it and set a goal."

The intense days in the gym, often between two- and three-hour sessions at a time, tested Ryan’s mental stability as well as pushed his body through intense conditions. As the injuries started to pile up from powerlifting and a recent move brought him closer to long drive events, he saw the possibility of returning to the sport he once loved: "Looking back on it, I am happy that I did it (Powerlifting). It showed me that I can accomplish anything if I just put my mind to it. "In Ryan's last powerlifting competition, he tore his TFL (Tensor Fascia latae) as he had 620 pounds on his back, prompting him to officially move back to the sport of long drive.

 

Two weeks later, Ryan was making his return to competition using borrowed clubs and still hitting multiple 400+ yard drives. In 2018, Ryan was fully back in the sport and competing for Team Canada that year. Ryan, along with Jeff Gavin and Kelly Rudney, became massive contributors to the growth of Long Drive in Canada. Due to the climate, training was not as accessible for Ryan and his fellow Canadians in the winter months, but with more indoor facilities popping up, the long drivers finally have a place to train when there is snow on the ground.

Now, with more Canadians in the sport, Ryan makes it a priority to help pass on his years of knowledge in the sport to the next generation of hitters from his home country. “We have a great collaboration of hitters coming up, and I try to talk to them a lot,” said Gregnol. “In all reality, I am on my back nine with a few holes left, and I’d like to see the new kids make something out of it before I step away.” As Ryan knows his seasons are coming to an end in the future, his priority is passing along everything he has learned to ensure the tour is in a better place when he leaves than when he arrived.

 

With a wealth of experience and a commitment to the sport, Ryan Gregnol embodies the true spirit of long-drive competition and has elevated the sport to new heights. Ryan is currently the tenth-ranked golfer in the Open Division and has not shown any signs of decline this past season. Ryan Gregnol is a role model to the younger generation of long drivers, portraying how to act as well as what it takes to have longevity in the sport. World Long Drive is in a better place because of people like Ryan Gregnol, who makes it a priority to pass on the lessons he has learned in his years of competing.

 

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