Photography by Gary Phillips

Canada's Longest Drive Champion

Every once in a while, photography brings you to important places and people who have achieved success.   That occasion happened yesterday when I had the pleasure of photographing Canada's Longest-Drive Champion, Ryan Hawkins on a first-class golf course in Myrtle, Ontario.

On a perfect fall morning here in Ontario, the fall leaves were at their brightest colours and combine that with the backdrop at the 17th Tee at the Royal Ashburn Golf Course, you have the perfect setting to capture a champion who hits a golf ball 420+ yards. 

They say a photo is worth a thousand words?  Well, I can tell you, standing on the tee box on a Par 5 hole, I witnessed golfers standing on the green looking in utter amazement, how or where these balls were coming from, knowing the person striking the golf ball was more than 400 yards away. 

Once word got out that that a champion ball striker was amongst them on the course, the game of golf stopped for a moment while they watched Ryan crushing a golf ball like it was second nature.  The sheer power he generated with his swing, was one thing to witness.  The other was his dress code.  :-)

As Ryan stood there for a moment, I grabbed a shot of his colour coordination and his well-stocked golf bag.  I'm glad I took this shot, because I later found out that his sponsors are: Geek Golf and Incepta Execution Golf Shafts, Loudmouth Clothing and Tango Creek Golf and Country Club.

Ryan is a true champion in every way and his sponsors should be so lucky to have him on their team.  Our goal yesterday was to capture some images for his own personal use, however, Ryan made sure he spoke to everyone on the course yesterday, those in the clubhouse and even the tuck shop.    I arrived yesterday to take photos of a champion, however I left there with a better understanding of the commitment Ryan now gives to his sport and to his sponsors, he so proudly wears and uses their clubs.

To top it all off, both Ryan and I were also in the company of another champion in the golfing industry.  Doctor Ron Cruickshank, Director, Graves Academy and Moe Norman Gold Academy and Canada's Only Master Certified Instructor,.  Ron spent time with Ryan and I on the 17th Tee while he consistently hit golf balls 400+ yards.  He secretly video taped Ryan and during coffee, offered some very helpful tips on improving his swing, thus gaining more distance?  is this possible? 

After witnessing Ryan hit a golf ball and having the opportunity to listen to a golf expert, I think my golf game just improved by a few strokes.  All I have to do now is find out where my clubs are, clean off the 15-year-old build up of dust and get back out there.

Best of luck to you Ryan when you compete in Mexico in November 2013.  With the impression you left yesterday with those on the course at Royal Ashburn, I'm sure you will have many following you as you compete for the title of World Champion.

Thanks for a great photo shoot.



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