Before two years ago, Jeff Flagg's biggest sports accomplishment was a five-year stint in the minor leagues playing first base. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound native of Jacksonville thought his destiny was Major League Baseball. Instead, he should have paid more attention to "the sound."
"My father still talks about it," Flagg says. "I was about 15, and we were playing golf at this muny. A bunch of guys were all around me on this tee box that was tucked back into the trees—like a theater. I was using these hand-me-down clubs, and I absolutely crushed a drive. The sound was unreal. It reverberated off the trees, and the ball flew 50 to 60 yards past the next-closest ball. That's the first time I ever remember knowing I had a knack for hitting long drives."
When his baseball career stalled, Flagg decided to see how much of a knack he really had. Smart move. In just his second attempt, the 29-year-old won the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship last fall in Mesquite, Nev., and $250,000 with a 365-yard blast in the finals. During the competition, he also hit one 463 yards, a personal best. (The ball carried about 425, he says.)
"Later on I was allowed to walk out onto the grid and see the spot where the ball came to rest," he says. "I looked back and couldn't see the tee. It was like driving a par 5."
When Flagg isn't bombing tee shots, he's in the gym working as a personal trainer for his new company, REPS Golf, or working on his body in hopes of defending his long-drive title in November. Read his favorite tips for crushing the ball off the tee >>
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.