Those who love nothing more than to see players ‘grip it and rip it’ are in for a treat this weekend as the world’s biggest hitters are set to descend on Jumeirah Golf Estates’ European Tour Performance Institute for the World Long Drive Series, taking place on Friday March 17 from 5pm.

Among them will be current World Long Drive Champion Joe Miller, two-time former World Champion Tim Burke, Two-time European Champion Maurice Allen and UK Champion Lucas Dornan.

Joining this illustrious cast of monster hitters will be Dubai’s very own Ricky Dominguez. The scratch golfer, who plays his golf at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, host venue of this week’s Sharjah Senior Golf Masters, earned his place in the elite field via a highly successful qualifying campaign run by local retailer eGolf Megastore on the astonishingly realistic X-Golf Simulator in their Al Wasl store.

Visitors to the store were invited to smash a drive on the simulator and Dominguez came out top with a mammoth 351.7-yard rocket. That’s a huge hit by normal standards but Ricky will still have his work cut out if he’s to outdrive his muscle bound co-competitors at JGE. Lucas Dornan, who featured in the March edition of Worldwide Golf, was smashing it over 400 yards on the X-Golf Simulator during a visit to the store!

We caught up with Ricky, and eGolf Megastore CEO Dean Cheesley, ahead of the big showdown.

Worldwide Golf: Ricky, give us your thoughts at having secured a place in the upcoming LDWS, you must be excited?

Rick Dominguez: I’m really excited to have qualified, it’s going to be a great event. To compete against the very best in the world, including the likes of current world long drive champion Joe Miller and former world champion Tim Burke, you can’t beat that!

WWG: You’re going to be up against some huge hitters at JGE, how do you think you’ll fare?

RD: I feel pretty confident about how far I hit the ball so it should be interesting! These guys are the best in the world but I’m hoping to post some competitive numbers! It will help a lot to be afforded a warm up this time, the qualification process doesn’t allow it so it was not easy to max out my distance in the qualification!

WWG: You qualified on the eGolf Megastore’s simulator – how true to life is it?

RD: It’s an incredible piece of technology the X-Golf simulator. It gives you the same accurate data we’re used to seeing off the likes of Trackman, FlightScope etc and incredibly realistic. The coolest feature is the golf balls that come out of the floor and tee up automatically for you after each shot!

WWG: The qualification campaign by eGolf seemed to generate a lot of interest – give us your thoughts on them giving local players the chance to win a spot in the Long Drive World Series?

RD: There was loads of hype and many entries, even down to the last night when I registered my drive, there were several guys down there giving it a shot. eGolf did a great job of marketing the event and creating a nice buzz amongst the local golfing community. An opportunity to compete in a world-class event like this doesn’t come around often so I’m grateful for eGolf and the organisers for giving UAE golfers a chance to get involved!

WWG: What driver do you use in qualifying?

RD: Normally, I use a Nike Driver with an X-Flex shaft but for this event I switched to a new Callaway driver and popped in an old double X-Flex Shaft I had laying around!

WWG: Dean, what’s the feedback been on your qualification campaign and how successful has it been for eGolf?

Dean Cheesley: We had a great response to the qualification with many of the UAE’s longest hitters coming down to compete. Congratulations to our qualifier Ricky and all competitors who participated. With no warm up permitted, it wasn’t easy for the competitors to achieve their maximum distance! We saw golf balls split in half, shafts snapped in two and club heads cracked throughout the qualification. It’s unbelievable how hard these guys hit it!

WWG: What are your thoughts on the Long Drive World Series coming to Dubai?

DC: It’s a great initiative to bring the World Series to Dubai for the first time and Jumeirah Golf Estates is the ideal location for it. The sport of long drive is genuinely on the brink of exploding globally and the new World Series with its big name participants and attractive prize pool could be the initiative to set it off. It’s going to be a world class event and the team at eGolf is certainly proud to be associated with it.

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