Heather LeMaster “Long Knocker”
She grew up on a ranch in Sacramento, CA and from an early age she felt very comfortable riding on the back of a horse. In fact, she learned how to ride before she learned how to walk. Horseback riding was her first love and as a young girl and young women she won fifteen world titles all over the West and Midwest, including a number of open titles competing against adults.
Her passion for horseback riding was matched by her passion for golf. As a teenager, her uncle built a custom club for her and she began to swing away. As a child, she loved putting her family’s herd of dogs through their paces each day chasing golf balls. Like most of her competition she always seemed to be one step ahead of them. With the help of her coach, Tommy Morton, she developed solid ball striking fundamentals. By high school she started winning high school, junior, and First Tee events. As a senior in high school she wanted to take her game to the next level, and with the help of another coach, Matt Kilgariff, she did just that. In fact, she quickly improved from a seven handicap to a plus 2. That allowed her to earn a golf scholarship to her Sacramento State University.
During college she led her team to a number of team titles including the 2007 Big Sky Championship and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. After graduating in 2008 with a degree Organizational Communication she qualified for the US Women’s Amateur in 2008 and 2009 before turning professional for the 2010 season. She had a second place finish on one of her mini tour starts, but an injury late in the season forced her to take six months off from golf to get healthy.
She started competing in Long Drive in 2011 and immediately became one of the top competitors in the Women’s Division. With the help of Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk she began to hone her skills. During the past five seasons she has had an amazing rivalry with Sandra Carlborg. The two competitors always seem to bring out the best in each other and they have combined to win the past five world championships.
When she won her World Championship in 2013 she boomed a 330 yard bomb that sent a message that she was ready to win. In the final, her winning drive of 306 yards defeated Carlborg by four yards.
Carlborg holds a four to one advantage in world titles, but their matches have all been close and typically are only a few yard apart.
In addition to her 2013 world title, she has won four international Long Drive titles with two in Mexico, one in the Dominican Republic, and one in Sweden.
LeMaster will be competing in the upcoming American Century Celebrity Golf Championship July 19th-24th in Lake Tahoe at Edgewood Tahoe South. On Tuesday, July 19th she will be competing against other women, such as Blair O’Neil of the Golf Channel, to establish a new verified Guinness Book of World Record for the longest drive by a women at an elevation of more than 1,000 meters.
LeMaster says “I have had a validated distance of 332 yards and just have a knack for combining the many variables that generates unusual clubhead speed and sends that dimpled sphere into the sky in a direction that is just straight enough.” She believes 350 yards is a realistic goal for the event.
At Edgewood Lake Tahoe, she will be celebrating her 30th birthday. We will see if her best effort with her new Callaway driver is good enough to establish the new world record. The American Century Classic will be a good showcase for the sport of Long Drive as she will put her powerful and smooth swing on display against the celebrities in the popular event.
You can follow her on twitter @ldbirdiemaker.
By Rich O’brien