Joe Miller The Total Package
Joe Miller began playing golf “properly” at the age of 11. Despite the fact that he used a three wood off the tee, he quickly became the longest hitter at his club in Barnet (near London) and was able to regularly hit the ball over 300 yards. It wasn’t until the age of 13 that he started using a driver. By the age of 15 he was a scratch handicap and won a couple of club championships as a teenager.
He entered his first long-driving championship when he was 18 years old at Stoke Park. At the time, he did not even know that there was a World Long Drive Championship. In his first event he did not do very well, but it proved to be a valuable learning experience because he learned the importance of having custom-fitted equipment.
Two years later he won the 2005 European Championship and set a European record of 474 yards in the process. That year he also won the Re Max Irish Championship. That year was also the first time that he qualified for the World Long Drive Championship.
During the past twelve seasons he has become one of the most decorated long drivers in the history of the sport. His list of over 40 European titles includes four Swedish Championships, three European Long Drive Championships, three World Match Play Championships, three European Indoor titles, two LDET Order of Merit titles, and an Ultimate Long Drive Championships. He also went undefeated in LDET events from 2013-2015.
He has qualified for the World Long Drive Championship the past twelve years and has been a perennial contender for the title for almost a decade. His breakthrough performance at the World Long Drive Championship was in 2010 when he advanced to the final against Dominick Mazza. In the final he caught one really well that went 414 yards. His 43 yard margin of victory was the largest in the final.
After winning the championship in 2010, he has been a perennial contender for the title and has made it at least to the final 8 the past five years. In 2011 he nearly defended his title when he finished in 3rd place. And in 2013 he finished in the runner-up position when he was out driven by Tim Burke in the final.
He also had a phenomenal year in 2015 winning four LDET events, the World Match Play Championship, the European Championship, the Ultimate Long Drive Championship and entered the World Long Drive Championship as the favorite.
He believes that fitness is a prerequisite at the top level of Long Drive to have a chance to win the World Title. Fitness, strength in the gym, conditioning and nutrition are absolute keys. He represents a new breed of long drivers with a technique built around speed, strength, and power. He says: “ I am in the gym seven days a week and my nutrition is on point 24 hours a day seven days a week. I love doing what I do, but it’s because I’m good at it; I train hard and stay focused.” His training regimen is so intense that it requires 8,000 calories a day.
Video of his Workout Regimen
Before the 2016 World Long Drive Championship he said he felt like his swing had gotten better and faster over the past six years. He felt like another victory was around the corner.
When march play began the wind conditions made it challenging for every competitor. In fact, Miller survived close calls in his opening two matches. First, in the Round of 64 against Ryan Gearhart, he split the first two sets, before advancing to the next round. Meanwhile, in the Round of 32 against Dan McIntosh, he was literally on the brink of elimination during the second set as the two competitors finished within six inches of each other and needed a four ball playoff to determine the set. Miller survived the playoff and then won the third set to advance to the Round of 16.
After the two close calls, Miller seemed to get stronger during the TV rounds as he defeated Glenn Wilson Jr. 376 yards to 372 yards in a battle of two of the fastest swingers in the history of the sport on Tuesday evening.*
When the wind conditions changed on Wednesday night, it allowed the final 8 competitors in the championship to show their talent. In his Quarterfinal match against Mitch Dobbyn, Joe pushed the limits of the grid at Winstar with a blast of 437 yards. Then, in the Semifinal against Justin Moose he pushed it even further with a bomb of 439 yards.
That set up the Final match* against Ryan Steenberg who had surprised many by making such a deep run in the championship. Steenberg, had stepped away from long drive for two years while The Twitch Trainer was being developed. The innovative speed increasing training aid had put him in the position to win the World Long Drive Championship, but he was faced the difficult task of beating one of the fastest long drivers in the history of the sport. Steenberg had been very consistent all evening as he recoded drives of 416 and 411 yards in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals. In the final, Steenberg went first and posted a drive of 412 yards.
That set the stage for Miller’s chance to win his second World title. And on this night, Miller would not be denied as he won the title with a drive of 423 yards on his fifth swing.
Miller’s second title puts him in elite company along with Tim Burke, Jamie Sadlowski, and Carl Wolver as the four have combined to win seven of the last nine World Long Drive Championship. The second win also tied him with LDA Hall of Famers Big Cat Williams, Andy Franks, Art Sellinger, and Scott DeCandia. That means that Miller now only trails three-time champion Sean Fister and five-time champion Jason Zuback on the all-time Open Division Championship list.
* Video Footage of the World Long Drive
Championship provided by Golf Channel
By Rich O’Brien