Lisa ‘Longball’, an eight-time Canadian Long Drive National Champion, took time out of her satisfying schedule as a long-drive competitor, keynote speaker, Peak Performance Expert, brand ambassador, golf celebrity and golf travel journalist to answer some questions about her dynamic career.
Describe your long-drive career and what was your longest drive and where?
I won my first one at Glen Abbey in Toronto in 2001. I won my last one in 2017 just outside of Toronto. I did not compete in 2018 due to a rotator cuff issue, my first injury ever in this sport. In 2019 the National Championships were held the same weekend as the World Championships. I chose to compete at the World Championships. In 2020, I chose not to travel due to Covid. Our National Championships were held in September. With all of the Covid travel restrictions and the risks with travel I made the decision not to go as I have a son who was going back to school in September and starting to play hockey. If I tested positive after travel I would have impacted his ability to compete at tryouts and also would impact the start of his school year. To mitigate risk I made a strong mom choice, which I do not regret.
My longest drive in competition was at the Long Drivers of America Tour event in Albuquerque, NM. I hit it 350 yards 2 feet 2 inches. I was the first women to hit it more than 350 yards in competition.
You are passionate about Women’s Golf. What are some ways that you grow the game?
I am absolutely passionate about Women’s Golf. I volunteer my time to sit on a committee for Alberta Golf to help shape the game. Since inception, I volunteer as the Canadian Lead for Women’s Golf Day. This is an incredible event that has grown to have participation in more than 50 countries around the globe with the sole purpose of supporting and growing Women’s golf. I am sponsored by Golf Town, and they bring me to all 47 stores across Canada to teach Women’s Golf Clinics. During the pandemic I have not been able to go in stores so instead I shot 17 instructional videos for Golf Town on Facebook Live. Here is a link to the videos:
I have also started my own golf school for women to help more women get comfortable getting into the game and saying yes to that corporate or charity golf invitation. I run full and half day schools in Calgary and am looking to expand to Toronto. I have three-day Winter Golf Schools in Florida and Arizona. This year I pivoted and moved them to Victoria and Kelowna British Columbia as they have a longer season.
What do you like the most about the long drive competition?
I love that it is a power sport. You get up to the tee and you swing as hard as humanly possible.
How long have you been golfing?
My dad introduced me to the game when I was in Grade 8. I went to one junior night. There were 50 boys and me. The coach proceeded to work with the boys for the rest of the evening. I decided I did not love golf so only played a few rounds if my dad forced me. I didn’t get into golf until my early 20s when my boyfriend at the time, now husband, had just graduated from university and realized that golf was a key business networking opportunity. We played local municipal courses. After I graduated from university we purchased our first golf membership in 2000 and I was in love with the game. I won the club championships several times, played in the Alberta Amateur, on the Canadian Women’s Tour and in one Monday qualifier for the LPGA Tour. I did not have any low rounds that made me want to switch to golf full time but each experience pushed my game and made me a better player.
What did you like about the game in the beginning?
I love the golf is played outdoors, in the fresh air with sun shining on your face. I also love how social it is. You are competing against yourself.
How active are you on social media?
I am very active on social media, particularly on Twitter (@LisaLongball), Facebook (Lisa Longball page) and Instagram (@LisaLongball).
Where have you played?
As a Golf and Travel Journalist I have had the importunity to play some of the world’s best courses in Scotland, Ireland, Spain and the United States. Some of the most memorable courses include St. Andrews, Royal County Down, Valderrama, Pebble Beach and Kapalua.
How many rounds do you play per year?
I am normally so busy with training for long-drive competitions at the driving range and participating in corporate and charity golf tournaments as a golf entertainer that I normally only play 10 rounds a year for the last few years. This year was a hidden blessing with Covid-19. I played 40 rounds, mostly with my family.
What’s your best score ever?
My lowest score is a 70.
Can you tell us something about you people might not know?
I love the water. I am passionate about wake surfing. I started water skiing when I was six years old. It is my secret passion. This summer I started filming fun videos on the water to make people laugh and smile, as I think we all need more laughter right now. Here is a link to my videos:
Have you had a hole-in-one?
I have had two holes in one. They were 13 months apart. I was pregnant with my son Luke when I made my last hole in one. It was during a golf tournament. I couldn’t even enjoy a celebratory “drink”.
What’s on your golf course bucket list?
The three courses at the top of my bucket list in order are:
- Augusta National Golf Club
- Pine Valley Golf Club
- Cypress Point Club
What’s your ideal foursome?
If I could pick three players for a dream foursome it would be Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam and Michael Jordan.
What’s the best course you’ve ever played?
It is a toss-up between St. Andrews Old Course and Royal County Down. At St. Andrews, when you tee off the first hole with the R&A behind you, you know that every great golfer who has ever played the game has teed it up in the same spot.It is humbling. As for Royal County Down, it is true links style golf with breathtaking views and within sight and sound of the sea.
What’s your most embarrassing golf moment?
I once hit a tree and got negative yardage. The ball came ricocheting back and everyone on the tee box dove to the ground.