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Paul Slater breaks world's longest drive record

Paul "St George" Slater claimed a new world record for the longest golf drive at London City Airport today (Saturday) in an event hosted by the London Golf Show..

Braving difficult weather which included torrential rain and gusty winds, Slater, 34, from Warrington , fired a drive 720 yards down the runway.

It beat the previous best of 696 yards - set recently by Australian Tour pro Stuart Appleby .

He said: "I knew it was right as soon as I hit it. You know when you've hit a good shot; you get the surge going right up through your body. That's what we do it for really."

Slater, the current RE/MAX European Order of Merit holder and 2004 Scottish long drive champion, remained outwardly calm despite all the acclaim from his fellow Long Drivers of Europe competitors and the gathered spectators.

"This is as excited as I get," he smiled. "But I must admit there was a bit of arm waving and shouting soon afterwards."

The secret of his success, the Bolton club pro insisted, was the same as all golfers.

"It's all about practice," he insisted.

But most golfers wouldn't be using the club with which he set the new record.

"I took some loft off the club I was using after the first couple as the ball was losing energy on the runway as it was dropping from a height.

"This club has a 2½ degree loft and the stiffest shaft I've ever used. It's an SMT 02 with a 50" Apache shaft. And I owe a lot to Mike Tait, of SMT, who has been the only one who stood by me. Without him I would not have achieved this."

Ross Broadstock, managing director of the London Golf Show, which hosted the event, explained: "Like everything else to do with the London Golf Show this has become huge.

"The first time we have done this and golfers from ac ross Europe turned up and we broke the world record.

"It's the first ever London Golf Show and that's also going to be huge with events like this and more."

Juniors and celebrities - including rock legend Rick Wakeman, All Black Zinzan Brooke, and Wasps and England second-row forward Simon Shaw - also participated.

Shaw took the amateur prize with a fine effort of 465 yards.

Slater also paid tribute to the juniors, whose top effort of 510 yards was recorded by Bianca Flynn, 14, from Rugby - also believed to be a world record for an under-16.

"Their performance was fabulous. I was delighted to see them hitting the ball so well. Without youngsters we wouldn't have a future for the sport."


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