Maurice Allen: Golf’s big hitter who’s also long on personality

Story highlights

Long-drive champ hits ball nearly 500 yards

Allen showing golf can be athletic and fun

CNN  — 

There are eagles for some, hole-in-ones for a lucky few, but every golfer knows that satisfying feeling of crushing a drive miles down the fairway.

Alas, like fishermen and the size of their catches, golfers are prone to exaggeration, especially when it comes to their length off the tee.

Not so Maurice Allen.

The American is one of the biggest hitters in the golfing world, routinely smashing a ball close to 500 yards – a distance that ordinarily takes amateur golfers two hefty blows, and then some.

As long drive tournaments start to spread around the globe, Allen, alongside other stars like compatriot Ryan Reisbeck and Britain’s Joe Miller, is taking aim at bringing golf to a wider audience, as they go head-to-head against a backdrop of music, pyrotechnics and a raucous crowd.

“Long Drive is a showcase of speed, athleticism and talent,” Allen told CNN.

“I think if you go to a long drive competition it’s like going to a party and a golf tournament just breaks out in the middle of it. That’s the closest way I can describe it, you’re at this really hyped-up party.

“In basketball there’s a slam dunk contest and that’s what long drive is to golf … I think it’s gonna be something huge. I really believe that.”

READ: The longest hole in golf

Allen has won multiple times on the American-based World Long Drive tour and, as well as being one of golf’s most powerful drivers, he’s also emerged as one of the sport’s biggest personalities.

His off-the-cuff impersonation of veteran US wrestler Ric Flair after his win at last July’s Mile High Showdown in Denver went down a storm on social media.

Allen’s infectious enthusiasm for the game wasn’t always quite so evident. As a kid he saw it as a “boring old white man’s sport,” but his attitude changed when Tiger Woods emerged in the late 1990s.

“Golf became cool because Tiger brought a swagger to the game that wasn’t there before, and his athletic ability was beyond what the game had seen before. I’m not saying he’s better than Jack (Nicklaus) or Arnie (Palmer), it’s just how he did it,” Allen said.

Like Woods in his prime, the Orlando native is blessed with a powerful physique. At college he played football, volleyball, dabbled with rugby and, with a best time of 10.1 seconds, was lightning fast over 100m. Golf really wasn’t anywhere on his radar until a friend challenged him