Interview: Alex Phillips - World Long Drive Competitor
Conversely, there are a lot of other stories in golf being made, and people quietly making headlines in the game. This past month, I had the good fortune of meeting one of those individuals at the Taylor Made Golf Experience in Las Vegas. She was hitting drives in excess of 300 yards to boot. At 24 years old, she is a World Long Drive and mini-tour competitor. Coincidentally, she swings like a girl too.
As a native of Reno, Nevada, and current Las Vegas resident, Alex Phillips began playing golf at the age of 13. Phillips had a competitive career at Bishop Manogue Catholic High School, making it to the State Championships all four years. In her senior year, she won the state championship which solidified a full ride to a Division I school, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Phillips graduated with a degree in Political Science and immediately landed a job as an assistant golf coach at her alma mater, Cal Poly.
In 2015, Phillips began to focus on the long game entering the World Long Drive Championships placing fourth in her inaugural event. Yeah, World Long Drive has a ladies division as well! To date, Phillips has had consistent results in her relatively short tenure on the bombers circuit:
4th – 2015 WLDC
2nd – 2015 ILDC
1st – 2016 Mesquite showdown
2nd – 2016 Bash for Cash
2nd – 2016 Rockwell Blast
Her longest competition drive was 329 yards at the Rockwell Blast in Utah. Just another girl swing. This past October, she was a guest on Golf Channel’s, Morning Drive sharing tips for longer drives.
Phillips isn’t alone in her quest for distance. Her boyfriend, Landon Gentry, and Sister, Corey Phillips, are both competitors in the World Long Drive events. Phillips said her sister has been hitting north of 350 on Trackman at the local range. Corey Phillips is a Ph. D. student in the Psychology department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Not a bad area of expertise for the mental game. The Phillips sibling duo provided IGR readers with exclusive tips for longer drives:
In the gym, Phillips used to be more of a powerlifter stressing the correlation of strength and distance on the long drive grid. However, she said she currently focuses more on strengthening her core and continuing to improve her flexibility. At 5’5,” 135 pounds, Phillips is one of the smallest female long drive competitors. Swinging at 116 MPH, it’s important for her to be strong but the longevity of functional training is paramount for success over the long haul.
“For me it’s more about training to be strong but also healthy. Yes, you need to be strong, yes you need to lift, but there is a certain point at which it needs to be functional training. Not just picking up heavy things and putting them back down. If I am doing shoulder presses now, I am doing them on a Bosu ball. That brings in all the stabilizers and core muscles. The compound movement on an unstable environment, it’s going to be move of an overall better workout. You’re going to use your entire body.” -Alex Phillips, World Long Drive Competitor
When Philips is training for golf competition, she is in the gym at least three to four days a week. She can be found on the range at least three to four days a week leading into a long drive event. She said one of the training days usually overlaps where she will hit both the gym and the practice tee on the same day. Otherwise, it’s usually one or the other but the range day will double as a mobility day incorporating yoga, foam rolling, and stretching which help her flexibility. Phillips chronicles her love for working out and golf on both Instagram and Twitter.
Philips is currently using Callaway Drivers and uses the Callaway XR 16 in long drive competition. She does not use the specific heads designed for long drive, but rather, uses the standard heads out of the Pro Tour Services Department in Carlsbad. Callaway will send the heads directly to Bobby Peterson, who operates the One Stop Power Shop in North Carolina. “Bobby is a phenomenal club builder, and builds all of my long drive equipment.”
Her next long drive competition will be June 6th, which will be broadcast on Golf Channel. She will also compete in Cactus Tour events beginning in March. She also has charity events sprinkled in here and there. She will also focus on preparing for two major events, Q-School in August, and the World Long Drive Championship in September.
In Las Vegas? Don’t forget to look down the range at the Taylor Made Golf Experience or Top Golf…you just might see her swinging like a girl. Also, check her out chronicling her workouts and golf sessions on Instagram and Twitter.
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