The European Long Drive Championship will be held in Warnemünde on September 16, 2023. The current German world champion will also be present at GC Warnemünde. Before the tournament, Martin Burgmaier talked about the championships in Europe, how he prepares and how important the crowd is at long-distance driving events.
European Long Distance Driving Championship: Seven Questions for Martin Burgmayer
Your focus is on the USA Long distance world events, but you also play more frequently in the European long distance games. How does it feel to play long-distance driving events in your home country of Germany?
Martin Burgmeyer: Since many events overlap in time, it is not always easy for me to compete in Europe. Due to the more attractive prize money and higher level of competition, I usually tend to choose World Long Drive events. However, I am always thrilled when I see the number of talented players coming from Europe who undoubtedly have the potential to win the World Long Distance Championship. After all, I gained my first experiences and played tournaments in Europe, which is why I always enjoy giving back to the long European career. In fact, I am one of the founders of the European Long Distance Driving Games and have therefore laid the foundation for these great competitions that will also take place on our continent.
Meanwhile, I am trying to use my connections with World Long Drive to promote Long Drive in Europe. The first joint European long-distance driving and world long-distance driving games were also held in May this year. In addition to many famous players from the USA, the live broadcast on Sky Sports was a milestone in the long-distance driving sport in Europe. And since I want to build on this, I always feel like I’m coming home. Above all, I am looking forward to many new athletes who will make a significant contribution to the development of high-level long-distance driving in Europe.
Martin Burgmeier: “We play golf in a very intense way”
What aspects of long-distance driving fascinate you the most and what makes them so special to you?
Martin Burgmeyer: The cool aspect for me is that golf is so different. We use clubs that can also be used in regular golf. However, I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone because it’s really hard to play.
We play golf in a very intense way and take a different approach. In traditional golf, it’s all about getting your adrenaline in check over the course of four hours and finishing the round strong. Long drive, on the other hand, is all about getting full power in 2 minutes and 30 seconds and using all the adrenaline you have. Long Drive gives golf a whole new dimension and the atmosphere is more reminiscent of darts events than traditional golf tournaments.
As the World Champion, you are a well-known face in the world of long-distance driving. Can you tell us about your experiences so far in international competitions and tournaments?
Martin Burgmeyer: Events in the United States are essentially the same as events in Europe, but on a larger scale. The platforms, infrastructure for events and much more are usually larger there. You can always feel the Americans’ approach of making everything bigger, faster and farther. However, the Covid pandemic has led to setbacks not only in Europe, but also in the United States of America. However, step by step we see that both rounds are recovering. Last week, there was the first live broadcast of the Kingsport Long Drive event on TV in the USA. I think this lays the foundation for more and more events to be shown on TV in the future.
From a purely mathematical point of view, in both rounds I had to hit six balls as far into the net as possible in 2 minutes 30 minutes, so the difference is only noticeable in the surroundings.
How do you prepare physically and mentally for an event like the European Championships?
Martin Burgmeyer: My preparations for all events are pretty much the same. My goal is to go into the tournament feeling as good as possible in order to hit the ball as far as possible. The European Championship is an important preparation for me for the upcoming World Long Distance Driving Championship, where I would like to defend my World Championship title. And since the field of participants is now very strong, this gives me the opportunity to assess my current performance and decide which aspects I still have to work on before the World Championships.
Can you give us some insights into your training routine and preparation for the European Championships? Are there any specific exercises or training methods that you prefer?
Martin Burgmeyer: My workout routine stays basically the same. I train for four days in a row and then take a two-day break. The real focus is on learning how the court (net) works in the days immediately leading up to the tournament and during the preliminary rounds. Shortly before the event, I also pay attention to the wind and weather conditions and prepare accordingly. However, it has often happened that the weather forecast has predicted a headwind, and I have practiced flat balls with a slight spin in the previous days. On the day of the competition, the wind suddenly changed, and suddenly I could no longer do anything with the flat ball flying. At such moments I had to return to the flight of the high ball at short notice. The key to success is developing versatility in training over the years and the ability to respond flexibly to different circumstances. It is precisely this ability that separates the outstanding long drive players from the champions who have achieved success over many years.
“The atmosphere in a long drive event plays a crucial role”
How would you describe the atmosphere and expectations in a long-running tournament like the European Championship, especially in front of a big crowd?
Martin Burgmeyer: The atmosphere in a long drive event plays a crucial role for both players and spectators. The entire tournament experience can be greatly affected by mood. If the atmosphere is as lively as it is at a darts event, it is an unforgettable experience for all attendees. Personally, I often interact intensely with the audience to improve my performance. You can think of it like tapping into a wave while surfing. When it comes, it’s only natural to let it carry you as far as possible. This year’s Long Drive Open event in Hannover and last week’s World Long Drive event in Kingsport attracted over 1,000 enthusiastic spectators, which is undoubtedly fantastic. Of course, I also hope that there will be a big crowd at the next event in Warnemünde, which will create an enthusiastic atmosphere.
Finally, what are your long-term goals for Long Drive and how do you see the future of this exciting sport in Europe?
Martin Burgmeyer: I am personally deeply committed to ensuring that the European Long Distance Games and the World Long Driving Championships benefit from their synergies and grow together. It’s especially exciting that World Long Drive will host tournaments in Europe, as the name already suggests the Tour should be located all over the world – not just in the US. The European Long Drive Games undoubtedly play a major role in organizing events in Europe. I suppose we will see at least two TV events in Germany in the next two to five years, where both the World Long Driving Championship and the European Long Driving Games will play an important role.
(Text: The Long European Journey)
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