The Quest to be the Best
story by Rich O’Brien
photos courtesy of Rich O’Brien and Golf Channel
Chloe Garner grew up in South Africa where she compiled an impressive record in junior golf that earned her a golf scholarship to Texas A&M. She helped lead the Aggies to the Big 12 Championship before transferring to East Tennessee State University after two years. She then helped lead ETSU to the 2013 Sun Atlantic Conference Championship. She graduated with a degree in marketing and went on to earn her MBA. She currently serves as the assistant golf coach for ETSU.
She was introduced to the sport of long drive when she caught the attention of veteran long driver Brian Lawler while participating in a Pro-Am for the 2016 Tennessee Shootout. Lawler introduced her to Bobby Petterson who became her coach.
Her career started with a bang as this phenom won her first two events, The Bash For Cash and The Rockwell Blast. Not only did she win the women’s division at the Rockwell Blast with an impressive drive of 370 yards, but she also nearly qualified for the open division.
In October, she capped off her rookie season by advancing to the final of the World Long Drive Championship. It was a classic matchup between a former world champion against a phenom. Garner led throughout the final, but on the last ball, Phillis Meti summoned all of her will and strength and won her second world title. Coming so close to a world title can be a stinging defeat, but she knows that if you want to be the best you have to compete against the best.
Her fitness, flexibility, and strength are keys to her ability to hit the long ball. She credits Crossfit for helping her to add nearly 50 yards to her drives in the past few years.
Last year, Golf Channel announced it would be televising three events as part of their expanded 2017 WLDA coverage. The Clash in the Canyon held in Mesquite was the first of these historic telecasts and the event did not disappoint as the final foursome included Garner, Troy Mullins, who arguably has the best swing in golf, and two world champions, Sandra Carlborg and Phillis Meti. This time in the final, Garner got a measure of revenge by beating Meti with a drive of 342 yards.
The longest foursome in women’s golf history next went head to head in Denver for the Mile High Showdown and the event made history as Chloe became the first woman to hit a ball 400 yards. Amazingly, all four of the women would break the world record that day in a long drive event for the ages. This time Chloe was eliminated in the semi-finals by eventual winner Troy Mullins.
Meanwhile, at the World Long Drive Championship in September, Garner dominated qualifying and had the longest drive of the day at 384 yards. She entered match play seeded number one and seemed in good position to win the championship, but had a bad set in the quarterfinals and was eliminated.
During her first two seasons in long drive, Chloe Garner has had many accomplishments. She has won 50% of the six events she competed in, she set a world record by becoming the first woman to drive a golf ball 400 yards, and she came within one ball of winning a world championship. In many ways, she is just getting started in the sport of long drive and it will be exciting to see what she can do during the 2018 season. Her season will begin at the Clash in the Canyon when it returns to Mesquite, Nevada from April 21 – 24. You won’t want to miss any of the action as the defending champion continues her quest to be the best and drive a ball farther than any woman has ever done before.