Oak Mountain alum Zack Holton wins first World Long Drive event to enter world top three

Published 7:07 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

LA SALLE, CO – Birmingham native Zack Holton took home his first title on the World Long Drive tour on Sunday, June 11 in La Salle, Colorado.

Holton, a former Oak Mountain golfer in high school, climbed up the world rankings to become the third-ranked long driver in the world after the win.

“It was pretty surreal,” Holton said of the win. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work over these past couple of years and really dedicated myself to being a better competitor, and I’ve given myself a lot of chances in previous tournaments, but I’ve never been able to close the door.

“So, to finally be able to do it, it was really a big thing, and now I’m just trying to keep up the consistency and try to give myself a chance to win as many tournaments as possible. And hopefully the hopefully the tide kind of swings my way and I can be able to do that.”

Holton hit a personal best drive of 473 yards in the semifinals to advance to face current world champion Martin Borgmeier in the tournament finals. He then hit a 468-yard drive to beat Borgmeier’s 440-yard effort and take down the second ranked player in the world.

In the finals, Holton hit five of his six balls into the fairway for 468, 467 and 463 yards as well as two for 465 yards. With that set, he accomplished his goal going into the finals of channeling his record-breaking semifinal shot.

“I was just trying to replicate that shape, and luckily I was able to do it five consecutive times in the same set,” Holton said. “I really just tried to stay within the moment and just try to focus shot for shot and hopefully, you know, I would be able to take the shot and it would be enough. And fortunately, it was.

“I just tried to stay calm and stay within myself because I’ve been there before, but I hadn’t had as much success. But I was pretty confident going into that set.”

This is Holton’s third year as a professional long driver. Before he turned pro, he played high school golf at Oak Mountain and then collegiately for three years at Birmingham Southern.

He said he was always interested in the long drive tour after seeing it on TV, and he took the plunge into the world of long drive late in his college career.

“I had watched it on TV, on the Golf Channel, as some people have, and I just ended up purchasing a long drive driver without really any knowledge of what I was getting into,” Holton said.

He went to a local qualifier and had fun even though he didn’t do well, so he dedicated more time to it once he graduated from college. Just as he was preparing to test the amateur scene, the pandemic hit and forced the long drive tour to shut down and restructure.

Once it returned in 2021, he started playing on the Professional Long Drive Tour’s amateur division, where he saw success. Within the year, he turned pro and hasn’t looked back since.

During the week, he works at Amwins, an insurance agency in Birmingham. They have been very supportive of his long drive career, even sponsoring him on his shirt to help him chase his dreams.

Most nights, Holton will go to the driving range or the gym after work to prepare for upcoming tournaments. He enjoys the challenge of balancing work life with the effort needed to become a better long driver.

“I’m always staying pretty busy,” Holton said. “I don’t really have much free time, but I’m really enjoying the hard work that it does take for to balance the work life and then also the long drives competitor life.”

He takes pride in representing Birmingham since it’s the only city he’s ever lived in and loves the people. He hopes he can contribute to his hometown’s rising sports scene as well.

“It’s really been the only city I’ve ever known, and it’s been really cool to kind of help put Birmingham on the map because we don’t have many professional teams,” Holton said. “I’ve just been trying to represent myself and the city of Birmingham the best I can. It’s been pretty cool, I’ve gotten to know a lot of really cool people around the city and I’ve gained a lot of support from them.”