East Texan Prepares To Blast Off In Texas Shootout - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/8/07

East Texan Prepares To Blast Off In Texas Shootout

473 yards.

It's a number that, back in February put Hide-A-Way Lake resident Mathew Vilade on the map in the long drive world. It's the farthest anyone has ever hit a golf ball on the world championship grid in Mesquite, Nevada. I caught up with Vilade today as he prepared for the Re/Max Texas Shootout this week right here in Dallas.

How does one of the worlds top long drive hitters prepare for a big event?  Not with a putter in his hand, that's for sure.  Working with Randy Stuart at Golf Connections in Tyler, Vilade pulls out his Alpha driver and hits, and hits, and hits.  And, unlike most mortal golfers, "Hoss", as he is known in the long drive world, is pushing this doppler-powered machine to it's limits.

"If the machine gets to 375," said Stuart, "that's well over 400 out in the real world."

There's also a science, and a language all in it's own, such as swing faster not harder, power transfer, potential to kinetic and smash factor.  It sounds complicated, but Vilade says, hitting the ball a long way is actually quite simple.

"The secret is really to not get tense," said Vilade.  "Tense muscles are slower muscles. Loose muscles are fast."

There's nothing slow about Vilade. While the average professional golfer has a ball speed in the 180 to 190 range, Vilade consistantly exceeds 200 miles per hour.

"Those are good numbers," said Stuart.  "If he can average that, then the rest of the world goes for second place."

"It's real important for me to make a great showing (in the Texas Shootout)," said Vilade, "because we're at Dallas. We're in my back yard and I'd like to keep the Texas Shootout trophy right here in Texas."

Vilade begins his quest for a Texas title Thursday morning at 9am at City Point Golf Center in Dallas.  

Cody Ellis of Bullard is also participating in the Shootout.  It's his first ever long drive competition.

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