How this world long drive champion got his start entirely by accident

The best things in life are free. So too, it seems, are the most important things.

In the early 2000s, Jamie Sadlowski was a teenager on his way to play a round of golf with his brother-in-law in Edmonton, Canada. Jamie, who has since become a World Long Drive champion and built a career off his ball-smashing exploits, was little more than a recreational golfer at the time, splitting his time between the course and the ice rink.

As Jamie explained to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz in this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast, if not for that afternoon round planned with his brother-in-law, his career might not exist today.

“A fluke, a total fluke,” he said. “To this day, I swear, if I wasn’t with my brother-in-law to watch him compete, he was a baseball player, a big guy, hit it a mile.”

The story starts on the morning of the Sadlowski’s tee time. Before the two were set to tee off, Jamie’s brother-in-law first had to compete in a long drive event.

“We show up, he hits them, and then there was a junior category in the event,” he said. “The guy running the event played hockey with my dad. He was like, ‘We’ve got a junior category, grab your driver and hit a few.'”

Jamie snuck back to his car and nabbed his driver. A few minutes later, he was participating in his first competition (and swinging with all his might)..

“Go get the old 983k, eight degree out, bang a few, hit it like 375, I’m like ‘whoa!'” he said. “Won by a lot, and he’s like, ‘That’s pretty good.'”

From there, Sadlowski’s career was off and running.

“A couple months later is the district, and the kid that finished second in the world that year,” he said. “Got some equipment built, ended it up beating him, went to worlds and that’s kind of how it started.”

To hear the rest of Sadlowski’s Subpar interview, including his one tip for all amateur golfers looking to add distance to their swing, check out the video below.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.