Take a quick look at Kurt Moore with his imposing 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame and his 48-inch metal-head driver with the brghtly-colored graphite shaft and you can see why he won the State Long Drive Championship Wednesday at Nibley Golf Course.
Yet ask him the key to his long hitting and the first thing he mentions isn't his size or his club. Rather he'll say something about "timing.""It's a lot of timing. You can be the biggest guy on your block, but without a good golf swing, it won't do you any good," he said.
Moore, who has won the State Long Drive Contest two or three times before (e's not sure), and the district competition twice, captured Wednesday's contest with a drive of 353 yards 34 inches into, get this, a headwind.
The 30-year-old former Weber State basketball player was the third hitter in the 20-man finals. Half the field was exempt from last year and the other half had competed earlier in the day to qualify. When Moore stepped up to hit, he faced a fairly stiff breeze, which he says seems to happen to him every year.
The first hitter, former state champion and record-holder Jeff Thredgold, could only manage a 301-yard best. The second driver, Richard Buskey, had a best of 286.
Then Moore, using a driver designed by an Ogden company of which his father is the president, smacked his third drive down the middle of the fairway just under 354 yards, which turned out to be the winner.
The next hitter, Jeff Hoye, came close with a 345-yard, 24-inch effort, but then the numbers started to tail off with the next several hitters.
Then suddenly the wind stopped and actually began to blow from behind the golfers. The advantage showed when the last six hitters all went at least 327 yards. As each hit his allottment of six drives, Moore could be seen nervously pacing behind the spectators around Nibley's No. 6 tee.
Two-time champion Gary Schneiter slipped in a 348-yard drive, Mike Huey knocked one 343 and Stacy Hall hit it 339 yards. Defending champion Rob Despain could only manage a 327-yard best drive and Moore claimed the trophy.
"That was as hard as I could hit it," said Moore, who admitted he was nervous about the wind change. "I guarantee no one could beat that hitting into the wind."
No one beat it with the wind, so he had nothing to worry about.
Just to see what he could do with a little wind advantage himself, Moore was allowed a half dozen more tries after he had been declared the champion. His best drive went 384 yards, 24 inches, which was just four yards short of the state record set by Mike Dunaway of Las Vegas three years ago.
Moore, who used to concentrate on his long driving, has been developing his entire game lately. He's down to a 3 handicap and earlier Wednesday, he qualified for next month's State Amateur by shooting a 77 at Valley View Golf Course in Layton.
The top six finishers from Wednesday's competition will compete in the district competition July 14 at Jeremy Ranch in conjunction with the Showdown Classic. A field of 25, including long hitters from Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, will try to earn a spot in the national long-drive finals later in the year.