For the last 16 years, Eric Lastowka has worked as an environmental engineer in Titleist’s ball manufacturing plant in Brockton, Mass. Now he is a world champion.
Participating in the Senior Division of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship for the first time, Lastowka beat 63 division qualifiers to become this year’s Longest Senior Driver with a 355-yard poke.
“This is the ultimate,” said Lastowka. “I’ve had a lot of close calls in the Open Division in the past (runner-up in 2006, eighth place in 2001), but this is why I continue in this sport. There are so many good hitters that it always takes your best to win. Now that I have won, it gives me even more motivation to repeat next year.”
At 6-5 and 240 pounds, Lastowka hits a 5 ½-degree driver with a House of Forged shaft.
“My success this year is based on being in good physical shape,” said Lastowka. “I have spent a considerable amount of time over the years participating in the Acushnet Wellness program, and it does pay off. I have focused on the cross-fit style workouts with the fitness coaches that the company provides its associates. It is very challenging, but rewarding.”
Lastowka also attended the first level of the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certification program this year, where he learned about the relationship between the golf swing and fitness.
The weeklong World Long Drive Championship started with 64 Senior Division participants in Masquite, Nev. The field was reduced to 16 on the first day. Lastowka advanced after winning his first three rounds with drives of 379, 360 and 391 yards. He won his next two matches with downwind blasts of 426 and 403 yards.
The wind turned on the final day, but Lastowka won his first match with a 333-yard drive, setting up his winning 355-yarder.
“It’s a thrill,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be known as a world champion.”