SmackIntosh gets extra drive through friend
Golf: Cottonwood general manager goes the distance for long driver
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 09:03 am
A long-term friendship has helped an Okotoks golfer remain one of the top long drivers in the country.
Dan “SmackIntosh” McIntosh earned his third consecutive trip to the ReMax World Long Drive championship in Mesquite, Nevada by finishing in the top two at a regional championship in Kitscoty, AB earlier this summer.
The 26-year-old McIntosh got an assist from Tiffany Gordon, the Cottonwood Golf and Country Club’s general manager, and a friend of the McIntosh family while growing up in High River.
“Tiffany started helping me when I was 15 and she made me a scratch golfer when I was 15,” said McIntosh, an assistant pro at Cottonwood, located in the northern portion of the MD of Foothills.
“I also went to Tiffany when I got my pro card and she helped me with my swing.
“Any time I start to have things go wrong with my swing, I go to Tiffany.”
Things went woefully wrong for McIntosh on June 20.
He not only didn’t have a place to hit golf balls, he also lost his job when the Highwood Golf and Country Club in High River — where McIntosh was an assistant pro — was flooded.
“When the golf course flooded, I couldn’t get back into High River,” McIntosh said. “So I called Tiffany and Cottonwood and asked her if she needed help and she said, ‘Sure, come on out.’ She hired me after that as an assistant pro full-time.”
Gordon has known the family for her entire life. Dan’s grandfather, Dr. Smith was Gordon’s dentist while she was growing up in High River. Her grandfather, Stan Gordon was the mayor of High River for several years.
“I have probably known Dan for 15 to 20 years,” she said. “I have also spent time with him in High River to help with his game. He is one of those guys that I like to help because he is so appreciative of what ever you do for him.”
When she got the call from McIntosh three days after the flood, she ended up hiring someone who could not only strip the cover off a golf ball, he also knew how to strip drywall.
“He showed up Monday morning and he helped us with our flood problems at Cottonwood,” Gordon said of the golf course located along the Bow River. “Then when my sister and brother-in-law needed help with their home in High River, Dan went down there.”
McIntosh ended up helping other Cottonwood employees with their homes in High River as well as many other residents.
When things finally settled down, he wound up in the Cottonwood pro shop.
Gordon is still fine-tuning McIntosh’s game in preparation for the long drive competition. While she might make small adjustments to his swing, getting into his headspace is the key.
“With Dan, the biggest thing is he knows what he has to do,” she said. “A lot of his stuff is just giving him the confidence that he can make those shots. Once you get to the stage Dan is at, it’s mostly mental for these guys.”
Whatever, she is doing, it’s working.
McIntosh beat Kevin Blenkhorn in Kitscoty to earn the second spot to go to Las Vegas by mere inches.
“Kevin has finished second place in the Remax (world championship) before,” McIntosh said. “In Kitscoty, we both hit it in the middle and we both measured in at 366 (yards). If you are within six inches of each other, it’s considered a tie. I was 10 inches ahead of him, so I was the winner.”
McIntosh, who is a semester away from earning his geophysics degree from the University of Calgary, said the fact the world championships are in September this season rather than October will help him.
“It means I can stay practiced,” McIntosh said. “In October, I have trouble finding a place where I can practice — I have to go indoors.
“Also in October, I’m right in the middle of mid-term exams. I will have more time to prepare this time.”
McIntosh’s preparation includes more than just blasting golf balls into the stratosphere off the teebox. He works out five times a week in Okotoks, including Olympic weightlifting with Glen Hutchinson.
The results are evident from the teebox. Last year McIntosh cranked out four drives of more than 400 yards at the Mesquite long drive party.
“Last year I had the longest drive I have ever hit in a competition, 428 yards,” he said. “It was pretty downwind, but everyone has a downwind ball on their resumé.”
He said he hopes to add world long drive champion to his resumé some day.
“I want to win — every year I go down, I feel better and better,” he said.
The ReMax finals are Sept. 18-27 in Mesquite, Nevada. For more information go to www.longdrivers.com