Jeff Crittenden Golf Center of ArlingtonBy Tom Ward

Tee Time With Tom Ward 

On behalf of Golf Center of Arlington

Jeff Crittenden

Long drive champion Jeff Crittenden
Image by Tom Ward

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of playing in the Dorothy Franey Langkop Memorial Golf Tournament held at Woodbridge Golf Club in Wylie, Texas. My team was fortunate to win this year’s tournament with a 20 under par score.

The namesake of the annual golf tournament, Dorothy Franey Langkop, was a pioneer in women’s sports who embodied the Olympic spirit. In 1932, she helped introduce women’s Speed Skating as a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The event was hosted by the Southwest Chapter of the United States Olympians and Paralympians Association to support athletes and fitness programs here in our area. It was great meeting a number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who were in attendance supporting the worthwhile fundraiser.

During the tournament Long Drive Champion Jeff “The Critter” Crittenden was on the ninth tee helping to raise money for the event by having people pay for him to hit their tee shots.

Crittenden has been involved in athletics from a very young age. As the youngest of six brothers, he has always had a competitive spirit. That competitive spirit easily translated into a career as a member of the PGA.

Crittenden began playing golf in college and quickly showed an aptitude for the sport. It was just a couple of years later that he decided to make a career of it and became a professional golfer. Three years after college, Crittenden moved to Florida to play professionally and won several mini-tours. He then turned to teaching golf for such companies as Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, Swing the Thing Golf Schools, Precision Golf Schools, ESPN Golf Schools, and Golf Digest Golf Schools.

In 2006, Crittenden realized he had a true talent for strength and distance in golf and decided to try his hand at long drive. In long drive, he quickly found his calling and within a year was competing professionally around the country and just a few years later around the world.

Currently, Crittenden competes in fourteen or more long drive events per year. He also performs 25 or more exhibition and trick shot shows per year. It’s his job to hit the golf ball as far and as hard as possible while remaining within a very specific grid. And he does it in front of thousands of people every year.

In our group Crittenden blasted a drive over 330 yards that landed 5 feet from the pin on the short par 4. I asked Jeff what advice he gives to people during his long drive exhibitions that can help to add some much needed distance to their tee shots.

“Most people I meet and ask me to help them are way too tight,” he replied. “Their muscles are bulging a bit too much. When you get up to your tee shot you want to be nice and relaxed just like any other sport, like baseball. You see the guys over the plate keeping loose and doing their stuff to stay relaxed. As you make your backswing you should be able to continue staying relaxed and let the club just fall. There shouldn’t be any tension coming through the swing, just enough for your fingers to hold onto the club. So if you’re looking for my recommendation to get more distance, get relaxed and have fun.”

On that same hole hanging out with Crittenden was Abby Dunkin, a Paralypic athlete who recently won gold in Rio De Janerio in Wheelchair Basketball. Dunkin was gracious to let me try on her gold medal, which was beautiful and heavier than I thought it would be.

Check out Crittenden’s website at www.critterpowergolf.com or contact him via email at crittergolf@gmail.com. I highly recommend you give him a call because he puts on a terrific display with his long drive prowess and he’s a great guy!