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Doctor of Drive-ology

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Coming soon: Long-hitting eye doc

By Mike Forster

It’s certainly not uncommon to find a doctor who enjoys the game of golf.

It’s not uncommon to find doctor’s in this area who get in their share of duffing.

It is quite rare, though, to find an area medical professional who hits the little ball with such force.

Meet Dr. Landon Colling, an ophthalmologist.

Well, you can’t meet him just yet.  Give him a couple of weeks to get his gear unpacked as he relocates from Ohio.

In the meantime, allow us to serve as a source of introduction.

Colling is in the process of making a name for himself in the Bedford area as he proceeds to open the Harmon Eye Clinic, on Summit Street, in Bedford City.

He has already made a name for himself in the world of long-distance driving.

It’s a fairly straightforward sport.  Competitors vie to see who can drive a golf ball the furthest, within certain parameters.

Colling was a decent college golfer, but upon entering med school he found he didn’t have the time to keep his game up.

In 2006, he saw Jason Zuback, the Canadian who owns possibly the most famous name in the sport, and became intrigued.

“When in college, I could hit it pretty well.  Plus, I’d played baseball in college,” he recalled.  “I knew I had good speed with the club and a fairly solid golf swing, mechanically.”

Colling took up the sport and found himself at the 2007 qualifier.

“I was like a deer in the headlights,” he laughed.  “Guys had 15, 16 drivers.  I had one.

“Still, it was so much fun.  I thought that I’ll keep doing this.”

He certainly did keep at it.  In 2008, he earned third place, out of 134 big hitters, at the ReMax Championship, near Las Vegas.

The event drew long drivers from Australia, South Africa, Japan, Korea and from all over Europe.

Colling nearly outdrove them all.

His top drive at the ReMax?  A whopping 414 yards.

The way the tournaments work is through double elimination brackets.

Drivers may be broken up into groups of ten, for example.  Each participant hits six balls on a grid that is 50 yards wide.

Any ball hit off the grid is eliminated.  The top distance that is still in bounds is the one that counts.

The top half of the group moves on to the next round.  Those in the bottom head to the losers’ bracket.

“Typically, you start safe, get something in the grid and build on that,” advised Colling.

One might think that a successful participant in this sport would be John Daly-like in his build.  Better yet, he might have to carry the build of an NFL lineman to have such power.

Not so.  Colling is built more along the lines of a second baseman:  He stands 5’ 9”, and weighs 160 pounds.

While there are guys nearly twice his size on the tour, Colling is proof that it’s not all about the heft and the muscle.

“You use what God gives you,” he noted.  “You can either swing a club fast or you can’t.”

He continued.  “Flexibility and mechanics are the most important.  You have to optimize the launch physics.”

So, is this a matter of brains over brawn?

Could be.  The good doctor earned his medical degree from Southern Illinois University, before performing his residency at Ohio State University.

As an ophthalmologist, he is capable of performing surgical procedures of the eye.

His wife, Amber, is an optometrist.

He’s all set to open the Harman office in the third week of August.

In the meantime, he’s on the hunt for an a place that can accommodate his monster drives.

“I’m just a mediocre golfer,” he stated.  “I just need a driving range.”