SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — The PGA’s return to competition after a three month hiatus was a welcomed oasis for many parched by the lack of sports in the middle of the pandemic. But while the elites of professional golf have returned to work, many on the sport’s fringes are still in a holding pattern.

Monica Borowicz would have been in the middle of her season with the World Long Drive tour, but all events were cancelled for the remainder of the year. Instead Borowicz is biding her time at Bennett Valley Golf Course in Santa Rosa — peppering the extreme outer limits of the driving range.

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The sound of the ball meeting her club face will stop you in your tracks. She whips the driver over 100 miles per hour, generating over 300 yards of carry. Her longest drive in competition was 369 yards at altitude in 2017.

“I did that?” she recalls saying to herself in disbelief after one of her first swings as a professional. “I can compete with some of the longest women long drivers in the world.”

For comparison, the longest hitter on the PGA Tour is Bryson DeChambeau who bombs it 323 yards on average.

World Long Drive events are like made-for-TV “heart pounding” rock concerts compared to traditional golf tournaments. Fans in the crowd are encouraged to make as much noise as possible. The more adrenaline the better for players trying to smash a golf ball beyond human limits.

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“I didn’t realize it was a sport for the longest time,” Borowicz laughed. “People think it’s just about hitting the ball as hard as you can, but the mechanics are important too.”

She credits 6-7 days a week of core and leg strengthening and the three days a week on the range making sure the swing is dialed. The difference of a yard or two could be the difference of winning and losing.

Tennis was Borowicz’s game at Santa Rosa’s Montgomery High School until she transitioned to golf at Sonoma State. Swinging a racquet and a club she says is a, “God given talent.”

Even though more competitions are now shown on television, almost all players have day jobs. Borowizc is a bookkeeper in Sonoma County and just recently earned her Master’s degree. Like everyone trying to make a career out of sports, the uncertainty of the pandemic has cast some doubt on her future.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “Hopefully it picks up where it left off.”

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