If you would have told Raman Bawa that he would be competing with 150 of the world’s longest hitters at the RE/MAX Long Drive Championships, he would have called you everything but sane. But that’s exactly where the Kelley graduate accounting student found himself on September 23 in Mesquite, Nevada.
After playing golf for Richmond High School, Bawa tried joining the IU men’s golf team in Bloomington. Subsequently, he learned the coach wasn’t accepting walk-ons. Disappointed but not defeated, he signed up for his first Long Drive event.
“My only exposure to Long Drive was on television,” said Bawa. “I went into this entire competition blindly, not even imagining I would be a regional qualifier.”
The sport of Long Drive uses only a driver and six golf balls. The competitor is allotted two minutes and 45 seconds to hit each ball as far as he can, all in a double elimination format. Bawa’s first experience was a blur, as he only had about a month to train for the regional event.
After this experience, Bawa plans to spend more time in the gym, as hitting a golf ball as far as possible can be physically demanding. When he’s not on the golf course or driving range, Bawa is studying at Kelley Indianapolis to receive his Master of Science in Accounting. He plans to start his own business but, first, hopes to obtain a position in a public or private accounting firm to learn the ropes of accounting firsthand.
“I decided to attend the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis because of its national reputation. Indianapolis is a great city to learn and work in, so I knew my opportunities here would be endless,” said Bawa, whose undergraduate work included finance and entrepreneurship.
Bawa emphasized that it takes a lot of self-discipline and time management skills to balance school and sports.
“Believe in yourself,” said Bawa. “I never thought I would be competing with the world’s greatest Long Drivers, yet I made it to the third round of the world championships.”
The RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship Open Division Final Event will take place on October 30, from 6-8 p.m. at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The finals will be aired live on the Golf Channel with a winner-take-all prize of $250,000. To watch Bawa and the other Long Drivers, tune into the Golf Channel for “Long Drive Month” starting October 9.