Being 6’3” tall and 200-pounds, and having played beach volleyball in the 1970s and 1980’ against some of the greats of that sport down at the Santa Monica and Venice beaches in Southern California, Mike Hooper definitely had the physical tools to compete in long drive, and…
As far as his golf expertise was concerned, Mike had played golf at Palisades High School in Brentwood, CA and followed that at Santa Monica Junior College where he played with two golfers who later became PGA Tour pros… Mac O’Grady, who won twice on the PGA Tour along with Barry Jaeckel who won the French Open.
When Mike decided to try his hand at long drive in 1989, other than having to give away 40-to-50 pounds to many of the giant competitors in the sport, Mike also was somewhat handicapped by the fact that at forty years of age, he was a good fifteen to twenty years older than most of the other top competitors who were still in the prime of their youth.
Mike preferred a long shaft; however, most of the graphite shafts were way too whippy for him, so he hooked up with the EASTON baseball bat company who offered a 54” shaft with an aluminum inner core, which proved to have the rigidity that Mike was looking for, and they had the added benefit that Mike could sell the extra shafts out of the trunk of his car and get some extra milk money on the side.
A door opened for Mike in 1996 when the Long Drivers of America announced that they were going to have a Masters Division for the older competitors.
Mike busted that door down in short order. He won the inaugural Masters Championship in 1996 at the Las Vegas Hilton Golf Course, and the next year he traveled up the road to Mesquite, Nevada where he repeated at the Casablanca Resort and Casino in 1997.
1998 provided yet another venue, the Palms Golf Club in Mesquite; however, even with the better flatter grid the results were the same as Mike got the three-peat, a remarkable feat that no one else has even come close to in the Masters/Seniors Division during the following twenty-five years.
In 2002 Mike was honored by being inducted into the LDA’s Hall of Fame.
2002 Mike was honored by being inducted into the LDA’s Hall of Fame
Masters Championship in 1998 Winner
Masters Championship in 1997 Winner
Masters Championship in 1996 Winner