By Andrew Frackowski
Power hitting LPGA player Joanna Klatten is ready to hit the cover off the ball when she returns for the Australian Open at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
Klatten has been the longest driver in the LPGA over the past two seasons with an incredible driving average of 281.3 yards or 256.9 metres in 2016.
To put this in comparison, on the men's PGA Tour, Klatten would be ranked among players like Stuart Appleby (282.2/258mtrs) and Jim Furyk (280.8/256mtrs) with USA star Jordan Spieth averaging only 13 metres further at 295.4 yards or 270mtrs.
The Frenchwoman's long hitting has not come naturally.
Klatten says she was barely above average when she turned pro six years ago but hard work spent in the gym and with coach Randy Smith has assisted her to gain a further 50 yards over the last five years thanks to her solid workout routine which consists of a lot of explosive training.
"I changed my body completely, became way stronger over the years, developing more speed through impact," Klatten told Our Sporting Life SA.
"Also the work I have done on my swing with my coach Randy Smith has helped being more efficient and direct through the ball.
"The secret behind it is a lot of hard work in the gym.
"I am without a doubt one of the hardest workers in that department and I enjoy doing it though.
"I have a very ambitious personality, and when I'm convinced that something might help me reach my goals, I am dedicated to it.
Klatten sees her long driving as a strong advantage as players like world number one Lydia Ko averaged much less (248 yards / 226mtrs) than her in 2016.
"It sure is an advantage, because while other girls will hit long irons into the greens, I generally have a lot of wedge shots, therefore more birdie opportunities,” she explained.
"I also see it as a reward for all the hard work I have put in the gym over the last five years."
The area Klatten is working on now is her putting and she is keen to see some interesting results if things go her way.
"I would like to improve my putting stats by minimum 2 shots per round," she said.
"Which would make a difference of 8 shots each tournament and that could lead to some interesting results!
Klatten spends approximately 30 hours a week of playing and practice together with a further eight hours of gym work and is aiming to finish in the top 25 at Royal Adelaide next week.
The 31-year-old is no stranger to success in Australia, three years ago she took home the NSW Open after scoring an impressive nine under in the last round.
The Paris local says her passion and influence for golf came from Tiger Woods and former coach Paul Galitzine.
"I would say Tiger definitely got me passionate about golf, even though I never met him,: Klatten confirmed.
“I was just very inspired by his work ethic.
"There is also my old coach, Paul Galitzine, who coached me from the age of eight until I was 23.
“He makes golf simple and fun, and I owe him my passion for it."
Klatten disclosed that when she is not on the course she loves to cook and has been to see Beethoven in Paris on every one of his concerts in Paris and while on tour will often take time to go for a hike.
"I'm a big foodie and I've recently got very passionate about cooking.
"I am also a big Beethoven fan. I have seen each and every one of his symphonies in concerts in Paris.
"I am also big on hiking so wherever I travel for my tournaments, I usually look up to see if there are any cool hikes."
Klatten says when she arrives in Adelaide is find a nice cup of coffee as she believes the best coffee comes from Australia!
"I'm a big coffee drinker and the best coffee in the world is made in Australia," Klatten said.
"So the first thing im going to do when I get there is get my cup of coffee."
Images- Joanna Klatten