Orange County honors Pine Hills’ Maurice Allen, who can drive a golf ball the length of 4 football fields

Muscular Pine Hills golfer Maurice Allen, who on his best day can drive a ball longer than almost anyone in the world, should have one of his better days Tuesday.

He will be honored by Orange County commissioners with a resolution declaring Tuesday as “Maurice D. Allen Day” in Orange County.

The recognition celebrates Allen’s big personality and prodigious driving prowess, which he demonstrated again in September, winning the Volvik World Long Drive Championship with a punishing blast that flew 393 yards — nearly the length of four football fields.

According to its meeting agenda, Orange County commissioners also will celebrate the 30th-anniversary season of the Orlando Magic.

Allen, 36, is a graduate of Orlando’s Evans High School, where he was an honor roll student and a sprinter — not a golfer. He is a self-made champion both on and off the tee box, said Thomas “TJ” Dorsey, 75, an Orlando dentist and golf mentor who has taught the game to Allen and hundreds of other kids through the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association.

“I honestly think he taught himself how to hit it like that,” Dorsey said. “He works out, has a great work ethic. He’s strengthened his body and…improved golf principles.”

Allen’s father Jessie, interim director of the Orange County Convention Center, introduced him to golf as a preschooler but takes no credit for his son’s feats.

“Even as a little tyke, you could tell he had a talent for hitting it long,” he said.

Maurice Allen is the second-ranked competitor on the grip-it-and-rip-it long-drive tour, which describes itself as an “adrenaline-drenched” international golf spectacle, often shown on the Orlando-based Golf Channel. Champions take home $125,000, a championship belt and bragging rights.

He’s won competitions on five continents, earned a place in the Florida A&M University Hall of Fame and is featured this month in Golf Digest. He was recognized in 2012 as a Guinness World Record holder for launch speed of a golf ball, 211 mph.

“I was just a guy from Pine Hills who wanted to hit the ball far and have a good time,” he said Monday after a charity golf event. “This whole journey has been a lot more than I ever imagined.”

Commissioner Victoria Siplin nominated Allen for the special recognition, pointing out he also earned a biology degree from FAMU, the state’s largest historically black college.

She said he represents achievement through hard work.

“We hear so many negative things about Pine Hills,” said Siplin, whose commission district includes most of the unincorporated community. “But there are good things happening here — like Maurice.”

Powerfully built at 5-foot-8 and about 230 pounds, Allen launched himself up the tour’s leader board while becoming a fan favorite for his loud clothes and victory celebrations.

He wowed spectators, fellow competitors and a Golf Channel TV audience after his most recent championship by busting out an imitation of flamboyant pro wrestler Ric Flair.

Asked if he aspired to take his big swing and personality on the PGA tour, Allen said, “I’m not that good.”

His training regimen nonetheless includes hours of work daily on the golf’s finer points, chipping and putting.

He’s earning invitations to pro-am golf tournaments with celebrities and wants to be sharp to show the long-ball tour is “not just a bunch of guys trying to knock the crap out of the ball.”

Pro golf is more than booming drives as a familiar golf saying is “Drive for show, putt for dough.”

But the PGA tracks drive distances.

In 1997, John Daly became the first golfer to average more than 300 yards per drive.

In 2002, Tiger Woods smashed a 498-yard drive on the 18th hole of a tournament in Hawaii, the longest drive in PGA Tour history recorded by ShotLink, a data service.

In 2018, the entire PGA Tour averaged 295.3 yards off the tee — the longest average ever.

Though he can consistently out-drive some the world’s best golfers by 50 yards or more, the pros are more precise hitters, Allen said.

“They know where their ball’s going,” he joked.

shudak@orlandosentinel.com or 407-650-6361.

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