@BR Ednote:This story has been corrected to show david edwards’ performance was at 5 p.m. thursday.
On a recent golf outing to England, Dan Callaghan watched David Edwards hit golf balls with a fishing rod, a claw hammer and a garden hose.
“Amazing,” Callaghan thought.
Then Edwards asked for a volunteer from the audience, asked that volunteer to lay in the grass, put a golf tee in their mouth, placed a ball on the tee and, “Whack!”
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What comes after amazing?
That’s when Callaghan knew he had to have Edwards make the trip across the Atlantic to perform his array of trick shots at the Callaghan Charity Pro-Am, today through Saturday at River Wilderness Golf and Country Club in Parrish.
“He can hit golf balls in ways you can’t imagine,” Callaghan said.
Edwards will perform at 5 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $25 and include food, live and silent auctions and a chance to meet the 26 senior pros, most of whom traveled to Florida for Callaghan’s yearly event to benefit Golfers Against Cancer.
“It’s all about giving people a little bit of fun,” Edwards said.
He likes to get the crowd involved, hence the trick where he hits a ball perched perilously close to someone’s mouth.
“It’s OK,” Edwards said. “I have a friend who’s a good dentist.”
Hitting off unusually high tees, hitting with oversized club heads, swinging with a club in each hand and hitting golf balls at a dizzying pace, this is not what Edwards envisioned as he grew up idolizing Tony Jacklin, the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S. Open champion who now lives in Bradenton.
“Like every golfer, you come into the sport because you want to be a champion,” Edwards said.
Turns out, he didn’t have the short game to deliver on that dream.
“When the putts didn’t go in the hole, you start looking for other opportunities,” Edwards said.
His first steps as a trick shot artist began when Edwards spent part of his childhood in China. His father was in the army and stationed in Hong Kong. There, Edwards mixed with children of American soldiers, playing among other sports, baseball.
“I realized I had good hand-eye coordination,” Edwards said.
Edwards will display that skill during his “Edward Scissorhands” routine where, while holding a club in each hand, Edwards moves through rows of teed golf balls, hitting each with alternating clubs.
He holds the world record in this trick after once hitting 310 golf balls in three minutes.
It was while living in China when Edwards watched Paul Hahn, a pioneer in the art of golf trick shots, perform some of the same shots Edwards performs these days.
“I never forgot watching him,” Edwards said. “He was amazing.”
Edwards is a member of Musselburgh Old Links Golf Course in Edinburgh, Scotland, which dates back to 1672 and is known for being the oldest golf course in the world.
He started performing trick shot shows in 1991 and made it his full-time job in 1996.
Edwards also does impersonations of some of the PGA Tour’s top golfers.
Being a trick shot artist has taken Edwards nearly around the world. He’s performed near the Great Wall of China and on the deck of the Queen Elizabeth 2.
Last summer Edwards met Tom Watson at a tournament in Japan. The two talked about Watson’s near-win at the British Open and what it meant to a golf pro and golf fan like Edwards.
“Tom said, ‘You guys amaze me with what you can do with a golf ball,’” Edwards said.
“Obviously, Tom hasn’t seen me putt, which is why I do what I do.”