BIG-HITTING Paul Slater has claimed a new world record for the longest golf drive.

The Bolton Open professional braved torrential rain and gusty winds to fire a drive 720 yards down the runway at London City Airport in an event hosted by the London Golf Show.

It beat the previous best of 696 yards - set recently by Australian Tour pro Stuart Appleby .

The 34-year-old, who lives at Warrington said: "I knew it was right as soon as I hit it. You know when you've hit a good shot; you get the surge going right up through your body. That's what we do it for really."

Slater, the current RE/MAX European Order of Merit holder and 2004 Scottish long drive champion, remained outwardly calm despite all the acclaim from his fellow Long Drivers of Europe competitors and the gathered spectators.

"This is as excited as I get," he smiled. "But I must admit there was a bit of arm waving and shouting soon afterwards."

The secret of his success, the Bolton club pro insisted, was the same as all golfers.

"It's all about practise," he insisted.

But most golfers would not be using the club with which he set the new record.

"I took some loft off the club I was using after the first couple as the ball was losing energy on the runway as it was dropping from a height.

"This club has a 2 degree loft and the stiffest shaft I've ever used. It's an SMT 02 with a 50" Apache shaft. And I owe a lot to Mike Tait, of SMT, who has been the only one who stood by me. Without him I would not have achieved this."