The Results from the 2010 District 8 Regional Long Drive Championship – couldn’t be any better!
Come along with me as I travel to Mesquite, NV to compete in the Regional Long Drive Championship.
The Regionals are where the winners from all the local long drive qualifying tournaments go to battle it out for just 4 invitations to the World Championships.
Here is my video log. I flew into Las Vegas, rented a car, and drove an hour north to Mesquite. Can you say hot? It was 114 degrees in Las Vegas. We teed it up the next morning at 7:00 am to avoid the worst of the heat, and hit until about 10:30.
For those of you who don’t know about long drive tournaments, here’s a brief summary.
Each golfer hits a set of 6 golf balls from the tee, and they have to hit within a time limit of 2 minutes 45 seconds. The balls have to land in the grid and stay in the grid to count. The grid is 50 yards wide and 450 yards long. The longest ball of your set, including carry and roll-out, is your drive for that set. The tournament is a double-elimination format. The field is randomly divided into six brackets with 8 competitors in each bracket. Half the bracket – the top 4 longest hitters – advance to the next winners bracket. The other half fall to the consolation bracket. Each time you go through a bracket the field is reduced by 50% until you get to the final 4 competitors. The top two in the finals are the winners and get an automatic bid to the World Championships.
My goal in this competition was to earn one of those invitations to the Worlds. I knew it would be a challenge.
As you can tell from the video it was somewhat nerve-wracking to slug it out through the brackets. We had a nasty cross-wind that developed throughout the morning. If you hit a ball with any slice side-spin the wind carried your ball right out of the grid.
I stayed very focused throughout the tournament. Because my shoulder had been bothering me a large part of my preparation was working on my pre-shot routine and my timing.
The practice paid off. I was pretty nervous in my first set, but I managed to hit a 352 yard drive. Good enough to win my bracket and move me into the next round winners bracket.
I continued to hit well, and found a groove on the tee. In my next few brackets I hit 5 of 6 in the grid and won each bracket, moving me up through the winners brackets.
In the 5th bracket I hit 378, which advanced me to the finals in the 7th bracket.
When it got down to the final 4 I was really happy to be part of the action, but I was also feeling the pressure. I really wanted one of those invitations to the Worlds!
The worst part was waiting for the results. All 4 of the finalists were on the tee hitting at the same time. There was no way to tell how you stood relative to anybody else until all the balls were located and tagged in the grid after the final set was over. It’s a pretty anxious few minutes, and I think you can hear the relief in my voice when I saw the final results.
I hit my best ball of the day – 385 yards – and wound up winning the Regional Championship! Exceeded my own expectations.
I can’t tell you how exciting it was to get back in the winner’s circle, and to earn my spot at the Worlds!
Now I have until the end of October to continue to prepare and recuperate. I’ll be posting more of my journey to the Worlds as I go (including a visit to the doctor’s office to have my shoulder looked at). But this win against some very good competition is going to send me to the Worlds feeling really positive and optimistic.
See you down the fairway!