Mikey Jarrell went 400 yards in the final round to win the 2019 Latino Americano Championship February 16th (2019) at Club De Golf La Hacienda in Mexico City, Mexico. He did it by conquering the grid, and in the process took out all the contenders including Luis Munose De Cote, who also put up great numbers in his final set.
I’ve never competed in long drive, but I did race motor cycles and cars for a number of years. That probably doesn’t sound like a good comparison at first, but in auto racing I maintained a career winning percentage of 25%. We actually won 15 of 22 races in my final year. I attribute that success on the racetrack to a mentor (Paul Lewis) who taught me to race the track, and not the other competitors. In the heat of competition, the mental part is the toughest in any sport. I think maintaining focus in a long drive competition may be tougher than in racing. There’s a lot more time to think about what’s happening. That’s usually not a good thing.
Club De Golf La hacienda
The Club De Golf La Hacienda in Mexico City was host to the 2019 Latino Americano Championship. The facility and hospitality were world class. The members, staff, and tournament team made the the experience unforgettable. We hope we’re invited back! It was an amazing experience for our team!
The grid (albeit a gorgeous setting) proved to be a challenge for the majority of the field. The unique (dogleg left) shape was not just a mind-twister, there were very narrow “slots” for longer drives of all shapes. The effective width of an already (fairly) narrow grid, was further decreased due to the shape of the (#18) hole being used. The leftward bend (at approximately 325 yards at the dogleg transition) creates a short right side, and the trees on the left side are an obstruction to balls flown directly over them at less than 340 yards of carry. The short right side and trees on the left side created an extremely narrow tunnel for longer drives. The grid seemed to get into the heads of “almost” everyone.
I’m not sure what the actual percentage of balls hit into the grid were for Mikey Jarrell. I think 30% may be a little high, but he made the important ones count. Perhaps the most famous words in long drive are “it only takes one.” He went on record early (on the first day) with the longest drive at 390+ yards. Mikey backed it up the second day by being longest, and won on day three over Luis Munose De Cote with a drive of 400 yards. He was consistently long when it counted.
The Slot And The Margin For Error
Long drivers often describe “the slot” when referencing a particular area of a grid where length can be maximized. To get an idea of just how narrow the slots / tunnels were, compare the relationship between the examples on the image below. Look at the potential margin of error for the two cut examples. Then compare the relationship between the two straight-ball examples…as well as the comparison between the draw examples. No matter which shape a competitor favored, the margin for error was small. The right side of the grid could only be challenged with a draw. Hitting toward the right without a draw meant going O.B.. Many well-hit cuts were blocked by the trees on the left side and fell short. A cut that started inside the tree line was usually headed O.B. right. Although the grid was beyond 40 yards wide in areas, we estimated the effective width of the grid to be less than 30 yards due the shape. But, the margin for error with each shape is probably closer to 10 yards….maybe less except for the draw. The tournament team carried the boundaries past the tree line to maximize width for roll-out, but the path to 400 was narrow….and found only by Mikey Jarrell at exactly 400 and 2017 World Long Drive Masters Champion, Jeff Crittenden at 406. Jeff said, he thought there might have been a 425+ shot out there with the current conditions, but it meant hitting a perfectly shaped shot with a lot of carry.
Back to Focus
I think Mikey Jarrell exhibited the most important talent in long drive…..focus. That focus allowed him to beat the grid, and take out another REALLY long contender in Luis De Cote in the process. Well done, Mikey! Every competitor at this tournament learned from he experience, and will be working on their shortfalls. I’m sure everyone of them is looking forward another shot at at the grid at Club De Golf La Hacienda!