The Year To Forget
2020 marked the fourth ALD World Championship. Pandemic-restricted travel made it a USA-only event, but we are most grateful to have been able to complete the season and the tournament. Having started the season in September 2019, we had a significant number of events completed prior to the lock-down, and managed to find a handful of venues to make up events and get hitters qualified for the Worlds. Be sure to read the ALD Worlds Results HERE.
The Coming Season
Many have asked about the Future of Long Drive and there’s been plenty of news to cause concern. World Long Drive (WLD) suspended operations this year ending 45 years of continuous competition at the professional level, and as of this writing there are still areas where gatherings for competition (or anything else) are not allowed. The passion of long drivers is evident in the fact that organizers around the world are gearing up to get back into action.
We’re adding a new twist to the ALD League competition this year with League Championships. All US territories will attempt their League Championships on the same weekend in July. This new championship format offers yet another opportunity for hitters to get themselves qualified on their way to the ALD Worlds. But, this year, there’s yet another level….the ALD Nationals.
ALD National Championships
Having a USA National Championship has been on the road map since the inception of the ALD Championship Series. 2021 will be the year we implement National Championships in all partnering countries and territories. The USA Nationals will take place at Barefoot Resort & Golf in mid-August 2021 filling the same slot of previous ALD Worlds. The top hitters from all Nationals (including the Latino American Championship) will converge on Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in September 2021.
The 2021 World Championship – Cog Hill Golf & Country Club
Prior to exiting the sport, TGC and World Long Drive entered into an agreement with Cog Hill Golf & Country Club of Chicago to build a world-class long drive grid to host the WLD Worlds. As part of a planned unification effort, WLD and ULD discussed combining World championship at Cog Hill. In August we traveled to Chicago to see the grid progress and to meet with Cog Hill PGA GM, Troy Newport. That meeting and follow-up resulted in Cog Hill agreeing to host the 2021 ALD and XLD World Championships. Those dates are set for September 11 -1 19, 2021.
Latino American Long Drive Championship
The Latino American Long Drive Championship was a COVID casualty for 2020, but Luis Kuronya and the Latino Golf Management Group didn’t flinch. The 2021 event has been scheduled for April 2021 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Ultimate Long Drive, Inc (ULD, our parent) has sanctioned this event and its qualifying competitions as and ALD Global Partnership Event. The event and series involves 23 countries in Latin America and will result in the top hitters transferring to the 2021 ALD World Championship September 11-19, 2021 at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Chicago, Illinois.
Long Drive Japan
Along with expanding US territories this season, ULD will sanction events around the world as part of our Global Partnership initiative. On September 18, 2020, ULD entered into a five year agreement with Long Drive of Japan (LDJ) to sanction the Long Drive Japan Championship. This agreement will result in professionals and amateurs coming to the 2021 ALD and XLD Worlds in Chicago at Cog Hill. An exciting element of this agreement will be the joint effort to grow the sport through amateur participation.
Xtreme Long Drive®
Back in 2019, ULD and WLD entered into a partnership arrangement whereby Xtreme Long Drive® (XLD), ULD’s professional long drive series, would become a feeder for WLD. All involved agreed there needed to be additional competition opportunities for professional long drivers. The WLD Tour wasn’t open for hitters outside their top 54 and getting into the WLD Worlds was a tough road. Since the suspension of WLD operations, ULD has expanded the scope of XLD to fill the void left by WLD. For 2021 XLD will include the 4-major-event World Challenge Series and 15 to 18 global XLD Tour stops.
Keeping the original developmental aspect of XLD in tact, XLD League will include competition opportunities for entry-level-pros that will run in conjunction with ALD League events. These XLD hitters will also have full access to the XLD Tour events throughout the season.
Regardless of the hurdles and challenges of 2020, the future of our sport looks stronger than ever. Our goal is to continue building USA territories and continue adding Global Partners to participate in our World Championship events.
Are you long enough? Click HERE to get your ALD Tour Card and begin your climb to the 2020 ALD Worlds.