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Mesquite and the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ken2v, Oct 26, 2004.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    My Trip Report

    Truth in advertising: this short TR first appeared at LVA.


    Terri and I were in Mesquite over the weekend. We ventured to the Little Town That Could for an article I’m writing about the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.

    I played in a media event on Friday, and the experience confirmed to me that golf writers, though I’m more of a generalist than a “golf†writer, are as representative as the golfing public in general, meaning some scribes are very accomplished, some are horribly ill-suited to the game and most of us wallow around the middle where every birdie-par-par three-hole string has a sibling known as snowman-dub-bogey.

    Anywho … our three-man scramble team posted a not totally ugly 63 after having gone half the round burning the cup with our first three putts and forgetting that as a threesome we had one extra putt/hole. Duh. And as we were all there for the gorilla golf tourney, a long-drive participant was on each hole (‘cept the three-strokers) to knock a hunk of surlyn to Fremont Street. Holy s***. Now there were a few holes where my trusty Titleist 983K allowed me to do what turned out to be a very short-lived take-that strut when the pro coolly aired me out by 100 yards or so. And there was even one guy hitting 3-iron for us because the par 4 was “only†315 yards long. However, as often as not we played one of our am drives because while 400 yards is cool, so is playing from the correct golf course. (One highly notable exception was the par 5 where Mr. Long-and-Not-Wrong left us 70 yards for our approach … and, yes, we got it w/i 15 feet and I made the eagle putt.)

    We played at Oasis Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer track that is only partially marred by the presence of encroaching houses and a routing that at times suffers because, well, housing pays the freight. But overall it is a commendable play and I’d return. In fact, I’m thinking about suggesting that the annual guys golf junket be held in Mesquite next year. The resorts aren’t exactly Green Valley Ranch-esque, but I think we’d survive just fine at either Casablanca, the only true “resort†there, or Eureka, where the tourney organizers had the press sequestered. (I don’t have a lot of good things to say about the Oasis Hotel and Casino, the latter part of which looked disturbingly like a wannabe Stardust-Peppermill cross mongrelized with something with the spit-polish, dimensions and air quality of the Fremont. And a trusted friend previously warned us against gracing the Virgin River with our likenesses.) We found a good Mex restaurant and a coffee joint for espresso and bagels, but it certainly wasn’t a food trip. Each of the casinos had the requisite steak/gourmet room, and at least on appearance, Eureka’s would get my business.

    Anywho … I’m not at all a short hitter and I have two friends who can really send a ball down range, but nothing prepared me for the sight and sound of the Olympics of long driving. The first woman I saw hit in a prelim drove it 280-plus. At least two guys went four large in prelims and the winning shot was a measly 377 yards … and the finals were held at night, in decidedly cool and heavy air on a range drenched all week by rain meaning the winning lunge carried 370+ yards. But what I liked best is that the event wasn’t cloaked in the funereal solemnity the PGA Tour foists upon its events. The players were approachable, music blared from speakers during all but the last competitive rounds and the prelim hitting takes place side-by-side, there’s a shot clock, people in the stands screamed and stomped their feet, and most of the competitors asked for more. Forget the Olympics reference, this is the X Games. For some large number of hours over two days I watched people do nothing but savage golf balls – no course management, no anguish over lay-up, wedge and putter versus going for it, no tantrums if someone dropped a handkerchief while a player was thinking about preparing to decide what club to hit and no ass***** named Steve Williams taking away peoples’ cameras – and I never tired of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of “regular†tourney golf, but this was such a refreshing, unpretentious change. And even if I don’t cover it again next year I’m going back.

    We took the long route home yesterday, through Logandale and Overton, and around the lake. Terri had never been to Valley of Fire so we popped in there for several hours. Terri was floored by the scenery but we both were surprised at the limited hiking options. We're not explorers by any sense of the word -- my waistline proves that -- but one of the things we like about Red Rock is that there are many options if you want other than to go orienteering on your own or the obligatory one-mile out-back path that's as busy as the Santa Monica Freeway. After getting back to “civilization†we hit Barley’s in Henderson for the first time, and then the mandatory stop at the Primm outlets.

    Oh … this is a gambling-oriented Web site: We played a bit of FP Jacks each night – and Terri put in a four-hour session at Casablanca while I was at the finals – were promptly served all the real Michelob and Ketel we wanted and game out exactly $145 ahead.

    P.S. The late-night view back toward Vegas from the n/b 15 was as spectacular as any manmade sight I’ve ever seen.
     
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Hunter couldn't have put it better. Although the rest of the text would've been more surreal.

    No names? C'mon, we need some names. Hank Kuehne (sp?) is a given. Or can't you tell until the story's published?

    The woods are full of long hitters.
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Thanks for the props. No great trade secrets here, but what there is of it you can read in the May/June issue of Nevada Magazine.

    David Mobley won the open division. Never heard of him? He's something like the second-ranked long-driver on tour and now the world champ; you'll not have ever seen him on the leader board at, say, the BC Open, however. Tour? Yes, the Long Drivers of America, a several-year-old, multi-event tour where players do nothing but crush little white orbs. And the "final" has been held for a lot more years, moving all around 'til it settled on Mesquite a while back.

    In the early days of organized, money-paying (such as it was/is) long-drive competitions tour players fairly routinely participated, and some even won what was then a once-a-year event. It's become too specialized now -- and still underfunded -- for regular tour players to participate (or risk it), largely because the equipment and mindset aren't really conducive to golf. Don't get me wrong, lotsa one-time and still-aspiring guys play the LDA Tour, and there are lotsa + handicaps out there. But post-200 mph initial velocities coming off driver heads manufactured by mostly Alpha and Bang and SMT and Ashton with 5- and 6-degree lofts and powered by extra long, trip-to-quad-extra-stiff shafts isn't conducive to finding USGA or PGA fairways.

    But fun to watch? Without a doubt. Real golfers? Yes. Could the likes of Kuehne or Daly compete? Indeed. But there's no guarantee they'd make the finals, let alone win.

    [ October 28, 2004, 07:35 AM: Message edited by: ken2v ]
     
  4. sin

    sin VIP Whale

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    ken, sounds like you had a good time. I understood about 2% of your report, but it appeared that you enjoyed yourselves! Thanks for writing it up. I guess I need to get a book or something to figure out your reports-and Terry's too! Ah my horizons are expanding!
     
  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Don't sweat it, sin. Every hobby (obsession) has its lingo, and most's rather silly. You picked up that we had fun and that's what's important.
     
  6. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    From one golf fan to another -- that was a sweet report. How did Zuback do??

    Dave
     
  7. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Thanks. Zuback didn't make it out of the semis.
     
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