Posted On: Monday, September 4, 2017
By Nate Clingersmith
Head Golf Professional,
The Golf Club at Lora Bay
"The grid is clear, play away" and just like that I had my first ball teed up on the big stage!
In my first round, I had a little bit of a rookie experience and didn't account for the astro turf hitting deck that only allows your tee in so far. I tee my ball much lower than most of the long drive guys, where 4 inches is the max tee length you can have. I only tee mine up to 2 3/4 inches but this deck made my tees nearly an inch longer, which certainly threw me off.
After that "rookie mistake", I quickly borrowed some wire cutters from a competitor between rounds (who clearly learned the same lesson I did) and began trimming tees down to the length I needed.
My next 4 rounds I felt like I hit the ball great with more than 50% of my shots in the grid, which for long drivers, isn't the norm.
While I didn't finish with high points in my round robin play, I performed a lot better than the standings show. Many of my rounds when I finished 3rd or 4th in the heat, would've won the heat before or after it - just luck of the draw.
As I said before, I wanted my first experience at the World Long Drive Championships to be against the best, and I got that. In my group was World #1 Maurice Allen, World #12 Glenn Wilson Jr., World #13 Jason Eslinger and World #24 Steve Monroe.
In my rounds against these hitters, I was close to or leading early in the sets and got beat more than once by their 7th or 8th ball...which we know I have done to others in order to get here in the first place.
While my competing for the week is over, I will be staying to cheer on some friends (Canadians) that I have made who are in to the match play rounds starting tomorrow. Be sure to watch the live telecast on Golf Channel on Tuesday for the round of 16 and on Wednesday for the finals. These guys are athletes in every sense of the word and will put on a great show.
I want to thank everyone for your love, support and generosity to make this possible. I love to compete and will continue to do so, hopefully on this stage many more times.