For those tuning in to the WGC Mexico Championship this week, there will be countless mentions regarding the course elevation as well as the influence it has on the distance players are seeing their golf balls travel. Located less than 10 miles from downtown Mexico City, Club de Golf Chapultepec was built in 1921. It was designed by 1899 U.S. Open winner Willie Smith, who started work on the design during the Mexican Revolution. Please take note of the dates, as it would appear this particular course has some how managed not to become obsolete!
According to Shotlink mapping data, the lowest part of the course is 7,603 feet above sea level and the highest part of the course is 7,835 feet above sea level. By comparison, Montreux G&CC, venue for the PGA TOUR’s Barracuda Championship in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada, is in the range of 5,476 – 5,952 above sea level.
Last season, Club de Golf Chapultepec ranked as the longest driving distance off the tee when using a driver (317.47) and fairway wood (292.08), according to Shotlink. Last season, leader the field in driver distance off the tee at Club de Golf Chapultepec, averaging 350.34 yards. Justin Thomas (Titleist) led all players off the when using a fairway wood, averaging 333.52 yards from the tee.
So while the topic of distance is still somewhat fresh in some minds, its important to understand that there are other factors that come into the equation. Players are very aware of this and will attempt to take full advantage in order to produce the best results. “If the ball's in the air longer, it's going further. So guys who can launch the ball higher making the most of the available altitude to give them that extra distance,” he said. “So I think that's probably more so than a long hitter. I think a high ball hitter. It's very strategic, there's a lot of wedges in hand for most of the field.
So...."It depends on the ball flight. If you can control the launch, you can get really similar distance. If you're hitting too high or too low, you will add or lose some distance, which is the key for this golf course especially" one player commented in advance of the tournament.
So distance will be a factor this week.
Enjoy watching long balls as you watch the broadcast but also keep in mind that launch angle is as important as other factors when you are being fit for a new driver or just evaluating your current setup! Another reason to be fit for your equipment...whether you are at the WGC this week or your home course.