Top golf competitors came to the Ak-Chin Indian Community in May for the first-ever World Long Drive Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun event. Crowds of spectators also came to view the event.
World Long Drive (WLD) contests bring golfers from around the country and the world, all trying their best to hit the golf ball as far and as straight as possible. “It’s like the home run derby for golf,” said Brady Wilson, general manager for Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, according to The Ak-Chin O’odham Runner newspaper. The World Long Drive is now one of three nationally televised golf events in Arizona along with the Champions Tour events and the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Each WLD contestant paid $40 each and had eight swings to show his/her ability in the preliminary rounds, which sold out both days. The competition began Friday, May 11 with the Open Division preliminary and final qualifying, which continued into Saturday. Saturday also hosted the Masters Division preliminary, semifinals, and finals. The Finals, held on Tuesday, were televised live on Golf Channel. This was the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s first nationally televised event according to The Ak-Chin O’odham Runner newspaper.
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes hosted a Pro-Am golf tournament Tuesday morning, and back at Ak-Chin Circle Field, the Women’s Division preliminary and qualifying rounds were held, with the competition ultimately featuring 32 male and 16 female contestants. This year’s male winner was Will Hogue, a firefighter from Memphis, Tennessee, and the female winner was Phillis Meti from Auckland, New Zealand.
This event was hosted at the Ak-Chin Circle Field next to the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle on a natural grass grid specifically designed for the event. The Ak-Chin Indian Community has committed, along with Golf Channel, to host the World Long Drive tour event next year as well. If you missed this year’s event, make sure to come out and experience the excitement in 2019!
Photos courtesy of the Ak-Chin O'odham Runner Newspaper