World Long Drive Association Kicks Off 2019 Season with "Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun"
Ak-Chin Indian Community To Host World’s Longest Drivers April 13-16
Maricopa, Ariz. (March 4, 2019) – For the second straight year, the Ak-Chin Indian Community has partnered with the World Long Drive Association (WLDA) to host the “Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun.” The Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun will take place Saturday-Tuesday, April 13-16 adjacent to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino on a natural grass golf range (with stadium seating). The culmination of the event will be televised live on Golf Channel on Tuesday, April 16, featuring the Open (men’s) and Women’s Divisions as they crown respective champions.
The event will feature a 54-man field competing in the Open Division based on World Long Drive rankings, along with a Women’s Division field of 16 competitors. Qualifying rounds will narrow the field to eight men and four women advancing to take part in the televised portion of the competition on Golf Channel. As part of the WLDA tour event festivities, there will be two-days of open qualifying on Friday-Saturday, April 12-13. Also on Saturday afternoon, the World Long Drive Masters Division (age 45+) competition will be staged following open qualifying earlier in the day. Canadian Jeff Gavin claimed the Masters title at Ak-Chin in 2018.
In 2018, Phillis Meti of Auckland, New Zealand and Will Hogue of Memphis, Tenn. claimed the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun women’s and men’s division titles, respectively. In the Women’s Division final, Meti blasted her seventh ball 380 yards to outmatch the 351-yard drive of then reigning Volvik World Long Drive champion Sandra Carlborg of Alingsas, Sweden. On the men’s side, Hogue took advantage of a 421-yard drive on his second ball to win his second title in three weeks, after he claimed the Clash in the Canyon in Nevada in April 2018.
The Ak-Chin Indian Community is located adjacent to Maricopa, Ariz., a half hour from Phoenix-Sky Harbor Airport. Enterprises that make up the Ak-Chin Indian Community destination include Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Ultra Star Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle and the Troon Golf-managed Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club is ranked as one of the Top 100 courses in the country by Golfweek and Golf Magazine.
"The Ak-Chin Indian Community is proud to once again host the longest hitters in the world and welcome Golf Channel back to Maricopa, Arizona," said Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Robert Miguel. "The 2018 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun was a tremendous success in attracting people to our Community where they enjoyed Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle and Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club."
For more information on the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun, visit www.akchinsoutherndunes.com/WLD/.
ABOUT WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION
Originating in 1976, the World Long Drive Association is an organization that brings together golf’s longest hitters from around the globe. Emerging as one of golf’s most popular grass roots competitions, World Long Drive was named a finalist at the 2018 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in the League of the Year for a Breakthrough Sport and Live Coverage of a Breakthrough Sport categories. The broader sports industry also has taken notice, including ESPN proclaiming that long drive has “recently started to enter the mainstream of golf;” Men’s Journal noting “with the sport’s ascendant profile and ever-growing prestige,” fans should “buckle up for more high-octane action;” Golf Digest saying the World Long Drive is “on the upswing, gaining traction;” and Golf.com claiming it as “an eye-opening experience”. Sanctioned WLD events are open to amateur and professional golfers. The 2019 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, from WinStar World Casino and Resort on the Texas / Oklahoma border, where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel. In 2018, 8.3 million unique viewers watched at least some portion of World Long Drive events (live and replay), +23% year-over-year, and the most-viewed season of World Long Drive on-record according to data released by The Nielsen Company.
ABOUT THE AK-CHIN INDIAN COMMUNITY
The Ak-Chin Indian Community is nestled into the Santa Cruz Valley of Southern Arizona. The Community lies 35 miles south of Phoenix in the northwestern part of Pinal County. Ak-Chin is an O'odham word translated to mean "mouth of the wash" or "place where the wash loses itself in the sand or ground.” Ak-Chin has an enrollment of more than 1,092 tribal members and a land base of just over 22,000 acres. The Ak-Chin Indian Community has a variety of business enterprises including Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle and Santa Cruz Commerce Center. For more information, visit www.ak-chin.nsn.us