Have you ever hit a 190-yard 7-iron?
How about a 400-yard drive?
Want to hit the longest shots of your life...without changing anything about your swing?
The trick isn't how you play, but where you play.
For example, did you catch any of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this past weekend?
It's one of my favorite non-major tournaments of the year to watch for two reasons:
One, the course and scenery are just awesome (seriously, you need to put the Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw-designed Plantation Course at Kapalua on your golf bucket list).
And two, you get to see some of the crazy-longest tee shots on Tour all year.
(For example, Bubba Watson hit one 411 yards.)
Every golfer, no matter their ability, loves to hit the ball looooooong -- and I think that's one reasons why the pros dig Kapalua.
(Okay, the Hawaiian weather and scenery probably don't hurt, either.)
And if you're the same way, why not consider taking your next golf vacation somewhere where you can really let the big dog eat, too?
(Not to brag, but I've hit a tee shot 432 yards before.)
Here are three things that will get you hitting the longest drives of your life on your next golf vacation:
1) Firm, Fast Conditions
If you've seen the move "Tin Cup," you probably recall the scene where Roy McAvoy, played by Kevin Costner, loses a longest-7-iron challenge to antagonist David Simms. Simms outwitted McAvoy by taking advantage of some firm, fast conditions...
Now, there aren't any golf courses I know of with asphalt fairways, but there are some that come pretty darn close. Many of them can be found by the sea, particularly in Great Britain and Ireland. During the Scottish Open a few years ago, Rory McIlroy unleashed a 436-yard tee shot on one hole, taking advantage of the firm fairways and a little helping wind.
If you want to produce some tape-measure tee shots of your own, head for the Isles and anywhere else taut turf is found.
Watch tee shots bounce and roll forever at: Most every links course in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland; Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Oregon); Streamsong (Florida); Chambers Bay (Washington); Royal Melbourne (Australia)
2) Downhill tee shots
Courses in exceedingly hilly settings are not generally our favorite, since they aren't always laid out on sites that are 100% suitable for golf. But when done right, they can be a lot of fun, in no small part because of thrilling holes that seem to tumble down the sides of mountains. As a rule of thumb, you can expect shots to travel roughly a club farther for every 15 feet of drop.
This massive elevation change is the reason for the gaudy tee shot distances seen every year at Kapalua. For example, the 663-yard, par-5 18th hole plummets more than 160 feet downhill from tee to green. Combine that with the normal wind at the player's back and even short knockers can smack the ball 350-plus yards.
Get massive hang-time on tee shots at: Judge Course at Capitol Hill (Alabama); The Ranch Golf Club (Massachusetts); Wolf Creek Golf Club (Nevada); Devil's Knob Course at Wintergreen Resort (Virginia);
3) Thin air
In 1971, astronaut Alan Sheperd's one-handed swing with a 6-iron sent a golf ball "miles and miles" - later revised down to between 200 and 400 yards - across the surface of the Moon.
There aren't any Earthly golf courses with quite so inflated distances, but there are plenty where your normal 230 yard sea-level tee shots will go 250 yards or more. The Broadmoor, one of our favorite mountain retreats, sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Its three golf courses are great places to air out your tee shots. Just don't be surprised to see some of your approaches bound through the greens.
By the way, if you really want to maximize your distances this way, head to the nine-hole Mt. Massive Golf Course, located in Leadville, about two hours west of Denver. It claims to be the highest-elevated course in North America, at 9,950 feet above sea level. And if you want to venture outside the continent for golf at elevation, La Paz (Bolivia) Country Club is the place to tee it up, at nearly 11,000 feet aloft. You can count on shots flying about 10% farther about 4,000 feet above sea level. As high up as Mt. Massive or La Paz, distance gains could be 30% or more.
Awesome thin-air courses include: Sierra Star Golf Course (California); Telluride Golf Club (Colorado); Linville Golf Club (North Carolina); Raven Golf Club at Snowshoe Mountain (West Virginia)
What are your favorite golf holes and courses for hitting long tee shots? Share with us and read your fellow GVI subscribers' thoughts below!