Mount Airy golfer Justin Young heads for Nevada Saturday to compete in his second ReMax World Long Drive Championship.
The senior divisions already have begun their early rounds, with the regular age division kicking off on Monday.
Young, who finished sixth in the world last year, won’t tee up until Wednesday.
Young said he didn’t want to deal with any jetlag issues, so he is going out early and spending a couple of days getting acclimated to the time zone and local weather in Mesquite, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
The competitors have access to a nearby golf course’s driving range, so Young said he would hit a few balls on Monday and Tuesday, but maybe not at full strength. He said he doesn’t want to risk pulling a muscle before the tournament begins.
The former North Surry and SCC golfer said he will take about 10 drivers with him.
When he signs in on Sunday, the clubs will be inspected to make sure they are legal.
The organizers will even do a compression check to make sure he isn’t trying to sneak in a club that has too much spring in the club face.
The drivers don’t hold up long under the intense stress of long driving, he noted, so he figures some of his clubs, maybe even half, won’t pass inspection.
A year ago, Young finished fourth in a regional long-drive event in Tennessee to earn his way into the world championship.
His high finish last October ensured Young a spot in this month’s event. Still, he didn’t rest on his laurels and won a regional event in Georgia earlier this year.
Young blasted a tee shot 396 yards to win the 2013 Dixie Classic Long Drive Championship.
The competition next week is set up with athletes divided into pods. The top half of competitors in each pairing will advance while the lower half goes home. This is done step by step until just eight players remain.
This year, the championship round won’t be held for another month.
The final eight will compete at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct. 30 with live broadcast on the Golf Channel. The players will tee off from a specially built spot in the grandstands, with the balls landing in a marked off grid in the grass infield.
The winner gets a $250,000 prize.
One factor that Young felt last year was the changing weather conditions in Nevada. The wind could be blowing at the player’s back in one round, then shift and be blowing in his face for the next round.
“That’s just golf, dealing with adversity,” he said. “Otherwise, we’d do indoor long drive instead of outdoor.”
The rounds leading up to the final eight will be broadcast on the Golf Channel beginning Oct. 9, leading up to the finals at the end of the month.