Mexico City, Mexico
Club de Golf Mexico was opened in 1949 by the Mexican President at the time, Miguel Aleman. One of the two designers of the course was six-time Mexican Amateur champion, Percy Clifford. I traveled to Mexico for the first time while playing PGA Tour Latin America in 2013. My stop at Club de Golf Mexico for the Mexican Open was the first event on the yearlong schedule.
Mexico City is 7,350 feet above sea level and was my second time playing at significant elevation, the first time over 7,000 feet. The difference at elevation is how far the ball travels, approximately 3 yards further per 100 yards for every 1,500 feet of elevation. In Mexico City this equates to roughly 15 more yards for every 100, enough to inflate the ego!
The golf course is a beautiful old design measuring around 7,200 yards from the championship tees and carries a par of 72. When you factor in elevation, the course plays very short. The equivalent of 6,120 yards at sea level. I know what you are all thinking. How can a course barely over 6,000 yards pose any level of difficulty? Let me paint the picture. Almost every hole is guarded by towering pine trees which pinch tightly on both sides, often feeling as though they’re hanging over your head as you attempt to thread your drive down the fairway. I had never felt claustrophobia on a golf course until I stepped on the tee at the par 5, 5th. There are two trees in particular which protrude out further than the others about 75-100 yards from the tee box. Little more than 10 yards or so separates the limbs from side to side. I remember during Monday’s first practice round thinking I’d better tee it down and commit, otherwise we could rack up a number here! There are one or two holes offering some forgiveness from the tee and many are not as claustrophobic as the 5th. The course offers a variety of doglegs and well positioned fairway bunkering which puts a premium on strategy from the tee. The rough is thick and most of the greens are well guarded by bunkers which further exacerbates the golfer’s position if they don’t find the fairway from the tee. The greens are poa annua which often gets bumpy, particularly late in the day as the grass grows rapidly throughout the day. I recall the greens being extremely firm and fast that week, making putting particularly difficult. The champion was Ted Purdy, a former PGA Tour winner, carding a -7, four round total of 281, proving how challenging the course is for what is essentially very short.
The course has hosted numerous Mexican Open golf championships throughout the years and also hosted the LPGA’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November 2014. I would enjoy an opportunity to play this course again. However, I don’t know the likelihood I will return to Mexico City. One to tick off your list if you make it there.