Defending champion Jared Brentz of Nashville, Tenn., will lead nearly two dozen of the top disabled long ball golfers in North America on May 9, at the Mesquite NV ParaLong Drive Nationals. The event, held at the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex, will feature a new division for paralyzed golfers hitting from a specially-made mobile cart that allows them to “stand up” to swing.
“This is our second event at the “Home of Long Drive in Mesquite and we are pleased to announce the addition of a new division for paralyzed hitters in Paramobile carts,” said Dean Jarvis, founder of the Amputee Long Drive Championship. “We have some incredible long drivers in this division including a former professional golfer.”
The paralyzed hitters are led by Anthony Netto, a former professional golfer who lived in South Africa when a drunk driver left him paralyzed at the age of 32. Netto, looking for a way to play golf again, helped in the design the “Paramobile” carts that enables him and other paralyzed golfers to play. Netto, who is also the founder of the “Stand Up and Play” Foundation, joins Tom Maneely (USMC), Kevin O’Donnell and Jim Siegfried in the Paramobile division.
In addition to paralyzed hitters, Jarvis said there are ParaLong drivers in amputee divisions for arm assisted and unassisted and leg below-the-knee and above-the-knee and multiple amputee categories. Jarvis said the hitters qualified through various disabled golf organizations and represent some of the best in the U.S. and Canada. Next Oct. 16-17, the Mesquite NV ParaLong Drive Worlds will have disabled hitters from Europe and Pacific countries.
The first ParaLong Drive event was held last Oct. 29 when Brentz won the first overall championship with a 358-yard drive. Brentz went up against Brandon Jacks, of Prescott Valley, Ariz., in the final overall match play championship. Jacks finished with a long of 344 yards.
The top arm hitters include PGA professional instructor and defending arm champion Brad Clayton, amputee golf champions Alan Gentry and John Trenchick, and surgeon Dr. Lucian Newman III.
“What makes Mesquite the number one site to host this event is the dedicated volunteers, with many who have volunteered for the World Long Drive Championships for more than a decade,” said Bryan Dangerfield, Mesquite Athletics & Leisure Services Director. “Of course, you couldn’t host the best Long Drivers without the world’s best Long Drive facility–the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex.”
Dangerfield says the Complex, which doubles as soccer, football, rugby and lacrosse fields; was built in 2008 especially for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships. The driving ranges and converted Par 5 holes weren’t long enough as hitters kept going farther each year. The Grid is just under 500-yards long and 60-yards wide with a synthetic grass tee box and beautifully manicured hybrid Bermuda grass landing zone that is perfectly level and mowed three times a week to perfection.
The next disabled long drive event will be July 17-18 for the Amputee Long Drive Championship in Sevierville, Tennessee. The ParaLong Drive Worlds will be held at the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex on Oct. 16-17, when the top North American, European, and New Zealand disabled long ball hitters will compete for their respective World titles.
Mesquite NV ParaLong Drive Nationals 2014 Schedule
May 8, Thursday
Welcome Athletes, Thank You Volunteers
Eureka Casino – Grand Canyon Room
Public Welcome $50 per ticket
Cocktail Reception, 6 p.m.
Welcome Dinner, 7-9 p.m.
May 9, Friday
Mesquite Sports & Event Complex, 1635 Bertha How Avenue
Public Welcome, Admission Free
Opening Ceremonies, 8 a.m.
Competition Begins, 8:20 a.m.
Super Qualifier: Paralyzed, Arm, Leg Divisions
Championship Rounds, Match Play
Award Ceremonies, approximately 12:30-1 p.m.