Here’s why European Tour pros are driving it 40 yards farther this week

Karen Country Club at Magical Kenya Open

This week's Magical Kenya Open is being played at Karen Country Club in Nairobi.

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It is the plight of most golfers to spend years, if not decades, desperately trying everything to get better. Nowadays, recreational golfers go to similar lengths to add yards to their drives, whether to improve their scores or impress their friends.

But what if you could instantly add 40 yards to your drives without a single drill, workout, or range session? The mythical instant power leap is possible with a simple plan: play a course at high altitude, like Karen Country Club in Nairobi, Kenya, home to this week’s Magical Kenya Open on the European Tour.

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, sits on a lofty perch 1,795 meters (5,889 feet) above sea level. In the thin air at higher altitudes, golf shots travel farther. They also spin more because the air is less dense all the way up there, increasing hangtime.

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Add to that the fact that the average high temperature in March in Nairobi is 80-degrees F, and you can see that drives tend to go a lot longer at Karen CC. Thanks to one European Tour caddie looping it for English pro Richard Mansell at the Magical Kenya Open this week, we know exactly how much longer.

The European Tour shared Mansell’s adjusted yardages for the week via his caddie, and the numbers are eye-popping. When playing in the U.K. at sea level in typical temperatures, Mansell would average 302 yards with his driver. Not bad. But when adjusted for the altitude and heat at Karen Country Club, the pro’s driving distance jumps a whopping 40 yards to a 342 average.

The yardage jump for his irons is less severe, yet still pronounced. For example, his pitching wedge rises from 140 yards to 157. Check out Mansell’s full list of adjusted yardages below.

This is not the only pro event where players benefit from increased yardages due to high altitudes. Golf Club de Chapultepec, the home of the WGC-Mexico Championship, is at an even greater elevation of 7,835 feet. If you’re looking to benefit from high-altitude golf a little closer to home, head to the golfy state of Colorado. Denver’s elevation is similar to Nairobi’s at 5,130–5,690 feet.

Kevin Cunningham Editor

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