WGC-Mexico Championship
February 21, 2020

Here’s just how short Chapultepec plays for tour pros

rory-mcilroy-wgc-mexico-2020.jpg

rory-mcilroy-wgc-mexico-2020.jpg

Rory McIlroy smiles while standing behind his bag with caddie Harry Diamond on the eighth hole fairway during the first round of the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Photo by: Keyur Khamar

Keyur Khamar

Just how short is Club de Golf Chapultepec for the players on the PGA Tour where the golf course is perched at almost 8,000 feet of elevation and shots fly dozens of yards farther than normal? Well, the folks at Arccos Caddie used their proprietary algorithms to take us hole by hole, and the short answer is that comparing this week’s WGC stop to a regular tour course is a bit like comparing your usual Saturday round to playing from the U.S. Kids’ junior tees.

Arccos Caddie uses an artificial intelligence, machine-learning tool that takes into account everything from altitude and a hole’s topography to wind, humidity and temperature. That produces an “Arccos Caddie Number,” which is part of the company’s GPS-based stat tracking app and its latest rangefinder. The Arccos Caddie Numbers for Chapultepec show holes that play as much as 50 yards short of their posted number. In effect, the combination of altitude and slope chops about 600 yards off the 7,342-yard layout. That means this week’s elite World Golf Championships event is being played on essentially the shortest course the PGA Tour plays all year (Pebble Beach officially holds that mark at 6,816 yards). Its adjusted yardage is some five football fields shorter than the average length of a PGA Tour course (7,252 yards).

The Arccos Caddie team prepared the numbers for Golf Digest, noting that wind, temperature and humidity conditions change its converted yardages on a daily basis. As an example, from Wednesday to Thursday the “adjusted” yardage on the 303-yard first hole went from 275 yards in relatively calm conditions to 287 yards on Thursday when it played into the wind. Just the wind effect alone reduced the yardage by two yards on the relatively calm Wednesday, but added 13 yards on windy Thursday.

The total Arccos Caddie Number combines the relative yardage loss or gain elements into a single effect. For example, on the uphill 575-yard (on the card) 15th hole, the slope might “add” 21 yards to the length of the hole, but the wind could “subtract” that same 21 yards, the temperature and humidity effects might cancel each other out at two yards apiece, but the altitude would effectively reduce the adjusted distance by a whopping 50 yards. Hence, the overall 50-yard difference between the scorecard yardage and what distance it at least theoretically plays.

On a typical day, every hole at Chapultepec plays less than the yardage on the card. In other words, the altitude effect at 7,800 feet negates or completely overwhelms the slope or wind effect of any hole.

Does this mean Club de Golf Chapultepec plays easy with its reachable par 5s and drivable par 4s and 170-yard gap wedges? Well, its scoring average last year was still among the top third of PGA Tour courses. Must be all those calculations players have to make without the aid of artificial intelligence. And, of course, at elevation the air is thin. Less oxygen to the brain, you know.

Hole by hole

No. 1: Actual yardage is 303; Arccos Caddie Number is 287

No. 2: 387/353

No. 3: 186/174

No. 4: 506/461

No. 5: 445/407

No. 6: 625/580

No. 7: 235/218

No. 8: 525/484

No. 9: 382/354

No. 10: 450/400

No. 11: 632/575

No. 12: 406/375

No. 13: 225/206

No. 14: 497/467

No. 15: 575/525

No. 16: 403/372

No. 17: 172/153

No. 18: 388/365


You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. Please upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or use a different web browser.