Long drive

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A military veteran long drive competition

Long drive is a sport where players compete to hit or drive a golf ball the farthest. Top long drivers compete professionally in events and exhibitions.

Distance[edit]

Professional long drivers can average over 356 yards (320 m) in competition,[1] compared with 305 yard (274 m) averages from the top PGA Tour drivers[2] and 225 yards (201 m) for an average amateur.[3] Some shots in competitions surpass 400 yards (366 m).[4]

The world record recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest drive in a competition is 515 yards (471 m) by 64-year-old Mike Austin in 1974 at the US Senior National Open Qualifier with a 43.5" steel shafted persimmon wood driver.[5] The record distance achieved in the European Long Drive Championship is 473 yards (433m) by Allen Doyle in September 2005.[6] The record distance achieved in the South African Long Drive Championship is 506 yards (462.9m) by Nico Grobbelaar in September 2012.

Fast swingers can swing their club heads at over 150 mph (245 km/h), well beyond the 85 mph (140 km/h) average for an amateur. Competitors train for strength, flexibility, and speed and often perform corporate exhibitions for money, exhibiting a variety of trick shots. Ball speeds are nearly double that of an average golfer (220 mph).

Jason Zuback is perhaps the best known competitor in long drive. He is one of six people to win multiple World Long Drive Championships, with four consecutive wins from 1996 to 1999 and a fifth win in 2006; the other multiple champions are Sean Fister (1995, 2001, and 2005), Jamie Sadlowski (2008 and 2009), Joe Miller (2010 and 2016), Tim Burke (2013 and 2015) and Kyle Berkshire (2019 and 2021).

Equipment[edit]

Long drive clubs, which are always drivers, differ in several ways from consumer clubs. Until the recent club length limitation rules, the shafts were much longer than a normal 45 in (114.3 cm) shaft, sometimes exceeding 55 in (139.7 cm). In 2005, a 50 in (127.0 cm) limitation was introduced (measured vertically). Long drive shafts differ from standard shafts. The main difference is greater stiffness, as a flexible shaft will lag in an inconsistent manner, causing a loss of control. These shafts are almost always made of graphite, which is lighter than steel. In order to be stiff, a shaft is usually heavier and stronger than consumer clubs. The 'kick point' or 'bend point' is also higher for a lower trajectory relative to the swing, while shaft have a lower torque, meaning that long drive clubs will not twist as much, allowing the club-head to stay straighter. In November 2016, to align them with the standard rules of golf, the World Long Drive Association further-reduced the length limitation to 48 in (120 cm)—the maximum length allowed by the USGA.[7][8]

Club-heads usually approach the 460 cubic centimeter limit, rarely below 400 cc. They must stay within the coefficient of restitution (COR) limit of 0.83, which measures how a ball hits off the surface. Most club-heads only approach the COR in the center of the club, so technology has allowed more area of the club to possess a COR of above 0.80. Thus, mishits are less affected by the newer clubheads. The loft of a long drive club is also much lower than a consumer club, sometimes around 4 or 5 degrees, as opposed to 10.5 degrees for an amateur's driver. The reason for lower lofted driver heads is to greatly reduce back spin. Too much back spin causes the ball to balloon or climb, creating a steep landing angle which does not allow the ball roll out. A flatter landing angle is desired to get the most out of the ball's forward velocity and energy.

Many competitions require golfers to use a specification ball for the tournament. The specific design characteristics of this ball include a dimple design that helps to maintain lower spin rates and a ball compression[definition needed] of 110. The average ball compression in golf varies from the mid-70s to the upper 80s.

Notable long drivers[edit]

  • Kyle Berkshire, World Long Drive Champion - 2019 & 2021
  • Maurice Allen, World Long Drive Champion - 2018
  • Justin James, World Long Drive Champion - 2017 - Ranking #1 in the World was maintained until June 2019
  • Joe Miller, World Long Drive Champion 2010 & 2016
  • Tim Burke, World Long Drive Champion - 2013 & 2015
  • David Mobley, World Long Drive Champion – 2004 – Ranked #1 in the World by Long Drivers of America in 2003, 2004, and 2005[9]
  • Mike Austin, He was credited by Guinness World Records with hitting the longest drive in tournament play (471m/515 yards) in 1974
  • Sean Fister ("The Beast"), World Long Drive Champion 1995, 2001, 2005.[10][11]
  • Monte Scheinblum, 1992 U.S. National and World Long Drive Champion.[12]
  • Jason Zuback ("Golfzilla"), World Long Drive Champion 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006.Seniors World Long Drive Champion 2015.
  • Sandra Carlborg, Ladies Division WR holder 391,Yards World Long Drive Champion 2011,2012,2014,2015, 2017[13][14]
  • Phillis Meti 2006, 2016 & 2018 Women's World Long Drive Champion. WR for women's longest drive 413 yards and being the youngest female World Champion 19 years, 2 months. Hit 349 yards on the WLD grid in 2008.[15][16][17][18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Re/Max World Long Drive Championships 2011, Rounds 8-13 Long Drivers of America, Retrieved 13 July 2012
  2. ^ "PGA Tour Driving Distance". PGA Tour. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  3. ^ How far do average golfers really hit it? New distance data will surprise you Golf Digest
  4. ^ Re/Max World Long Drive Championships 2011, Finals Long Drivers of America, Retrieved 13 July 2012
  5. ^ Hudson, Alex (10 December 2010) Why has the longest golf drive record not been broken? BBC Click, Retrieved 8 December 2011
  6. ^ Grobbelaar, Nico - Records Smashed! (3 September 2012)
  7. ^ Stachura, Mike. "Thinking about a longer driver shaft? The USGA could be shutting the door on that". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  8. ^ "World Long Drive Association Announces Rule Change". World Long Drive. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  9. ^ "The Longest Golfers on Earth" (PDF). www.longdrivers.com. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  10. ^ Sens, Josh (January 17, 2007). "The Boom Boom Drivers of America". Golf Magazine.
  11. ^ "Fister, Shinnick win world long drive championship titles". ESPN. Associated Press. October 26, 2005. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  12. ^ "Monte Scheinblum Shines When He's Hitting Off the Tee", Bucky Albers, Dayton Daily News, May 19, 1993, Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  13. ^ "Zuback back on top of Long Drive world". ESPN. October 30, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  14. ^ Wuebben, Joe (May 2008). "Driving force; Jason Zuback is the biggest hitter golf has ever seen. He also answers to one of sport's most fitting nicknames: Golfzilla". Muscle & Fitness. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-10-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Q: How far can a woman hit a golf ball? (A: Farther than you.)". TravelGolf.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-10-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "SMT Golf puts record-setting DB Plus driver in hands of regular golfers". vivians-blogs.blogspot.co.nz. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2017.

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