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Longest drive competitions, question about distances

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I know PGA pros aren't longest drive winners typically. But, they average about 300 yards. Longest drive records I've seen over 400 yards. Are they really 25% stronger hitters. Or if you follow physics. 50% more powerful hitters? Or do these contests have; downhill slopes, harder ground, or different rules? I'm curious because I can't find much info on the subject and would like to know how hard these guy are really hitting that ball. 

Any idea how hard or far they would hit for a tour average for comparison's sake?

post #2 of 19

 All you need is one ball in the grid in a long drive competition and it doesn't matter much if one goes right or left into the next county.


The long drive guys use much longer clubs with less loft and tee it high, hit it as hard as they can and hope to get one or two good ones in play.


The driving stats on the PGA Tour also include some holes where a player may only be trying to hit a position shot and may not even be using a driver. Almost all of them can hit the ball further than their driving stats show, if they want to.


The longest guys on Tour couldn't beat the best long drive guys unless they decided to commit to it and train for it but they probably wouldn't finish in last place at the finals either.

post #3 of 19
Agree with MS256 except about long drive clubs. Drivers used to have crazy long shafts, but that is no longer true. Total club length is 50" today, measured with the club against a wall. So what's USGA legal is LD legal and vice versa.

Quite a few competitors use clubs that are of normal length and loft. Say 46" clubs with 8 degree loft or higher. I have a 50" XXXX stiff driver that is really too long and stiff for me. One time I was swinging hard with a headcover on (for resistance) and pinched a nerve; lost feeling in one side for a week. Many of us may have better luck with a shorter less stiff shaft.

Swings vary more than in regular golf. You'll see some extreme swings at Henderson, NV in the finals. Some LD competitors have model golf swings like Brian Pavlett, some are really wild, such as Jason Zuback's swing.

There may be a qualifier coming up near you. $40 for 6 balls. Maybe you'll get lucky on one. (Actually that is a neat thing about long drive. While you or I have no chance to play with the big boys in most sports, there are better odds in long drive, if only we can hit one 340 or longer in the grid. I don't know of any other sport where that is true. And for strong women, the odds are even better!)
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I know right. My distance is great and getting better. But I have a long way to play competitive golf lol. I have one coming up I may try in just to see what I got .
post #5 of 19
Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris View Post

Agree with MS256 except about long drive clubs.

Most guys on the PGA Tour use between a 44 and 45 inch driver. Average length is 44 1/2 inches with a few players even shorter than that. Sergio uses a 43 inch driver.


Long drive competitors use between 48 and 50 inch drivers with most being closer to 50 inches.


Jason Zuback has a much more technically sound swing than you give him credit for if you break it down.


post #6 of 19

most difference is that a tour pro tries to get the ball in play a long driver tries to rip it as far as they can.

Longer shafts less loft, and give it all you got. tour pros hit about 70% off max power. We all have seen tiger

hit some massive power shots if you give him a driver with the same specs as a long driver i think he can

hit it that far also 

post #7 of 19

Do a search on youtube...LD comps are surprisingly...watchable  :)





post #8 of 19
Zuback is very athletic, a model of power and flexibility, and in terms of what he is trying to do is technically proficient, BUT, one might consider his swing wild compared to, say, Gene Littler. :) Or even John Daly. [I didn't mean wild as in swinging wildly; have to eat my word.]

Must be pointed out that Zuback is one of the smaller guys in LD, and a former powerlifter.

Are the drivers used on the PGA tour 44" and under? Or are the shafts? My best-hitting driver is cheap and stock and measures 47 1/3" -- but the shaft is about 44", the rest being the 360 cc head. The other two drivers I use much now are 46" and 47.5" total length. A lot of off-the-shelf drivers are very long, especially if equipped with a 460 cc head.

I'd bet .25 that some of the info being circulated about driver length in the PGA is shaft length.

Need to start a thread "How long is your driver?"
post #9 of 19
Concerning what consumers are being sold, this comment at Golfspy, quote:

"Last season (2010) the majority of drivers we received for testing were outfitted stock with 46″ shafts. While there were exceptions, only one driver we’ve ever received for testing was shorter than 45.5″ (Titleist), and that was more than countered by another that actually measured in at 46.5″!" http://www.*********.com/mgs-labs-is-longer-really-longer/

A 46" shaft would make a 460 cc driver 48-50" long!

Got an old copy of Golf Magazine near the computer. Talking about tour player Jhonattan Vegas' equipment: "...Mamiya nVentrix graphite shaft, X flex, 45 inches...." Well, are they saying the DRIVER is 45 inches, or the SHAFT? I think it's shaft length, in which case the total driver length is around 47.5 to 48".

How long is Sergio's driver? Not perfectly clear that 43.5" is total driver length and not shaft length.
post #10 of 19

edit - video doesnt work...

post #11 of 19
Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris View Post

A 46" shaft would make a 460 cc driver 48-50" long!


They're talking about driver length. 50" is illegal. C'mon.

post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by iacas View Post


They're talking about driver length. 50" is illegal. C'mon.


Uh, right. I sort of steered the conversation to driver length. based on what MS256 said about driver length on the tour.

Driver length and the 50" rule is exactly my point. [Another golf info site whose name is not to be mentioned] said that major brand drivers they were sent to demo in 2010 had shafts that were 46" long. A 46" shaft in a big clubhead is pushing the legal limit on club length. Which means that a lot of drivers sold to consumers are not much shorter than the max that you'll find professional long drivers using in competition!

Back to Hercules' question. Long drive competition is waaay long now. Back 10 years ago when I dared dream that I could compete, a drive of 300 yards at a qualifier could mean a ticket to the semis and the finalists in Nevada were often averaging not farther than 350 yds. Now you'd have to hit one 400+ to have a prospect at winning in the finals. What's different now? Of course equipment but also better technique. 10 years ago the sport of long drive was in its infancy. Many competitors had horrid swings. Now there are schools you can go to. It's still not a highly lucrative business compared to the mainline golf industry, but it has matured and changed.
Edited by Ole_Tom_Morris - 5/14/13 at 2:28pm
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by Ole_Tom_Morris View Post


 [Another golf info site whose name is not to be mentioned] said that major brand drivers they were sent to demo in 2010 had shafts that were 46" long. A 46" shaft in a big clubhead is pushing the legal limit on club length. Which means that a lot of drivers sold to consumers are not much shorter than the max that you'll find professional long drivers using in competition!

Golf clubs are measured with the club soled and measured from the floor up along the underside of the shaft to the top where the grip becomes rounded. When measuring before the grip is installed the shaft is cut 1/8 inch short of the desired length so it will come out right when the grip is installed.


The 46 inch drivers that you are seeing in stores are measured in that way so they are not (yet) pushing the legal limit.


 BTW 46 inches is too long for most golfers to hit consistently and is one reason so many people can hit their 3 wood fine but can't hit the driver. Being a lower lofted club that promotes more unwanted sidespin is the other reason.

post #14 of 19
I call it "pushing the legal limit" when there are only a couple of inches to spare. Point being that there is little difference in club length between drivers used by many many average golfers versus long drive competitors.

Another point being that a person wanting to try long drive does not need special equipment. Just reach in the bag!

Agree with you that the macho quest for length has led to some harmful marketing by club manufacturers. Not just driver length, because the length of iron shafts also has gotten inflation disease. And lofts have gotten stronger. That pitching wedge used to be a 9-iron. Your 9-iron is a rechristened 8-iron. And so on. A whole shift in golf specs so that middle aged golfers can boast that they are hitting the "same club" farther than ever.

So not only are we equipment junkies, but we are length junkies too. And if our strength and coordination are lacking, then we try to buy length with ever higher tech balls and clubs and support a whole industry built on newer and longer and higher priced. What's next? Rare earth metals incorporated into ball covers and club heads? Depleted uranium sole weighting? Laser sights?

As you know there have been proposals to undo the golf tech, to shorten courses, to use balls that go a shorter distance. What that would do is to make for better golf course economics, less expensive green fees, faster play on smaller courses that tie up less land and use fewer resources to maintain them. Fat chance! Goes against the fundamental human trait of hitting the ball longer and longer and longer.

As far as club length: in my experience I can hit my 47" driver better than I could ever hit a 43" club. Maybe it's the 320-360 cc clubhead versus a 150 cc.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I respect real golfers and I'm striving to be decent. But some things like speed are a natural gift. Well I don't believe in gifts so a lucky genetic code and mental acuity. So people with that gift have a good shot to maybe get a sponsor and continue the dreams of playing a pro sport even if they don't win. But, because of the typical narcissistic braggers no one believes the people who maybe able to compete if they had the right help.

By natural gift let me clarify. Hard work trumps talent when talent doesn't work hard ~ Dan Gable. But, no matter the practice some people can't throw a fastball 90mph. Others can throw that with almost no practice. Same with a football, some can never break the 50 yard mark. While some can hurl 80 plus yards with no real practice. But in both sports the dominant players are the "naturals" who train the hardest. This applies to golf distance drives too.

Equipment and rules are the tools and tool pinnacles that will be useful to help those people
post #16 of 19
About the sport of long drive. Some years ago, Pinnacle held long drive competitions that anybody could enter for a small fee, with a chance at winning a big purse for the longest drive in a final. Far as I know, the first promise of big money to somebody was made by Pinnacle.

Enter Art Sellinger, a pretty good long driver himself and a better lawyer and promoter. Art got a contract to manage these long drive events for the sponsors and also formed a "Long Drivers Association" along the lines of the PGA, with organized long drive competitions that LDA members could enter, while amateurs could still compete in the Pinnacle or Re/Max. It was during this era that the finals came to be held in Mesquite, Nevada.

Well, this year it was announced, so I am told, you can check the LDA site for more accurate info and an announcement Sellinger is said to have made in January, that the LDA is in effect dissolved and that one does not have to be an LDA member to enter certain long drive competitions, and that while Sellinger is still providing the organization behind various events, all events are open to anybody who antes up the entry fee. Which is higher now. Sellinger has a contract with the Golfchannel to present more LD coverage than before..

You can see a tale of shaky economics and the struggle of some to carve out a profitable structure in long drive. Big part of the problem, imo, is that local qualifiers were/are hosted by golf courses and driving ranges that don't get a lot of reward for playing host. I think amateurs, local joes who pick up a driver and enter for the heck of it, were hurt by all the attempts to create an organization that held a monopoly on some competitions.

By and large, the story has been one of increased professionalization and organization, same as in golf generally.

There are talented, personable athletes who have made a good living in long drive, and there is some sponsorship money out there for the right person. I've probably made some errors in the above recitation, so take it with a grain of salt. For more info, see Sellinger's LDA site and also Incepta which has a good forum on LD.
post #17 of 19

And don't forget the Nitro LD contests...

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by RC View Post

And don't forget the Nitro LD contests...
Where are those or some information on them. I can't find anything.
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