Is there any better feeling in golf than catching the driver squarely in the middle of the club face, seeing your ball flying down the middle of the fairway, and knowing that you’ve just hit one of your longest golf drives ever?
If your tee shot has gone a reasonable distance, it’s a bonus, and if you’ve outdriven your playing partners, it’s all the sweeter.
In the professional ranks, golf has evolved to be unrecognizable from the game played 25 years ago.
Power rules over precision, and the further you hit the golf ball, the better.
There have always been power hitters in golf, but one question that gets golfers thinking is who hits the longest drives in golf?
In this article, we will look to answer who hits the longest drives in golf, along with:
- The Top 5 Longest Golf Drives Ever
- Which Pro’s Consistently Hits the Longest Drives
- Long Drive Specialists – the stats that elevate them beyond tour professionals
- 3 Major Factors To Hit Longer Drives
Let’s jump in!
The Top 5 Longest Golf Drives On Record
In the interests of transparency, some of these drives got some assistance, but who cares?
Let’s now delve into the top 5 longest golf drives in golf, starting with the longest.
#1. Carl Cooper – 787 yards
This obscene drive was recorded at the 1992 Texas Open on the 3rd hole at Oak Hills Golf Club.
It’s the undoubted winner of the longest golf drive ever recorded, but it was assisted by his ball landing on a cart path.
The bad news for Cooper was that his ball ended up 300 yards past the green he was playing towards!
#2. Mike Austin – 515 yards
This monster was recorded on the 14th hole at Winterwood Golf Club in 1974 during the National Seniors Open Championship
The impressive fact about this drive was that it was hit with a persimmon driver – none of the 460 cc carbon/titanium drivers players use these days.
A 27mph tailwind also assisted Austin’s farthest golf drive.
#3. Louis Oosthuizen – 500 yards
Another drive assisted by cart path intervention, this impressive drive was recorded on the 1st hole at the Blackstone Golf Club in South Korea during the Ballantines Championship in 2013.
#4. Tiger Woods – 498 yards
This is a controversial one as the PGA Tour didn’t officially collate records for longest golf drives until 2004.
It’s also Tiger Woods longest drive, topping out at 498 yards.
Woods hit this bomb during the Mercedes Championship on the 18th hole of the Plantation Course, Kapalua, in 2002.
This hole is a bomber’s paradise as the fairway is wide, and the tee is extremely elevated, but you can’t take anything away from a very impressive hit from Tiger.
#5. Dustin Johnson – 489 yards
Another controversial entry, this impressive hit from Dustin Johnson, happened during the WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay in 2013 – the PGA Tour does not recognize stats produced by World Golf Championship events, and no evidence of this shot exists other than the shot data collected on the tee.
Johnson’s monster longest golf drive on the 12th hole of the Austin Country Club was a total of 139 yards past his playing partner.
Who’s recorded the longest Golf drive in history on the PGA Tour?
Officially, the longest drive recorded on the PGA Tour goes to Davis Love III, who hit a 476-yard monster in 2004 on the 18th at the Plantation Course, Kapalua.
Which Pro’s Consistently Hits the Longest Drives
In 1980, when stats started to be recorded, the longest hitter was Dan Pohl, averaging 274.3 yards on the PGA Tour.
The PGA tour’s average driving distance for the same year was 256.89 yards.
Fast forward to 2021, and the stats are completely different.
Bryson Dechambeau led the stats, averaging 320.8 yards compared to the tour average of 295.3 yards.
Let’s put that into some perspective.
The average par 4 on the PGA Tour is around the 430-yard mark
That means if DeChambeau hits his average drive at 320 yards, he will have no more than a flick with one of his wedges into the green.
Who’s recorded the longest drive in history on the LPGA Tour?
To date, the longest drive recorded on the LPGA Tour is a 355-yard missile hit by England’s Georgia Hall in 2018 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.
For the ladies, the pattern is similar.
On the LPGA tour, Dutch golfer Anne van Dam led the way with an average driving distance of 290.82 yards in 2021.
This set a new record for the LPGA Tour.
The average for the LPGA Tour in 2021 was 256 yards, which gives van Dam a massive distance advantage over the rest of the field when she tees it up.
Regarding amateur ladies’ golf, the average drive is around 140 yards.
From a pure distance perspective, the average lady amateur would struggle to play off the same tees as the professional ladies, given that there is over 100 yards distance between the average drive on the LPGA Tour and the average amateur drive.
Long drive specialists – the stats behind how they freakishly hit the longest drives in golf
There is a breed of professional golfer who dwells beyond the ropes of any tour.
These men and women compete in the longest golf drive world, where there are competitions to see who hits it the furthest.
In this world, the drivers they use can have as little as 4 degrees of loft, and the shaft lengths can be as much as 48 inches to help engineer the vast power they wield.
The longest in the men’s division in 2022 was Kyle Berkshire.
Berkshire can consistently hit drives of over 450 yards in competition and set a new world record for the fastest ball speed off a driver at 236.2 mph in the same year.
To put that into context, the average ball speed with the driver on the US PGA Tour is 171.65 mph.
For the ladies, Philis Meti ruled in 2022.
Meti is a 4-times World Long Drive champion, and a career highlight was her record-breaking drive of 406 yards in a competition in 2017.
3 Major Factors to Hit Longer Drives
So, now that we have seen some of the stats behind the longest drives in golf and are suitably inspired by the prodigious distances produced in the professional ranks and long-drive specialists, how do we unleash our inner Kyle Berkshire?
In looking at how you can get more distance off the tee, we’ll cover the following:
- Driver set up
- Address position
- Freedom to swing
Driver set up
Every one of the professionals we have spoken about, male or female, all have one thing in common when it comes to their drivers – they are all custom-built for them.
Having a custom-built driver is not purely the domain for professionals only.
You can and should take full advantage of getting custom-fitted if you want to buy a new driver.
Modern drivers are not a light investment.
Most of the major brands’ 2023 offerings retail around £550 ($680), so getting custom fitted for your golfing abilities is extremely important.
Getting fitted for your driver will optimize the following:
- Spin rates
- Launch angles
- Carry distances
- Total distance
Correct spin rates and launch angles will ensure that the ball will have optimized carry distance, and when the ball lands, it will roll a reasonable amount, giving your total distance.
Marrying the correct shaft weight and flex to the correct loft will also help achieve optimized numbers for longer distances.
Setting up well to the ball is crucial to your overall swing mechanics, but there are additional things to consider when hitting longer drives in golf.
For starters, alleviating tension in the set-up will aid the free-flowing movement of the golf swing.
Ensuring that grip pressure remains light will maintain suppleness throughout your muscles, helping to produce a powerful swing and maximizing clubhead speed.
Secondly, have your feet set slightly splayed out to help improve your turn in your backswing, downswing, and through the ball.
Many golfers will set up with their feet at 90-degree angles to their target, which can cause some restrictions in movement if you aren’t very flexible.
Finally, tee the ball marginally higher and move the ball position up to be in line with your left big toe (if you are a right-handed golfer).
Doing this will help to promote hitting more “up” on the ball, which helps to create more optimal launch conditions favored by modern drivers.
Freedom to swing
If you are a right-handed golfer, you can raise your left heel slightly off the ground in the backswing, which will help give you a fuller turn.
This is something that both Bryson Dechambeau and Kyle Berkshire have in common, and as we have seen, both hit consistently the longest drives in golf.
Lifting the left heel also acts as an excellent trigger to begin the downswing as you plant it back into the ground and shift your weight to your left side as you transition through impact.