Long Drive Competitions: Balls, Clubs & Info To Know

Long drive has been around for a long time but its popularity has recently been on the rise. Pros like Bryson DeChambeau have entered tournaments, which has attracted attention. A lot of people are curious to know what balls they use and how the clubs are actually different.

What we’ll get into here is what golf balls they’re using and how they’re different than normal balls. The same goes for the clubs that they’re using and the specs. This is pretty much a different sport compared to golf so you most likely won’t see these clubs on your local course (or the swing that goes with it).

What Golf Balls Are Used For Long Drive Competitions?

For most long drive competitions, everyone will have to hit the same golf ball, which is provided by the event. Currently, the most common ball you’ll see in a long drive tournament is the Volvik Vivid XT.

What most people don’t realize is that all your gear has to be USGA-accepted, which means it can also be used on the course. This means that you can use the same golf ball on the course and in a long drive competition.

Over the past number of years, Volvik has been the official golf ball of long drive. The most popular option seems to be the Vivid XT. Here are the specs:

  • Layers: 4
  • Compression: 100
  • Swing Speed: 100+ MPH
  • Spin: Low

The reason these balls work well is that they have a high compression rating and are designed for fast swing speeds. A lower compression ball paired with a fast swing speed won’t give you the best distance (see the test we did below).

RELATED: High vs Low Compression Balls: Which Go Further?

Low compression balls will balloon up in the air and will land steeply, which won’t roll out much. This is why the ball needs to be a lot more firm.

They also tend to use 3 or 4 piece golf balls. Generally, 4 layers are ideal because the spin rates will be the best for such fast swing speeds. Having lower spin rates will keep the ball lower, which will let the ball roll out the most.

RELATED: Best Golf Balls For Fast Swing Speeds

What Drivers Do Long Drive Golfers Use?

Long drivers are allowed to use whatever driver they want, as long as it’s accepted by the USGA. This means that the driver cannot be more than 48 inches long and cannot exceed 460cc in size.

This means that you could use the same driver on the course and in tournaments. That being said, you probably wouldn’t want to (only a few people actually use a 48-inch long driver).

The simple reason is that more length usually equals less control. Just think about what’s easier to hit the fairway with, your driver or your pitching wedge.

If we switch to the PGA Tour, the average driver length is somewhere around 44.5 inches long. Even Bryson DeChambeau switches his driver when he goes back to the course.

Anyways, let’s talk a bit about what drivers people are actually using for long drive:

Driver: You’re allowed to use whatever driver you want so it’s going to be different for everyone. Bryson is a Cobra guy so you’ll most likely see him with one of the latest models.

When Kyle Berkshire won in 2019 he was using a Cobra Radspeed driver. He’s also been known to use a Krank driver as well as Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero. Martin Borgmeier won in 2022 and has used the Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero as well as drivers from Krank.

Loft: Long drivers use drivers with extremely low amounts of loft, which you will almost never find on the golf course. Typically, 3-4.5 degrees is what they’re tuned to. Pretty crazy.

You’ve probably heard the quote from John Daly that said “tee it high and let it fly.” Well, that’s what you do in long drive. Pair that with an extremely fast swing speed and you’ll need a low amount of loft.

Shaft: Since the shafts are longer (up to 48 inches) and the speeds are so fast, shafts will be much stiffer than you’d normally see. Even with that, you’ll still see the club flex quite a bit.

Most long drive shafts will range from 1x to 3x. 1x shafts are somewhere between stiff and extra stiff while 2x and 3x are even stiffer.

How Fast Do Long Drivers Swing The Club?

On average, long drivers swing the club between 135-140 MPH with a ball speed of over 200 MPH. Compare this to championship-level hitters, who approach numbers above 150 MPH.

This is pretty crazy because the average male recreational golfer swings the club between 90-95 MPH and the average PGA Tour player is between 110-115 MPH. To know what these speeds translate to in terms of distance, you can see the average driver distance by age here.

If you watch golf, you know that Bryson DeChambeau is one of the longest hitters on tour. He’s actually entered a long drive tournament this year and is currently ranked at #35. This just shows how much faster these people are swinging the club.

How Far Do Long Drivers Hit The Ball?

Over the past 19 years, the long drive champion has hit the ball 397 yards on average. Winning numbers range between 343 and 435 yards, so you could expect the tournament averages to be much less.

GolferWinning Distance (Yards)
David Mobley377
Sean Fister377
Jason Zuback368
Mike Dobbyn385
Jamie Sadlowski418
Jamie Sadlowski384
Joe Miller414
Carl Wolter409
Ryan Winther343
Tim Burke427
Jeff Flagg365
Tim Burke394
Joe Miller423
Justin James435
Maurice Allen393
Kyle Berkshire406
Kyle Berkshire383
Kyle Berkshire422
Martin Borgmeier426
Average Distance397
*Last 19 World Long Driver Winners*

You might be surprised that the average winning number is just less than 400 yards. You’ve probably seen a number of shots that have gone a lot further, but that doesn’t always matter.

The first thing is that these numbers were from the World Long Drive Championship. Other tournaments could have different numbers, but this is the big tournament.

You also have to keep in mind that the ball needs to land in the fairway. Balls that miss left or right don’t count, so you also need to focus on controlling the ball.

The final thing to note is that if you hit a 500 yards bomb in the first round it doesn’t really matter in the end. It will get you to the next round, but you’ll be starting from zero.

You’re probably also fatigued by the final round, which will impact distances. Numbers seem to be going up slowly over the years so you could expect the average number to increase as well.

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Hey, I'm Jon. I started Out Of Bounds Golf to share my findings after testing golf gear for the past 10+ years. My goal is to make the game a little easier to understand, whether that's with finding the right product or answering common questions. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest.

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