Longest drive competitions is a version of golf, where players hit a golf ball for maximal distance. At the World Long Drive Championship, competitors have three minutes to hit eight golf balls. To be counted as a scoring shot, the ball must land in "the grid", a range that varies from 45 to 60 yards wide.
Competitors use specific driver clubs designed for maximum hit distance. Compared to regular golf clubs, the clubs used for long drive competitions differ mostly in their shafts. The competition shafts are stiffer, and usually made of graphite, which is lighter than steel. The long drive shafts used to be longer, but now the golf rules limit their length. In 2005, a 50 in (127.0 cm) limitation was introduced (measured vertically). Many competitions require golfers to use a specific ball for the tournament.
In addition to the effect of the golf club, the distance covered by the ball will depend on many factors including the size, surface and composition of the golf ball, weather conditions, air temperature, tailing wind, altitude (affect air resistance), rolling surface, length of grass.
Mike Austin holds the world record for the longest drive in professional play, driving 515 yards at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1974, hitting it 65 yards past the flag on the par 4 fifth hole. This record has surprisingly never been surpassed, despite great improvements in golf club technology since then.
There is an annual World Long Drive Championship which started in 1976. They have awards in three divisions – Open, Masters and Women's.
- Golf — players use a club to hit balls into a series of holes on a course, using the fewest number of strokes.
- Irish Road Bowling — competitors attempt to take the fewest throws to propel a metal ball along a predetermined course of country roads.
- Target Golf — players hit a golf ball at a large net, scoring points based on where the ball lands.
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