Professional Long Driver- By Definition
The USGA considers long drive a golf “skills” competition. According to the USGA, an amateur golfer becomes a professional when he or she enters a competition with a purse. Winning money is not required to become a pro, simply entering a contest with prize money creates the breach of amateur status making one a “professional” golfer….unless there’s an obvious election (prior to competition) to play as an amateur and forgo the prize money.
Where / How To Start
A great place to start is in Amateur Long Drive , but that is not a requirement. This really depends on your skill level. If you feel like you have the ball speed (see below) to compete as a professional, moving straight to a pro series makes sense. If you’re not there, beginning your quest as a long drive amateur will provide much more on-the-tee experience to hone your skills….with less expense. The key to getting better in this sport is competition. What you do on the range will not immediately relate to what happens in competition.
World Long Drive
The top series in long drive was the World Long Drive Series from many years. This series began as the LDA (Long Drivers of America) in the 70s, was purchased by The Golf Channel / NBC Sports in 2015, and ceased operation in June 2020 Read more HERE
Xtreme Long Drive™
Xtreme Long Drive™ (XLD™) was established to give professional long drivers more opportunities to compete. XLD™ provides an annual series that includes qualifiers (Q-Series), Tour Stops, Three World Challenge Series events, and the season-ending Xtreme Long Drive® World Championship.
Ball speed is one of the leading indicators of one’s long drive skills. To be more specific, ball speed as measured by instruments from company’s such as, ForeSight, Flightscope or Trackman, or similar device.
How To Get Better
Reps! Practice! Competition! Getting some good instruction from a qualified long drive coach will advance your game considerably. For 2021, Ultimate Long Drive, Inc (parent of ALD and XLD) will roll out the Ultimate Long Drive (ULD) Academy. ULD Academy will consist of qualified and certified long drive instructors. With incremental programs designed to advance long drive athletes to perform at their peak, ULD Academy Instructors will host clinics at venues across the USA each year.
There aren’t that many long drive specific heads out there. Callaway, Yeti, Krank, MOI, Shark Attack, and Brute all have low-lofted heads. Shaft technology is changing, but swing and ball speed are going to be considered in the shaft spec you will need, and it’s a good idea to try several shafts / specs. You will probably end up with a variety of set-ups for shafts and heads in your bag.