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How to Get Started in Long Drive: A Comprehensive Guide

How to get started in Long Drive. Pro golfer Ryan Reisbeck hits a long drive during the World Long Drive competition.

Caught the Long Drive Fever?

There may be no better sensation in golf than hitting a great drive.

You feel it the moment the ball comes right out of the middle of the club face, soaring like a guided missile before descending to earth hundreds of yards away.

You killed it, ripped it, nailed it, crushed it. 

You, my friend, have caught the irresistible allure of long drive.

The bad news: you’ll never stop chasing that feeling.

The good news: you can experience it over and over again by getting started in long drive.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to begin your journey into this thrilling sport.

Professional Long Driver Ryan Reisbeck hits a long drive on Fossil Trace Golf Course
Professional Long Driver Ryan Reisbeck hits a long drive on Fossil Trace Golf Course.

What is Long Drive?

Long drive is a specialized discipline within the world of golf that focuses on hitting the ball for maximum distance. 

Unlike traditional golf, where accuracy and finesse are paramount, long drive competitions are about harnessing speed and power to push the distance.

Athletes hit balls on a grid, and the objective is to land it as far down the grid as possible within certain boundaries.

Long drive competitions are not just about raw power; they also require a deep understanding of technique, equipment, and mental preparation.

How to Get Started in Long Drive

Whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced golfer looking to explore long drive, here's how to get started:

1. Equipment

If you’re ready for competition, you’ll want to get some specialized equipment designed for maximum distance. However, if you’re just getting started, you can pick-up a used driver and head out to the range to start practicing. Here are some key equipment considerations:

Driver: Choose a driver with a higher loft angle (around 4-6 degrees) to optimize launch angle. Consider a shaft that matches your swing speed and style. Stiffer shafts are often preferred. 

Golf Balls: Use a low-spin, high-compression golf ball that offers less resistance and better aerodynamics for distance.

Tees: Long drive tees are typically longer than regular tees, allowing you to tee the ball higher for an optimal launch.

Footwear: Invest in golf shoes with good grip to maintain stability during your powerful swings.

While equipment is important, how you hit the ball is critical. Starting with the right technique is far more beneficial than purchasing expensive equipment. 

Long Drive Club, Long Drive Tees, Long Drive Golf Balls
You'll hit longer drives using golf equipment designed specifically for the sport.

2. Develop Your Swing Technique

The key to long drive success lies in your swing technique. Just heading out to the driving range to hit balls without a plan will lead to bad habits and stunted drives. Learning how to hit the driver correctly includes the following aspects of technique:

A consistent pre-shot routine and set-up

If you don’t set-up the same way every time, you’re introducing variables that cannot be measured, corrected, or controlled.

Initiating the backswing and extension

This is a vital element to achieving the positions that will enable you to longer, more accurate drives.

Top of the backswing and transition of the golf swing

High hands, lead arm action and weight transfer are the focus. If sequencing and timing are off here, you will lose power.

Power position, ball impact, and finish

There are important key movements to maintain the load in the golf club shaft and optimize force before you impact the ball, releasing the club head to maximize kick assist.

When performed correctly and repeatedly, your swing technique creates more efficient neuromuscular connections. The opposite is also true.

If you continue to try to hit the ball far with poor form, you will build stronger neuromuscular connections to poor movement patterns that limit your driving potential.

Professional Long Driver Ryan Reisbeck demonstrates proper technique for key positions of the golf swing.
Professional Long Driver Ryan Reisbeck demonstrates proper technique for key positions of the golf swing.

3. Understand the Rules and Regulations of Long Drive

Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of long drive competitions. These rules include specifications for equipment, swing technique, and the scoring system. Below are the requirements for the WLD championship. Pay close attention to any local or tournament-specific rules that may be different.

Club Requirements: Golfers are required to use a USGA-approved club with a maximum length of 48 inches.

Competition Time: you will have 2.5 minutes to hit six balls.

Competition Scoring: To be counted as a scoring shot, the ball must land within the grid (a range that varied from 45-60 yards wide and 420-450 yards long.

Competition Progression: Competitors progress through group-stages to reach the final, which is conducted as a single-elimination tournament.

4. Consistent Practice Routine

Like any sport, practice is key to improving your long drive skills. Dedicate time to regular practice sessions, both on the driving range and on the competition grid if available. Focus on your technique and strive for consistency in your swings.

Practicing long drive correctly involves a lot more than hitting a bunch of balls. Quality practice requires staying focused on all eight positions involved in the swing.

Rapidly going through 24 golf balls without paying attention to each position will likely lead to mistakes and problems in the swing. Consistent repetition of all positions at least three times helps in eliminating bad habits, ensuring the right setup position, maintaining the correct swing plane, and ultimately achieving a more accurate and consistent shot.

In the following video, you'll learn how Professional Long Driver Ryan Reisbeck learned how to "trust the process" while also taking the time to focus on consistency during practice.

5. Join a Long Drive Club or Association

Getting involved with a long drive club or association can provide you with valuable resources, networking opportunities, and access to competitions. Many long drive enthusiasts gather in clubs and associations to share knowledge and compete against each other.

6. Participate in Competitions

As you gain confidence and experience, consider participating in local long drive competitions. These events can be a great way to test your skills against other long drive competitors and measure your progress. Remember to stay patient and keep working on your game, as improvement takes time.

Putting it all Together

Getting started in long drive requires dedication, practice, and a commitment to improving your skills. With the right equipment, proper technique, and a consistent practice routine, you can work your way toward becoming a competitive long drive athlete. 

Remember that it's a journey, and progress may be gradual, but the thrill of hitting a golf ball farther than you ever thought possible makes it all worthwhile. 

To learn more about developing and fine-tuning your long drive technique and practice routine, check out Driving Smarter, Driving Farther.

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One comment on “How to Get Started in Long Drive: A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. Fantastic, we need more articles like this to grow the sport of long drive! Also, anyone looking to develop their swing should listen to what Ryan and Bobby are teaching, definitely at the top when it comes to LD.

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