Golf’s Longest Drives Are Creeping Up and Changing the Sport

It seems like the kind of statistic that number-crunching sports fans would agree upon, hitherto there exists surprisingly little consensus on the distance of a long time drive ever measured in the game of golf.

Some say the record belongs to Mike Austin. In 1974, the renowned capability hitter drove a clod 515 gardens during the US National Seniors Open championship in Las Vegas.

Others claim the name belongs to Carl Cooper. In 1992, on the third hole of the Texas Open, his tee shot ricocheted off a paved path and wound up traveling 787 gardens before flattening to a stop.

And according to Professional Golfers Association records, Davis Love III &# x27; s 476 -yard drive at 2004 &# x27; s Sentry Tournament of Champions is the longest official drive on the books.( As for a long time drive ever appraised on Tour? That would be a 489 -yard drive by Dustin Johnson, a shot he made at last year &# x27; s WGC-Dell Match Play, an episode for which the PGA does not officially log statistics .)

The causes for embarrassment and stipulation are many.( Was the drive made during a competition? On the PGA Tour? In match play or stroke play? How was it recorded ?) But eventually, “longest drive ever” is kind of a throwaway statistic. History &# x27; s farthest-flying tee fires are almost always flukes; they tend to say more about the flighty nature of prosperity than a actor &# x27; s prowess with a move. For a true feel of someone &# x27; s straddle, you really have to look at something called carry interval: how far the chunk circulates through the breath before reaching contact with a surface the same elevation as the tee box.

“I can carry it up to about 330 in the air, ” says Johnson, who is one of the highest-ranking actors on the PGA tour and among its hardest hitters , no matter how you appraise it. That &# x27; s on a good day; in 2018, Johnson &# x27; s longest carry was actually 337.9 gardens, but his average was 301.

Drives with carry lengths of more than 330 yards are rare. Still, every season, a handful of tour musicians manage to pull one off. Vastly scarcer are carries of more than 340 yards, or even 350. Harmonizing to the PGA &# x27; s stats page , no player has smashed 360 grounds. The last person to come close was JB Holmes, who managed in 2008 to mallet a projectile 356.9 gardens through the breath.( Take the Eiffel Tower, turn it on its side, and calibrate it from cornerstone to tip-off. That &# x27; s how far Holmes &# x27; pellet fly .)

Numbers like these matter to more than just stat-hungry consultants; they could have implications for the future of golf. The median length of PGA drives has been rising steadily for years, buoyed by improvements in training and equipment. In 2008, the year he had his brush with 360 grounds, Holmes was one of time seven golfers on Tour with an average carry distance of 290 yards or better. A decade later, “therere” 28 participates driving that far, with the top 10 all averaging 295.6 gardens or better.

Drive distances have increased so dramatically that many professionals believe that they &# x27; re rendition modern golf course obsolete. When participates can drive the ball over obstacles, it removes elements of strategy from video games. Lengthening a gap by advertise the tee casket back can help, but too settlement a puncture &# x27; s original designing. Even Tiger Woods has thoughts on the matter. “I just think it &# x27; s going too far, since we are &# x27; re having to build golf courses, if they want to have a championship venue, they &# x27; ve got to be 7,400 to 7,800 yards long, ” he said in an interview with UConn women’s basketball instruct Geno Auriemma in 2017. Tiger &# x27; s proposed solution: “We need to do something about the golf ball.”

Nerfing the lump would probably work. Around the turn of the millennium, professional players began to favor dances make use of concentric coatings of plastic and rubber over older poses, which makes generally made by winding rubber bands around a solid or liquid core. “What &# x27; s was the case with solid creations is the golf ball rotates less off the driver, which over the years has given the player the ability to further increase launch angle, and that launch angle coupled with lower spin is going to give players more distance, ” says Eric Loper, director of ball research and development at TaylorMade, the golf gear busines. The advent of multilayer pellets, he says, has “played a crucial role in increasing move distance over the last 20 years.”

But the ball is only part of the interval equation. The guild problems, too–everything from the length of its gibe to the angle of its face can affect a drive &# x27; s carry. There &# x27; s also a golf-club &# x27; s coefficient of refund, or COR, to consider. In essence, COR tells you how much force is transferred in a crash between the organization and the ball. If you fluctuate two otherwise analogous societies at the exact same quicken, the one with the higher COR will hit the ball farther. It &# x27; s described as a number between 0 and 1, and current rules state a clubhead’s COR can’t exces 0.83. Lowering the limit might also reduce golfers &# x27; range.

But even if the USGA cracks down on chunks and clubs, there &# x27; s no limiting how hard participates can hit the ball. In the growing sport of long driving( professional golf &# x27; s rowdy cousin ), top contestants strike hard enough to carry drives in excess of 400 gardens. Long-drive tournaments used to allow equipment that flouted PGA rules–but since 2017, participates have participated with societies and bullets that, while optimized for distance, are technically USG-Acompliant.

Players on the PGA Tour don &# x27; t shake the same way professional long moves do, who often brandish their sororities with such pleasure, and at such unexpected inclinations, that it propels them off balance. To ensure the ball travels where they want it to, Tour participates rarely, if ever, swaying as hard as they can.

And hitherto, sign does suggest that PGA participates are approaching some kind of limit. While it &# x27; s true that the number of golfers carrying drives 290 yards or more has increased markedly in recent years, the average carry distance among the games &# x27; most powerful operators has been fasten around 305 gardens for more than a decade.

The recent incident of Almost Impossible explores all of the above and more, to unpack the physics and physicality behind golf &# x27; s farthest-flying drives–and what it will take to carry them furthest, still.

Additional Reporting by Ryan Loughlin


Read more: https :// www.wired.com/ narrative/ almost-impossible-golf /

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