Golf may be a game of nuance, but that doesn’t mean there are never any amazing feats. Some iconic moments in the history of the sport involve players taking big swings on the course -- both figuratively and literally. We’re examining the longest drives in golf history, from the average drive in PGA play all the way up to the longest possible drive ever recorded.
Now, when we say “drives”, we’re not talking about how long it takes to get a golf cart around the course. Any golfer or fan of the game will know that a drive is a long distance shot played from the tee box and must land in the grid. These shots are intended to move the ball a maximum distance and make exciting moments in a game. Indeed, watching tournament golfers hit long drives of several hundred yards might have you wondering: how far can you hit a golf ball? Let’s see what the statistics have to say.
Think 300 yards is far?
Drive distances can vary greatly, with the average PGA drive capping out at just under 300 yards. Individual player averages often hover around this number as well. However, due to the variation in drive distances, a player’s average distance is likely not representative of their peak performance. A golfer with an average of 300 across 150 shots could easily hit several 400, 500, or even 600 yard drives, only to be balanced out by much shorter drives when the distances are averaged.
To pro golfers known for their drive distance, 300 yards is just a warmup. In fact, you won’t find anything under 400 on a list of the longest drives in golf history. For example, Davis Love III hit a 476 yard drive in 2004 at the Mercedes Championship, followed by Dustin Johnson, who came in at 489 yards at an untelevised event in 2019. Next up is Tiger Woods who drove an impressive 498 yards at the 2002 Mercedes championship, just two years before Davis Love’s iconic shot. The runner up for longest drive in golf history is Mike Austin with 515 yards at the 1974 National Seniors Open Championship. He was 64 years old at the time. Finally, Carl Cooper holds the record for longest drive in golf history, a colossal claim of 787 yards at the 1992 Texas Open.
787 yards? Really?
Though Carl Cooper’s 787 yard drive is, so far, indisputably the longest drive in golf history, that doesn’t mean it was a particularly good shot. Cooper had what some would call a disastrous start to the Texas Open when his record breaking drive sent his ball flying wildly past the green. Though Carl Cooper will forever be remembered as an iconic figure of sports lore, he’s not exactly remembered for being an iconic golfer. while his ball ended up 787 yards off the tee, it had some help to travel the distance.
Learn the best way to hit the ball further without hitting it too far, by taking individualized lessons with golf instructors. Golf lessons can help you put more power behind your swing while still retaining the finesse that the sport requires. And our Golf Academy has a first-class facility for its members and we are committed to helping our members play their best golf. Join Calabasas Country Club and get ready to hit from the tee on to the green.