Long Drive Driver Specs and Pro Models

By Nick Heidelberger

Maurice Allen teeing off

Competitive long drive is a mesmerizing blend of surgical precision and brute force. All drivers made today promise distance, but most also cater to modest swing speeds of golfers who hope to play their next shot from the fairway, or somewhere close to it. When distance at all costs is the only objective, driver equipment changes. Here’s a deeper look at what separates long drive drivers from the rest.

Long drive competitors get to swing out of their shoes without worrying about playing the next shot. But make no mistake, swinging a golf club more than 150 miles per hour and still managing to hit the center of the club face and keep it square enough at impact to find the 45-60 yard grid some 400 yards away requires an incredible amount of skill.

Long Drive Driver Specs

So what driver technology is helping those players get the most out of each and every violent swing? The main differences between a long drive driver and a regular driver are the loft, the length, and the shaft.

Loft of Long Drive Drivers

Maurice Allen won back-to-back World Long Drive Championships in 2017 and 2018, and oh by the way hit a golf ball across Niagara Falls. Allen plays a driver with just 4 degrees of loft. To put that into perspective, most casual golfers play between 9-11 degrees of loft in their drivers.

With such high swing speeds – Allen’s has topped out at 156 miles per hour – more loft creates more spin, which impedes distance. Long drive drivers are seeking low-launch and low-spin, hence the putter-like loft on the driver.

Long Drive Driver Length

Long drive drivers are literally longer than your standard driver. Allen uses a 48-inch driver, the same length Bryson DeChamebeau used when he took his first stab at long drive in the fall of 2021. By comparison, most drivers are at least a few inches shorter. Rory McIlroy, the longest driver on the PGA Tour in 2021 who didn’t also compete in a Long Drive competition, uses a 44.5-inch driver.

The philosophy behind a longer shaft is simple: the longer the shaft, the more club head speed. All things being equal, a longer lever will create more speed than a shorter lever. Of course, it takes more skill to control such a lever and actually realize the potential distance gains.

Long Drive Shafts

Finally, long drive drivers have shafts designed for the long ball. Not only are the shafts typically 48-inches long, but they are extremely stiff to accommodate topped-out swing speeds, and designed to optimize stability, control, and launch.

Are Long Drive Drivers USGA Legal?

The Professional Long Drivers Association mandates that drivers used in competition are USGA legal. For a long drive driver to be legal, it must meet two important USGA Rules. First, it must not exceed the maximum legal length, 48 inches. Second, the driver’s trampoline effect, scientifically called Coefficient Of Restitution (COR), must not exceed the limit of 0.830 (0.822 plus a 0.08 tolerance).

If you’re watching long drive on TV, the competitors are using USGA legal equipment. If you’re considering buying a long driver driver, most manufacturers make it clear whether or not the club conforms to USGA standards, but you can always check for yourself using the USGA’s list of conforming driver heads.

What Drivers Do Long Drivers Use?

While long drive drivers possess unfamiliar characteristics, many come from recognizable golf club manufacturers. Kyle Berkshire, one of the top long drivers in the game, uses a modified Cobra driver, as did Bryson DeChambeau during his PLDA long drive experiment. Callaway Golf has a line of Long Drive Spec drivers as well. Krank Golf specializes in long drive drivers, and also supplies many of the sport’s top performers with premium long drive drivers.

To show you how the equipment of one of the world’s best long drivers compares to that of one of the PGA Tour’s longest drivers, here’s a side-by-side look at Maurice Allen and Rory McIlroy’s drivers.

Maruice Allen

Rory McIlroy

Driver

Krank Golf Formula X Signature MA Driver

TaylorMade Stealth Plus

Loft

4 degrees

9 degrees (adjusted to 7.5)

Shaft

Fujikura Groove LD 3X Flex

Fujikura Ventus Black 6X

Length

48 inches

44.5 inches

Conclusion

Long drive is a sport that resembles golf in some ways, but is nothing like golf in many other ways. Same goes for the equipment. Show a person on the street a long drive driver and they instantly recognize they’re looking at a golf club. But a slightly closer look at the specs of a long drive driver reveals that these clubs hardly resemble a driver any golfer would use during a casual, or even competitive round of golf.

About the Author

Nick Heidelberger is the Editor of GolfLink and an active member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA). He covers all things golf, from the professional tours to rules, equipment, style, and golf history. In the years prior to joining GolfLink, he worked for the New England Section of the PGA of America. Nick has a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and has been an avid golfer for more than 10 years.