Who Hit the Longest Golf Drive Ever?

By Aaron Wein


As golf club technology advances, players are driving the ball straighter, farther and with more consistency off the tee. Often, players on the PGA Tour build their game around long drives to create short approach shots, sometimes sacrificing trajectory for a few dozen extra yards off the tee. So with the advent of bigger, more advanced drivers, who has the longest recorded shot in the history of the sport? The answer might surprise you.

Ideal Weather Conditions

The best conditions for long hitters are hot, dry areas. The air thickens in cooler temperatures, creating more resistance to ball flight. In addition, hitting at altitude will also add distance as the thin air provides less resistance than air closer to sea level. 

Longest Recorded PGA Tour Drive - 515 Yards

In Sept. 25, 1974, Mike Austin rocketed a drive 515 yards on a 450 yard par 4 with a persimmon wood driver while competing in the U.S. National Senior Open Championship at Desert Rose Resort, Las Vegas. What's even more amazing was that Austin, now deceased, was 64 at the time he set the record.

Weather and altitude played a role in Austin's 515 yard drive. Weather reports for the day report potential hot tailwinds of up to 35 mph. The Las Vegas course is at an altitude of over 2,000 feet above sea level. Despite this advantage, it is important to remember Austin was using a wooden club and a balata ball, both of which have been replaced by more technologically advanced equipment. The closest drive at a PGA Tour event occurred in 2004 with much more modern equipment, Davis Love III's respectable 476 yarder at the Mercedes Championship. 

Austin's Unconventional Swing

Austin's secret, as he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, is his use of physics. Austin applied his undergraduate degree in physics and his doctoral in kinesiology to his swing. The result, Austin said, was something you wouldn't see PGA pros emulate today because his swing relied more on the uniformity of muscle movement rather than raw strength and power. It's also worth noting that despite his impressive drive, he still recorded a bogey on the hole. 

An Otherworldly Drive - 1 Million Miles

If you want to be literal about the longest drive ever recorded, you'd have to give it to American astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, although he did have an unfair advantage. Using a six-iron, Lopez-Alegria struck a ball one-handed while tethered to the International Space Station in 2004. NASA predicts the ball will fly approximately 1 million miles before disintegrating into Earth's atmosphere.

About The Author

Aaron Wein has been a professional writer since 2004, focusing on sports journalism. He obtained a degree in journalism from Western Washington University in 2008. He's written and edited for Northwest Washington based publications, such as the "Bellingham Herald," "Western Athletics," "GNAC Sports" and Next Season Sports.

Subscribe Today

Get our best training tips, videos, and tee times deals -- straight to your inbox

Tee Times Deals to your inbox
Join our mailing list today!


Aaron J. unlocked the Ace Achievement!
Placed #1 on the Dominion ValleyLeaderboard .

Aaron J. unlocked the Golden Golfer Achievement!
Recorded 10 rounds.

Aaron J.  Scored 83 at  Babe Zaharias Tampa, Florida

Dan F.  just went PRO!

Rod N.  just went PRO!

View Activity Feed

Video of the Day
Overview Watch Video>>

Tee Time Deals

Sunday, Mar 18 to Friday, Mar 23

Related Articles

Article Image Becoming a Golf Professional

Becoming a professional golfer can seem like a daunting task. Millions ...

Article Image How to Become a Golf Teacher

Most golf teachers start out with the dream of becoming a great player ...

Article Image How to Become a PGA Class A Member

You love the game of golf and you have dreamed of a career on the pro t...

Article Image How to Become a PGA Golf Professional

You love the game of golf, and you are good at it. Perhaps you're a gre...

Article Image How Does A Golf Scholarship Work?

Earning a golf scholarship is a great way to get a college education fo...

View All Related Articles

More Golf Articles

Grants for Female Golfers
Since the early 1970s, women's sports has grown exponentially in the United States. For organizers, coaches and athletes, there are a plethora of ......