LONG DRIVES AT THE PGA

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

At the US PGA Cham­pi­onship they hold a long­est drive compo on the Tues­day.This year’s win­ner was Korean Ben An with a drive of 347 yards, two yards longer than Rory McIl­roy, with Nic Col­saerts at 341. The drives weren’t any longer than in the pre­vi­ous decades of per­sim­mon woods. In 1982,Andy Bean hit his drive 346 yards, and in 1963 Jack Nick­laus reached 341.

So there has been a neg­li­gi­ble gain of dis­tance in 53 years de­spite all the hype about balls that fly faster / higher / bet­ter / fur­ther, and “this club will give you 20 yards” – which sales­men have been promis­ing ev­ery year for over 20 years.

How­ever, I do re­alise that to­day’s driv­ers have a larger sweet-spot and are more for­giv­ing. Our club pro at South­b­room on the KZN South Coast, Derek James, has been play­ing with an old metal-head Call­away Big Bertha War­bird re­cently, and hit­ting it so well, out­driv­ing quite a few big hit­ters lo­cally. Bernie Vorster, South­b­room Golf has al­ways had its ex­cep­tion­ally long hit­ters, but tech­nol­ogy has meant that the av­er­age driv­ing dis­tance on the pro­fes­sional tours is now longer than it ever was. And to­day’s truly long hit­ters are spec­tac­u­lar to watch.Young Amer­i­can Justin Thomas, fea­tured in this is­sue (Page 7) hit a drive mea­sured at 414 yards in the WGC-Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional in July, three yards longer than Bubba Wat­son’s best of 411 in Hawaii and 409 at Peb­ble Beach. Our own Ge­orge Coet­zee had a 398-yard drive at the Cana­dian Open.

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