Golf

Will Long Drive be golf's next big hitter?

Published 1029 GMT (1829 HKT) November 27, 2017
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Maurice Allen is one of the biggest hitters in the world of golf. Long Drive World Series
Allen is a professional long driver, capable of clubbing the ball almost 500 yards. So what's his secret?! "I have no clue," Allen told CNN. "The true answer is that it's god-given ability, something you're born with. Don't get me wrong -- that doesn't mean I don't train hard and work hard. But I don't think you could take the average Joe and say: 'hey mate, let's just go out there and I'll teach you how to hit the ball 300 yards when you hit it 200.'"
Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for DC&P Championsh
Allen and NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving pose for a picture at the Julius Erving Golf Classic at The ACE Club, Pennsylvania in September. Allen's big hitting, colorful clothing and enthusiastic celebrations are helping raising the profile of long drive competitions. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for PGD Global
Allen credits Tiger Woods with giving golf a swagger and energy that he is now trying to bring to the world of long drive competitions. "Tiger's athletic ability was beyond what the game had seen before," Allen says. "I'm not saying he's better than Jack (Nicklaus) or Arnie (Palmer) but it's how he did it." Ben Gabbe/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Citi
Britain's Joe Miller sizes up a drive at a Long Drive World Series event in the UK earlier this year. Miller is a another huge figure on the long drive circuit. The European-based Long Drive World Series, which both he and Allen compete on, is planning to stage 10 events in 2018. Stephen Makin/Long Drive World Series
Miller and his fellow long drivers generate incredible power off the tee. "Long drive pros play with extremely stiff graphite shafts compared to pro tour and amateur golfers," say Jon Wheat, professor of sport and exercise biomechanics at the UK's Sheffield Hallam University. "That's essentially because of the swing speeds -- the torques on the golf club are so much greater, and you can get warping and twisting." Stephen Makin/Long Drive World Series
American power hitter Will Hogue greets the crowd at a Long Drive World Series event staged at a polo club in Windsor, UK. Organizers are adding a bit of sparkle to proceedings, including pyrotechnics when the players walk onto the tee and after they smash their drives. Stephen Makin/Long Drive World Series
The distance golfers can hit the ball is a major talking point in the professional game. In a recent interview, Tiger Woods called on the sport's governing bodies to "roll back" the distance that the golf ball can travel because the pros are hitting it too far, warning that 8,000-yard courses are "not too far away" if technology keeps progressing the way it is. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America/Getty Images