Professional Long Drive

The future of Professional Long Drive looks as strong as ever after the departure of World Long Drive (WLD) as the sports top series. For forty-six years top tier Professional Long Drive grew under the direction of the LDA then WLD. The Golf Channel (TGC) suspended operation of WLD in June 2020 amidst the COVID 19 pandemic.  TGC purchased the series in 2015.

Competition Opportunity

Opportunity for competition in the USA has multiplied with the efforts of  Xtreme Long Drive® (XLD™) and the Professional Long Drivers Association (PLDA).  Long Drivers of Japan (LDJ) have released an aggressive schedule for their series within Japan and have announced partnerships with South Korea and IGANZ. Other countries are suffering greatly from pandemic lockdowns and international travel is severely hampered.

Sponsorship Concerns

Concern among players centers primarily around the loss of TGCs television exposure and the impact to sponsorships. Add to the loss of TV exposure the economic uncertainties from the pandemic and all sponsorship concerns bear out. Recent growth in the sport and consequent purse size had given rise to hope that finally pro long drivers could live off their winnings.

Expectation Management

The largest challenge facing the sport, at the moment, is the incredible gap that exists between expectations and reality…at least for the near future. TGC created an amazing show and elevated player recognition to new heights. They created global sponsorship possibilities and distributed the sport’s content into over sixty countries. Players and fans alike quickly grew to expect the glitz and glamour afforded by a series owned by one of the richest companies (Comcast) in the world. Both, players and fans, must adjust their expectations as those in the sport navigate the challenges ahead.

Bright Future

In the three years prior to 2020, the sport was seeing growth in the amateur ranks. Amateur Long Drive™ (ALD™), owned and operated by Ultimate Long Drive, Inc., continued to make strides introducing long drive competition to all ages and abilities. ALD™ will serve as the feeder series for Professional Long Drive going forward. Most top-level amateur’s and many beginners aspire to be professionals. The level of interest and consequent participation in ALD™ assures the sport is headed in the right direction.