KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The World Long Drive golf competition is back in Kingsport this weekend and Monday. Professional golfers and spectators gathered at Meadowview Conference Center to witness some of the furthest-flying drives Kingsport has seen.
Under new ownership by GF Sports, the World Long Drive competition is back in the Model City for the first time since 2019 and is hosting a nationally televised broadcast during the event.
Among the attendees at the event were GF Sports & Entertainment President Shawn Tilger, City of Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull, the 2019 winner in Kingsport Kyle Berkshire and Visit Kingsport President and Chief Tourism Officer Frank Lett.
News Channel 11 spoke with the 4th-best pro long drive golfer in the world, Josh Koch, who said the community support helps dissolve nerves brought on by windy and humid conditions.
“The whole community comes out,” he said. “They get behind us. We feed off of it. We put on a better show. Because of that, balls go further it’s an adrenaline impact. There’s no better feeling than getting up and hitting bombs and doing what you love in fun, out in front of a lot of people and entertaining them.”
Koch said the muggy heat of Northeast Tennessee is a vast difference from the last competition spot in Utah and poses an added challenge to the game.
“Weather always plays a role. Obviously, you know, wind is going to affect certain shot shapes more than others. So it’s going to favor certain players who like to shape the ball in certain ways. It’s really warm here. Our last event was in Salt Lake City. So it wasn’t this warm. It wasn’t this humid. A lot of guys are going to be battling sweaty hands.”
The World Long Drive takes place at Meadowview in Kingsport through Monday, Aug. 28. Tickets can be purchased online; kids aged 12 and under are free.