Long Drive Golf has emerged as one of Europe’s breakthrough sports, expanding the audience and redefining engagement within golf.
InsiderSport spoke to Martin Westney, the CEO of the Long Drive World Series, who detailed what the future holds for the game as it continues to grow and become an established live sporting experience.
InsiderSport: Firstly, can you tell us a little more about the Long Drive World Series and what led to the formation of this type of Golf?
Martin Westney: Long drive has been around for about 30 years, mostly in the USA. I was approached by a couple of players to help put on a couple of events, it went so well that LDWS was born.
InsiderSport: You’re bringing the event to York Hall, what type of atmosphere are you trying to create at the event and what can spectators look forward to in London?
Martin Westney: I took the lead from the PDC darts, music, shouting, singing, drinking, so imagine that scenario but we are hitting into a huge simulator not throwing darts.
InsiderSport: How much can Long Drive Golf expand its audience beyond that of regular golf and can the sport retain the interest of standard format golf fans?
Martin Westney: There is a massive opportunity to grow the sport and the fan base as its still very new to most people. It transcends just golf, its a power sport, they guys train in the gym everyday, most players 6ft 5 plus so very appealing to a younger demographic who want action, fast pace and power.
InsiderSport: How important is it that you build the characters and narrative behind the Golfers involved in the Long Drive World Series?
Martin Westney: For me it’s vital. It’s all about the players. If the audience doesn’t buy into the players then there are no ‘stars’ and no one will want to follow.
InsiderSport: Are you able to detail more about why partnering with the Long Drive World Series provides such an opportunity for brands?
Martin Westney: Partnering with LDWS gives sponsors an opportunity to appeal to a wide demographic in age but also a demographic that is higher in earnings as golf is predominantly a ‘middle class’ sport. We have people attending events from kids to people in their 70’s, its an exciting event to watch and has a massive ‘feel good’ factor to it.
InsiderSport: In terms of live betting and engagement, can you detail the potential of Long Drive Golf?
Martin Westney: Long Drive is perfect for betting, especially in play. Each ball is unique, OB left or right, handicap on yards, total yards per match etc let alone the standard ‘who will win’ bet, the list is endless.