Forget everything you knew about Kyle Berkshire. All the Google posts displaying the answers to questions like: “How far can Kyle Berkshire hit a golf ball?” and, “How fast does Kyle Berkshire swing?” and, “What is the longest ball ever hit off a tee?”
Everything you find on this long-hitting beast from Maryland is old news as of Oct. 2, 2023.
On Monday, Berkshire hit a golf ball farther than any human being has ever hit one in recorded history at nearly 580 yards. Later in the day he topped that off with a record ball speed off the club — an astounding 241.7 mph.
No one in the world of golf has ever done what Kyle Berkshire can do. And at 26, he’s still getting stronger, longer and better.
“I'm far from peaking,” Berkshire said.
Professional long drive competitors are in their own league. They’re golfers on steroids. Well, not literally; that would be illegal.
But long-ball hitters like Berkshire, who is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, are part of an elite group of golfers who specialize in hitting the ball a long, long, long way. They are not working on their short game or practicing putting. You’ll find these freaks of nature in the weight room, mostly.
Put it in perspective. Some of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour — guys like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau — don’t send balls as far as Berkshire. Not close.
Irish superstar McIlroy has recorded a 427-yard drive off the tee in competition. Power driver DeChambeau, who has actually competed in long drive competitions as well as being a current member on the LIV Golf League, registered a 480-yard drive in 2021. Woods once hit a 498-yarder at the 2002 Mercedes Championship.
Berkshire outdrives them all on a regular basis. His record drive Monday was recorded on the eighth ball he hit that morning on the 12th hole tee at Rochelle Ranch Golf Course in Rawlins, Wyoming.
“That’s gone,” someone shouted after Berkshire wailed the Titleist Pro V1x Left Dash golf ball so high and so far, no one there could follow it with the naked eye off the club.
Berkshire’s team has learned that even his fancy 3D Doppler Tracking Golf Radar — specially designed to provide data like vertical launch angle, spin rate and all sorts of trajectory metrics — is useless. It can’t even follow Berkshire’s balls.
“Oh, that’s it,” Berkshire said as he nearly toppled over on the follow-through.
The record-setting ball carried 515 yards in the air. At 200 yards, when most golfers’ drives have apexed and are returning to earth, Berkshire’s bomb was still rising. It didn’t land for a full 11 seconds.
The radio crackled at the other end, “We have a visual ... 577.”
Engineers on a survey crew, the kind you see on the side of the highway measuring distances, later confirmed the drive at 579.66 yards, beating the old world record by at least 26 yards.
Why Rochelle Ranch?
Berkshire played the Rawlins course a few years ago at the advice of a friend. He almost blew it off, but one day he was passing by the mammoth-sized city-owned course that lies alongside Interstate 80.
“I remembered someone said I should play there because it is so long. And I had it in the back of my mind to maybe check it out one day,” Berkshire said. “Then I happen to be driving by and I glance over and see the golf course and wonder if that is it.
“I'm thinking to myself for a while and look over again after about a minute, and I'm doing, like, 80 mph, and I'm still not past the course yet. I think, ‘This thing is gigantic.’”
Berkshire got off at the next exit, grabbed a last-minute tee time the next morning at 11 and shot a round of 18 at 6,800 feet above sea level. He knew instantly he’d be back one day.
The Ken Kavanaugh-designed links is the longest golf course in Wyoming, 7,925 yards from the pro tees, and rated the No. 29 most difficult course in America by Golf Digest in 2007.
The Longest Of Long Balls
Still, it wasn’t enough golf course to hold Berkshire.
“Originally, we had thought to have him just hit off 14. That’s 653 [yards] from the horseshoe tee box,” said head golf pro Kevin Gannon. “But wind conditions were such we thought better to have him tee on 12 and shoot toward the 14th green.”
So, essentially, Berkshire hit a ball off the 12th tee near the maintenance building, over the 13th hole, over part of the fairway on 18, and approached the green on the 14th. It’s a two-minute cart ride from where Berkshire teed off to where the ball landed.
“It’s crazy. He’s special,” Gannon said. “We’ve been playing golf for what, 800 years? You don’t get a guy like this come along very often. Ever, really.”
And that swing?
Berkshire puts everything into it, but it is not the running slapshot swing of “Happy Gilmore.” Berkshire is technically honed, fundamentally sound, and his mechanics are flawless. He works with the finest golf pros and sports psychologists in the field.
Berkshire is physically gifted athlete as well as a finetuned machine.
“The thing is, when you watch him, he doesn’t hit a lot of wayward shots. They are all in a tunnel — maybe 20-25 yards apart. It’s something else,” Gannon said. “He’s got a very, very good fundamental golf swing. He gets in a really good position at the top and he just fires it. He creates so much speed and torque. I’ve never seen anyone like him.”
Shot Heard ’Round The World
Kyle Berkshire is a two-time World Long Drive Champion. He did it in 2019 and 2021. Martin Borgmeier took the 2022 championship with a 426-yard drive in Mesquite, Nevada. The tall German also made claims earlier this year to have hit a 520-yard drive that would be long enough to break the longstanding Guinness World Record shot (in a regulation golf match) by Mike Austin when he hit a 515-yard ball off the tee in 1974.
Both those drives pale in comparison to Mark Dobbyn’s 551-yarder that has been the mark to beat since the 6-8, 310-pound professional long-drive golfer set that in 2007.
Now, make room for Berkshire. His shot heard ’round the world Monday smashes the old record by more than 28 yards. And Berkshire did it on a cold, blustery day in October.
“We measured a ball speed of 233 mph in 52-degree weather. I don’t know of two other people in the world that can do that,” Berkshire told Cowboy State Daily. “I am going to come back here next summer when it’s 85 degrees and go for 600. In fact, I bet I could hit one 630, maybe 640 yards. Easy.”
Berkshire attempted to come back out in the afternoon for another try, but the weather did not comply. Instead, the tables and chairs were moved aside in the 19th Hole Bar & Grille. A net was set up along with a device called the TrackMan that measures ball speed off the club.
The heat was cranked to an unbearable 80 degrees and Berkshire began pounding the living daylights out of golf balls. After about 30 or more he still could not get to the 240-mph mark. Berkshire was trying to top his own record (236.2 mph) set in December 2022.
Berkshire appeared to be tiring, but was encouraged by his club head speed, which remained consistent in the 160-mph range. For reference, most professional golfers swing a club at around 110-125 mph, and top out at ball speeds of about 185 mph.
“It’s there. I'm there. It’s going to happen today, right now. I just need to line one up flush,” Berkshire repeated to the small gathering between sips of Diet Coke and frantic pacing between shots.
Berkshire set down his drink, fiddled with his phone to send just the right pump-up song to his AirPods, and approached the ball.
A roar. He did it. 241.6 mph off his Cobra brand driver.
Records will continue to fall. Expect it.
But for now, Kyle Berkshire just hit a couple golf balls harder and farther than anyone on the planet. And he did it in Rawlins, Wyoming.