Kyle Berkshire: What Was on His Mind before Winning The World Long Drive

Kyle Berkshire, 2023 World Long Drive Championship,(Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)
Kyle Berkshire, 2023 World Long Drive Championship,(Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images) /

To tune up for the World Long Drive Championship, Kyle Berkshire ended up doing something outrageous. Setting a new record for the longest drive ever.

My co-host for The Golf Show 2.0, Gary Van Sickle, and I interviewed Berkshire just before the World Long Drive in Atlanta. Berkshire shared some background on setting his new record.

It was late September. Berkshire was headed west on I-80, going to California where he had planned some filming with Michael Block, the PGA pro who made such a splash at last spring’s PGA Championship, when he happened to pass a golf course. The holes looked long. It was Rochelle Ranch Golf Club, a daily fee course in Rawlins, Wyoming.

He had heard about the course. It was supposed to be nearly 8,000 yards in length. (Ok 7,925, if you’re going to be picky). He thought there should surely be a place where his team could lay out a grid for a monster attempt. So, he did what a lot of avid golfers do. He got out of the car and played it.

"“I kind of realized at that point, you know, this is where I could hit the longest drive ever recorded.”  — Kyle Berkshire"

By the time he got to the back nine, he saw hole configurations that made him think it would be perfect for him to make the attempt.

“On that particular day, it was straight down wind on the 14th hole, and I hit a drive like 480-490, and again, just my swing, just kind of swinging it, not really going at it,” he explained. “So, I kind of realized at that point, you know, this is where I could hit the longest drive ever recorded.”

Kyle Berkshire knew the current number was 551 yards. He saw a couple of holes where he thought his team could lay out a grid for a monster attempt. When he got to California, he got his posse together to figure it out.

Now, after Berkshire first became famous for winning the World Long Drive, he and some others started a YouTube group called The Bombers Club.

“I thought this would be a great way to jumpstart that group is by doing it with the crew that I had and with the backing of 8 AM Golf (Justin Timberlake) and all those people,” he explained.

However, the execs at club manufacturers that are his sponsors said they wanted to wait and pair it with their driver introductions. Kyle Berkshire pointed out that Wyoming in February, when introductions for new drivers are done, is a non-starter. It’s most likely snow-covered and freezing.

Berkshire wanted to go back to Wyoming before the ground was frozen. He must have really had a feeling about this course. With the World Long Drive Championship on the horizon and winter coming soon to Rochelle Ranch, he saw the opportunity to do it in Wyoming, on a course that he felt was perfect for him. He did not want to wait. It was something he wanted to try right away.

Kyle Berkshire called the golf course to find out what kind of weather they anticipated for the next few weeks. They told him it would be “sketchy” and that their season typically ended mid-October. But they didn’t say no.

He had a crew assembled already, and they shortened their Michael Block filming by a day, piled into vehicles, and headed north. They were going to give it a try.

“It was supposed to be 68-69 degrees, 25 mph winds straight down wind, but it ended up being a high of like 52 after the fact and like rain most of the day,” Berkshire said. “Two of my group members were playing a match in the morning to get some content for us and (we were) planning on doing the attempt at four (in the afternoon).”

Originally, they were going to hit off the 14th tee, but the angle of the wind didn’t work, and they moved it from the 12th green, over the 18th fairway and onto the dogleg end of the 14th fairway.  So basically, Kyle Berkshire was hitting over three holes, not just one.

“We were able to paint a grid off of that so that’s why people see two different grid lines painted,” he explained. “I had one grid and then an alternate grid in case the weather didn’t cooperate.”

The team had finished preparations. Berkshire was in the clubhouse when suddenly, one of his team members came rushing into the clubhouse and said they needed to go immediately because the wind was perfect for the attempt and rain was on the way. So much for the forecast.

“We actually scrambled over a 100 people inside of 15 minutes. He told me this at 11:45. I had balls in the air 12:05,” Berkshire explained. “It was one of those things where it was unbelievably clutch because by that time, I only had about a 30-minute window to hit before the rain came.”

With the cameras rolling and measuring experts watching, wind and rain approaching, and some spectators at the ready, Kyle Berkshire began his effort.  His focus was on trying to beat 551. It did not take long, which was really miraculous.

Kyle Berkshire didn’t break the record. He demolished it.

“I did it on my eighth ball. 579,” he said. “But what happened was the wind quickly started shifting from a helping crosswind to a straight crosswind and then the rain hit. We had about a 25-30 minute window, all told, for me to do it.”

His original plan was to try to break the distance record during mid-day and then to go for a 600-yard drive later on in the afternoon, thinking the rain would blow through.

“By the time three or four rolled around, the weather was completely impossible,” he said. “I mean it was driving rain, just in a headwind on both grids, so it would have been a complete zero.”

However, all kinds of people materialized after hearing about his attempt.

“I didn’t want them showing up and to not get to watch anything so we were sitting in the grill room, and I felt like the carpet was pretty sturdy,” he said.

"“Our sponsor for that video was The Net Return, so we actually brought the net inside, cleared out the tables and all that from the grill room, and I did a speed session in the grill room just to hit some balls and I ended up setting a world record ball speed later that afternoon at 241.7 MPH. So, it was a really cool thing. It was kind of nice to double dip on records!”"

LIV Denied OWGR Points. dark. Next

If you like to know dates when things happen, it was October 2. Twenty days later, on October 22, Kyle Berkshire won his third World Long Drive Championship.

Don’t be surprised if he heads back to Rochelle Ranch in the spring to try for a 600-yard drive.