Every golfer wants to hit the golf ball longer, and literally no human hits it longer than Kyle Berkshire.
Berkshire’s distance resume speaks for itself. He recently won the 2021 World Long Drive Championship, he was the first to break the 230 mph ball speed barrier and he’s also nearing 160 mph of swing speed with the driver. For reference, the average swing speed on the PGA Tour is around 113 mph.
Berkshire has all of the accolades on the World Long Drive tour, but he remains hungry for more. At just 24, he says his fastest speeds and longest drives are likely ahead of him, and he works tirelessly toward his speed goals.
Recently, during a Cobra-Puma media day event — alongside Formula F1 Ferrari-sponsored racers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz — I spent time with Berkshire and learned about his process for creating more distance. I saw firsthand his mind-blowing speed, and I also got myself into a long drive contest against Berkshire that didn’t go very well for me (more on that story in the Fully Equipped podcast below).
By combining natural talent with education and hard work, Berkshire has learned how to create distance. During the day with Berkshire, I was a sponge for information.
Here are 6 things I learned from Berkshire about hitting the golf ball farther.
1) Low reps, high weight and … sprints?
Berkshire is all about creating power, and that starts with tuning his body without a golf club in his hands. But for all of the fancy new-age workouts, Berkshire keeps it quite simple.
“I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes to [working out],” Berkshire said. “I recommend the big three lifts in power lifting: squat, bench press, dead lift. Overhead press, as well. Olympic lifting, definitely, I incorporate 3-5 times a week. I keep the reps low, I keep the weight high.”
If you’re not a big gym rat – and I don’t blame you – maybe you can try Berkshire’s other favorite training drill that doesn’t require a gym membership.
Berkshire says that when he was training for the World Long Drive Contest, he would do sprints in the morning 3-5 times per week.
“I want my body to be used to moving fast… my goal is I want to put on as much strength as possible without putting on a lot of size. I found that the more size I put on, the harder it is to get to certain positions in my swing.”
2) No swing tips necessary
According to Berkshire, you can increase speed and distance without changing your swing technique at all.
Those are like magic words to any golfer, aren’t they? More distance without any hard work? Sign me up!
Well, not quite. If you want to build more speed like Berkshire, you’ll still have to put in the hard work on the range.
“The big thing is I’ll hit 300 balls in the morning and 300 balls in the afternoon, typically,” Berkshire said.
That means 10 bags worth of the typical 30-ball buckets at your local range, and he does so all using his driver. You’ll also want to throw in a few shorter sessions where you’re swinging all-out with no regard for where the ball goes.
“Three times a week, I’ll swing 50 drivers as hard as I possibly can,” Berkshire continued. “You should be spraying it all over the place, because you’re overloading your central nervous system. Once it’s overloaded, you sleep that night, you recover, you eat food and it comes back stronger. You’ll fire your swing faster, and then with the increased strength from the gym, you’ll progress even quicker.
“And what you’ll be left with is your same swing. No swing tips here. What’s going to happen is your swing is going to be the same, it’s just going to fire and happen quicker and create more speed.”
3) Eat clean, and eat a lot
Berkshire works hard in the gym and on the range, and he leads an active lifestyle. As such, he needs to fuel his system and also keep from losing too much mass.
Of course, that doesn’t mean pounding burgers, fries and ice cream. Although Berkshire says he “indulges” every so often, he sticks to healthy whole foods such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables and carbs to reach his nutrition goals.
“When I’m prepping for Worlds, I need to eat 6,000-7,000 calories a day to keep from losing weight,” Berkshire says. “So I try to eat as much clean food as I can…in the off-season, like I am now, I try to have about 300 grams of protein a day, 500 grams of carbs and maybe 80 grams of fat. That adds up to roughly 3,600-3,800 calories a day because I’m still training every day…I will definitely indulge a little bit, but I do treat my body like a temple. I do want it to run at its best so I choose my food accordingly. So whole food sources is probably 90 percent of my diet.”
To build more distance in your game, combine fitness with nutrition. The engine of your swing needs to stay finely tuned to hold up to the increased speed training and gym work.
4) Find the right driver and shaft
You can swing as fast and hard as you want, but if you don’t have the right driver in your hands, you’ll never be able to truly maximize distance for your swing.
In Berkshire’s bag, he carries three different drivers for different purposes. He has two 48-inch drivers that are his competition weapons, and a shorter build that he uses when he actually plays golf on the course. The longer drivers have flexible shafts because he wants to release the clubhead and hit a draw. His shorter, on-course shaft, though, has a very stiff flex because he wants to hold the face off and hit a controlled fade. It’s more difficult to release the club head with a driver that has a stiffer shaft.
The driver that you need depends on your swing and your goals. To get the most out of your driver, consult a trusted fitter or local professional to see what clubhead, loft, shaft, flex and length are correct for you.
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Cobra Radspeed Driver
5) No stretching
Staying injury-free is crucial for Berkshire to continue honing his craft and building speed. While it may seem counterintuitive to some, he doesn’t do any stretches before swinging or lifting.
“I don’t stretch,” Berkshire said. “I do not stretch because I found when you stretch a cold muscle before you exercise, or [swing], the muscle can actually be at a higher risk of injury. Because when you’re stretching a muscle that’s cold, it doesn’t have the malleability of a warm muscle.”
Instead, Berkshire opts for a more relaxing way to engage the muscles.
“The other thing I’ll do is get massages 3-4 times a week, trying to keep the muscles open and relaxed,” Berkshire said.
6) ‘Kill it’
Swing thoughts can truly help determine the outcome of your shots. Some people get bogged down with technical positions or fear-inducing thoughts that cause tentative swings.
Berkshire’s swing thought is simple: “Kill it.”
He says this thought helps get him mentally prepared to swing the hardest that he can. When you’re looking to rip the farthest drive you’ve ever hit, you don’t want tension, you just want to kill it.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2021? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below!