A few months ago, Bryson DeChambeau entered the arena of competitive long drive, one that is currently ruled by top-ranked Kyle Berkshire. On Thursday, Berkshire took a crack at DeChambeau’s profession.
Berkshire played his first tee-to-green tournament in about six years on Thursday in Lake Wales, Florida. The 25-year-old Berkshire, who competed collegiately for two seasons at North Texas before transitioning to long drive, tied for 43rd in a one-day, 50-player Minor League Golf Tour event after shooting 5-over 76 on The Fountains Country Club’s West Course, 12 shots worse than winner Ben Silverman.
“Didn’t lose my shots from anything major, just hit a few approach shots that were right at the pin but were long or short and couldn’t get up and down,” said Berkshire, who went out in even-par 35 but closed with a back-nine 41. “I’ve been working my butt off the past few months and getting this first competitive round under my belt was a big step for me, because while I’m used to being in the public eye as a long driver, I’m not used to that as a golfer, and I definitely felt a lot of pressure to perform to a certain standard which made it tough to feel relaxed out there. As I continue to get more competitive rounds under my belt, I know I’ll start learning how to handle things better and that should lead to lower scores.”
Berkshire, whose speed numbers are eye-popping (over 150 mph of clubhead speed, over 230 mph of ball speed), is well decorated in the sport of long drive, most recently winning the PLDA World Championship’s open-division title last October with a long drive of 422 yards in the final against Justin James.
Moving forward, his goal is to stay on top of the long-drive rankings while charting a second career on the traditional golf course.
“Professional golf is hard, and these guys are good, and I’m very motivated to continue developing my game as much as I can,” Berkshire added. “More than anything I’m thankful to finally be at a place in my life where I can do both long drive and golf at a competitive level. It’ll be a long journey, but it’s one I’m grateful to be on.”