We talk with 2019 World Long Drive Champion, Kyle Berkshire’s longtime golf instructor (for over 10 years), Bernie Najar. In his interview we learn how he got started as a long drive competitor and some of the secrets to his rapid speed gains.
Kyle first came out to see me in 2009, and at that time he was 12 getting ready to play some high school golf. He wasn’t exactly a big 12 year old but you could tell he was an athlete, with a strong sports background primarily baseball.
There was something special about Kyle and I couldn’t put a finger on it back then but he was different. When you meet outliers sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what really makes them stand out.
One of his amazing skills is his ability to hyper-focus, hand eye coordination, and an ability to get in his own world completely focused on what he’s doing.
We see different growth velocities in junior golfers and in Kyle’s case he was not exactly the biggest kid and interestingly enough grew right before. His body was definitely on the late side in terms of growth velocity compared to most kids.
Because of that he went through a tough time. And that adversity I think has served them well. When he was playing junior golf from, 8-11 he was a fairly long hitter in his group. As he got into his teens, a lot of the kids he was playing with were hitting their growth spurts and taking off in terms of growth. And we’re bigger and stronger than him at the time.
He went from out driving a lot of them too, struggling to keep up with them off the tee.
That made him work really hard on developing a powerful golf swing from that adversity… because a big part of his drive in golf has always been hitting the ball far.
By the time his growth spurt started to kick in and because we did a nice job of taken advantage of his speed windows, he really got exponentially longer right before college.
All of a sudden I remember guys calling me up saying, wow, I just play with your student and I cannot believe how far he’s hitting the ball. As he got bigger and stronger, the hard work and just the overall training paid off more and more.
He went to North Texas and I remember him sending me a text with some launch monitor numbers. His club head speed was in the 120s and 170s… with his 3 wood.
I went back and looked in my computer at the Trackman numbers from three months before and it was a significant jump in a very short time.
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