2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and his father Mark Bradley, PGA.PGA of America
When you consider all sports, golf may arguably be the easiest to take part in with your family. Golf is the ultimate generational sport, enjoyed by kids as young as three, as well as kids at heart as old as 100 years young. Golf is widely known as a sport that is enjoyed and passed down throughout generations.
Mark Bradley is a 26-year PGA Member who hangs his hat at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club in Jackson, WY. I had the pleasure of catching up with Mark recently and he shared some thoughts on the game and what a major part it has played within his family over the years.
The Bradley family is known for having a very unique distinction within the world of golf. An LPGA Tour member, PGA of America member and a PGA Tour member all in the same bloodline. Beyond Mark being a PGA Professional, where his membership was obtained in 1997, his sister, Pat, was an LPGA Tour standout and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1991. Pat became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1974 and won 31 tour events, including six major championships.
“Our parents owned a ski shop when I was growing up. My dad caddied as a kid and loved golf. He said to my mother that he wanted to introduce his kids to 'the game of integrity'. My sister Pat, and I started playing at the ages of 9 and 11.” Mark explained.
When Mark’s son, Keegan, was 3 years of age, he picked up a golf club for the first time. Little did Mark know at that time, Keegan would go on to cement his own place in the golf world.
Keegan burst onto the golf scene in 2011, as a PGA Tour rookie. In winning the PGA Championship that year, he joined a very short list of first-time winners in their major championship debut. Now, Keegan Bradley has been part of the PGA Tour landscape for over a decade.
With 4 PGA Tour wins, including that 2011 PGA Championship, 2 Ryder Cup appearances and 1 Presidents Cup appearance, Keegan has cemented his place in the history of the game.
“When Keegan was born, I coached skiing and was a Club Professional. We skied in the winter (Keegan was an excellent skier) and we played golf in the summer. Keegan came to work with me every day at the golf course for years. He practiced and played, and played, and played some more.” Mark recalled.
When Keegan was young, Mark looked to instill important life lessons on him through golf.
“Count all your strokes and stay patient. Keegan used to get mad if things weren’t going well while he was playing. I told him that kind of behavior never worked for me.”
For many dads that bring their children up in the game, getting out onto the course together is always a thrill and something that creates a long-lasting bond. For Mark, that was no different, as he spent a lot of time on the course with Keegan. I asked him what on course games he played with Keegan when he was young.
“We played Ryder Cup/Walker Cup. If he hit a good shot, he could ride in the cart. If his shot was not so good, I made him walk. We had so much fun with that. (No offense to the great Walker Cup players.) So, you can imagine how great it was when he played on the Ryder Cup team representing the USA!”
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to also chat with Keegan. One thing I asked him then was how much of a role his aunt Pat Bradley played in his development as a player.
Keegan said, “Aunt Pat has been an unbelievable mentor for me over the years. She has had such a great influence on me, and I like to think that we are both very similar. She has taught me the importance of focus and intensity. Not only in competition, but in practice.”
The Bradleys are just one shining example of millions, that show how the game can play such an integral part in creating a lifetime of memories and experiences. Mark summed it up best: “It’s one of the greatest family sports there is. We have had so much fun over the years teeing it up together.”