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Back You are here: Home Sports Golf W-Cape Golf: Profile of Sean Bradley - Man on A Mission
Thursday, 28 November 2013 10:04

Golf: Profile of Sean Bradley - Man on A Mission

Written by  Jaco Zeeman

Camouflaged in between the abundance of rugby and cricket talent flowering around the Cape, is one of the best kept golfing secrets in the country. Wynberg Boys’ High prodigy, Sean Ernest Bradley is on a mission to go pro and if his achievements of the past four years as golfer, are anything to go by, we might well be featuring the next Louis Oosthuizen or Ernie Els.

 

For 18 year old Sean it all started back in 2009 when he decided to “give it a try” seeing that his father was quite a handy golfer. Although a promising cricketer at the time, Sean fell in love with the game of golf during his Grade 8 year and has never looked back since. Initially it was hard for Sean to decide between the two sports, but his love for golf grew steadily along with his involvement. Although earning the much coveted status as 1ST XI cricketer at Wynberg, he eventually had to part ways with his cricket bat in order to swing his golf clubs.

It wasn’t easy from the word go. Sean explains his disappointment of missing the W.P. U14 team in his first year of playing golf by one spot. Since then Sean has only gone from strength to strength showing real bounce-back ability by going on to make W.P. U16 the following year as well as going unbeaten in the tournament.

The youngster, who currently plays off a +1 handicap, is ranked 6th in the junior W.P. order of merit and 10th in the open W.P. order of merit. He has an unofficial clothing sponsor from Swagg Clothing who generously kit him out for all his tournaments. He has represented the Wynberg 1st team, the W.P. U19A and the W.P. U23 team in recent times, to go along with being placed 10th overall at the Kenako World Junior Championships in George earlier this year.

Sean is a right-handed golfer who hits the ball 280 meters off the tee on average – a long way by anyone’s standards. Other qualities in his game includes the simplicity with which he approaches each and every shot, his philosophy is simple: “see it and hit it”. He believes that if he ups his putting game it would render significant return and elevate his performances to new heights. He is also a strong believer in proper preparation before a tournament: “I like to familiarise myself with the course, identify possible pin positions and study the wind direction with my dad”. Sean also cites the voice overs of well-known golf psychologist Bob Rotellas as a huge help to deal with the stressors golf poses. One can only speculate about his golfing achievements if he didn’t have a lucky coin in his pocket every time he takes to the course. And not surprising, he explains that it was given to him by his dad, who passed it on to him after using it as his lucky charm, when he played golf in Asia earlier in his career.

Sean currently finds himself using a mixed bag of clubs. “At the moment I am using Cleveland wedges, Taylormade irons, Titleist woods and an Oddessy putter” says the young golfer. He also claims that the Oddessy putter has real sentimental value as his father used to use it back in the day.

Wayne Bradley, Sean’s father is a former pro golfer himself. He toured for 17 years around Asia and South Africa winning a couple of titles to go along with the Springbok colours that he was awarded for golf. Unfortunately he was forced into early retirement from the game due to the development of Arthritis in his joints. He has since pursued and embarked on an illustrious journey as a golf coach and was awarded “Teaching pro of the year” in 2009 to accompany his claim as the golf coach of well-known local golfer Christian Basson.

Sean’s dad has coached him since day one: “He has taught me about the game of golf right from the word go and together with his knowledge and my love for the game, it has kept me motivated and inspired to go all the way. He knows my game better than anyone else”. Sean also identifies his dad as being the single most influential figure pertaining to his golf: “He has guided me through every step and has helped me grow. I would say he has made the biggest impact on my career thus far”.

During off-season when there are fewer tournaments, Sean practices 4 times a week and usually plays the whole day on a Sunday. A typical week would see him hit balls Monday, Wednesday and Friday and play 9 holes on a Saturday to prepare him for a Sunday – which is normally a tournament day. However, during tournament time he likes to practise every day and put in as many sessions as possible. It is really astonishing to note the number of hours Sean puts into his golf and his estimated 70-80 rounds of golf a year definitely suggests that he is a man on a mission and unable to fit in much social golf in his calendar.

A huge potential stumbling block for any young aspiring golfer is time management, especially with regards to school work. However, Sean is quite upbeat and optimistic about this challenge: “I often find myself having to work on school stuff after a tough round on the golf course whilst being on tour and of course it isn’t easy, especially as my mind is not always in the right space.” His 70 % aggregate speaks volumes of the responsibility he feels towards his academics despite often finding himself missing school for weeks on end.

There is no surprise as Sean claims Tiger Woods to be his golfing icon: “He has come closest to mastering the game. He simply plays golf at a level that nobody else can. The way he plays golf is inspiring”. There is no doubt Sean will be hoping to emulate his hero one day.

When Sean isn’t slaving away at the driving range or competing in tournaments, he enjoys heading down to the gym and working out. He does reiterate that the fact that he seldom does anything that isn’t golf related: “I like to watch golf in my off time, because I feel that I can learn from the professionals on TV and I can see how they handle situations.” Sean’s favourite food is pizza. With regards to his taste in music: “Anything that puts me in the right frame of mind. I like music that helps me relax and focus.”

Sean fondly recalls his best golfing performance as the time when he won the Mowbray Open at the end of 2012. When asked how significant the win was he replied: “It was a huge stepping stone for me, because it showed me that I could not only compete at such a high level, but actually go on and win too.” He won in a play-off and claimed the title, but credits his dad who was caddying for him: “he really helped me stay calm and focussed during the stressful situations and definitely helped me to win.”

When asked where he sees himself 10 years down the line, Sean confidently responds: “I see myself in the top 20 in the world rankings and having won 5 PGA tour events.” He further retorts: “I think I have a major in me, but possible only in 15 years from now”.

Although Sean has been offered numerous scholarships to colleges in the United States of America, he has decided to take a proverbial “gap” year to focus on golf. This will be done in an attempt to get his national ranking into the top 10 in the country. A shift into the top 10 would more than likely see him attract sponsors and surface the possible of turning pro.

There is no denying Sean Bradley is a star on the rise and is tailor-made for success. The young, motivated golfer has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve and how he aims to get there. I look forward to seeing him progress under the astute guidance of his dad and building on the countless feats he has already attained in his short golfing career.

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