Steady as he goes...
Camosun School of Business grad and Chargers golf phenome Brady Stead is fresh off winning this year’s Vancouver Open Amateur Division and is putting his skills to the test this week at the BC Men’s Am Championship in Qualicum. Recently, Brady took time to talk to us about his successful and illuminating five-year intercollegiate experience.
Over his five years with the Chargers, Brady has risen to stand as one of the most successful student-athletes to come out of Camosun. Since walking on to the Chargers men’s golf team in 2011, Brady played a major role in helping the program add nine medal finishes to its list of achievements including winning both the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championship title and the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) Provincial Championship this past season.
In his final two years with the Chargers, Brady amassed an impressive list of awards including the CCAA All-Canadian, CCAA National Scholar Athlete, CCAA Athlete of the Week, PACWEST Player of the Year and PACWEST First Team All-Star. During that period, he was also recognized as a Team Leader and Team MVP. In 2014-15, Brady earned the prestigious President’s Cup for his outstanding achievements in academics and athletics.
Known for his dedication to good causes and tireless work ethic, Brady spent much of his spare time and summers in the community helping coach golf at his former high school (Vernon Secondary School), refereeing minor hockey and raising money for charity and research.
While it has been less than a month since Brady crossed the stage to collect his BBA in Marketing at Camosun’s 2016 convocation ceremony, it is evident that he is already feeling a little sentimental about his time at the college. But unlike summers past when he would return to his hometown of Vernon to work, volunteer and visit with family, Stead is staying planted in Victoria and aims to keep connected with the program as he sets course on his post-intercollegiate journey. And he is well on his way having won the Overall Amateur title of the Vancouver Open (July 1-3) with rounds of 76, 69 and 69.
Congratulations on graduating! How does it feel to have completed your degree?
It’s definitely a little bittersweet. It’s different not being at the school anymore … you really have to make sure you take a screenshot of it all and enjoy it because it doesn’t last forever. But I’m also excited to move on and to be considering my opportunities and seeing where those things take me.
What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?
For now, I want to stay in the golf industry. I think it gives me the best chance to play and it allows me to be around the golf course a lot more. I’m currently working at the Royal Colwood Golf Club and I hope it will work into a professional position in the future. I’d also like to remain involved with the Chargers program, whether it’s helping out with coaching or helping out in any way I can with the Athletics department.
You seemed to have really come into your own this past year. Is there something specific you would attribute this year’s success to?
I see two main differences in comparing my performance this year to years past. First, I decided to dive into the psychology side of golf. I wasn’t playing as well as I knew I could be … I knew I had the skills to do it but I just wasn’t able to pull it together, so I started reading a ton of books – Dr. Bob Rotella is my favorite.
My coach, John Randle, mainly helped me with my golf swing which turned me into a very powerful and consistent player. And to see my golf swing progress from the first time I came here to now … it’s amazing to see the difference … but the mental side is something that I really needed to crack down on myself.
The second thing, which relates to the mental game, was the fact that it was my final year and I just wanted to enjoy it. Before every round, I went out there with a smile on my face and just told myself, “You know what? This is it. I’m going to remember these rounds for the rest of my life. This is my last time at Camosun and I’m going to enjoy it.”
Every player is different. For me, a relaxed focus help me play my best. I believe this is why I performed so well … I was just in a different state of mind. I didn’t view it as a job, I didn’t view it as something I needed to do. Even though I worked hard, I still made sure I stopped and smelled the roses.
Did you accomplish everything you set out to do at Camosun?
Absolutely … I actually exceeded my expectations! Initially, I came to Victoria because you can golf here in December! When I tried out for the Chargers, I barely played my way on to the team but I guess John saw something in me. I always believed in myself though and even though I was far from being a shoe-in player, at the start of every year, I told John that I wanted to win conference player of the year. And for the first four years, it didn’t happen. In fact, it was far from happening … but in my final year it happened, so it was kind of like icing on the cake!
Being the recipient of the President’s Cup award last year was definitely my biggest achievement because it’s an award that I never thought I’d win. I think I'm a smart enough guy but I didn't think I would be "scholarly"! Having the highest GPA among all student athletes is definitely a huge accomplishment."
Overall, I learned a lot about hard work and perseverance while I was at Camosun. I experienced a lot of failures while I was on the team, not getting the results that I wanted, but finally in the final year, being able to be a leader and pulling off a huge victory for the school and the program, it was a big thing for me.
Who are the people that have supported you along the way?
There are a lot of people that have supported me.
I’ve had a number of different coaches that I’ve learned a lot of different things from. Back home in Vernon, Jesse Crowe, who is a Camosun alum, taught me when I was about 5-6 years old and growing up I received coaching from Sean Richardson up at Predator Ridge just outside Vernon. Brad Jones from the Vernon Golf and Country Club is also on the list of teaching professionals that helped me with my game.
Two main coaches that I’ve had while at Camosun are John Randle (Morningstar) and Dale Broughton out of Blenkinsop. John has definitely been the biggest influence on me. Everything I know about my swing and the golf swing in general is from John. Dale provided me with a different set of eyes on what I was doing and really helped me with my short game in my last season. I got to know him through golfing with his son Matthew Broughton, who golfs out of UVic.
My parents, Dave Stead and Sandy Spinks are obviously big supporters. I wouldn’t be able to be where I am without their help. All those hours spent at golf tournaments and driving me to the golf course every day and the money for hotels and just the opportunity to play junior golf and to come down here and play college golf. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them.
My grandad, Dave Sr., is my role model and was the person who introduced me to the game of golf. He’s someone that I’ve always really looked up to. He gave me a lot of confidence and always told my family that I’d be a great golfer one day. I take the lessons that he gave me with me every time I’m out on the golf course and think about how lucky I am to be playing the game.
The people at Camosun have also been very supportive and I’ll hopefully stay in touch with them for a really long time. I got to know a lot of the instructors really well and I learned a lot from them and will carry that knowledge on for the rest of my life. The support from the Athletics department was also great and they really make the best out of what they have to work with. The opportunities that we’re given is what separates us from any other school, from having Bear Mountain as our home course to having the opportunity to compete in some very high-level events. This spring, we got to play in the Canadian University/College Championship at Morningstar against the biggest schools in Canada and despite being one of the smallest schools, we came in fifth in all of Canada! It’s pretty cool to see in my five years how much this program has really improved. When I first came to Camosun I went to a volleyball game and there weren’t many fans there. Last year, both the men’s and women’s teams medalled at nationals and this season, the barn was packed every single time I went … it’s pretty cool to see how far the program has really come.
What kind of advice do you have for athletes who are just starting with the program?
I’d say don’t wait until your fourth or fifth year to let you leadership qualities show and really learn from the leaders on the team. For me, it was our team veterans Kevin Walz and Jordan Krulicki who really took me under their wing and showed me that they believed in me. It’s the lessons that I learned from them that I tried to pass on to my rookies. A great example is Jeff Riches. He came out as a rookie for the Chargers this past season and although he didn’t play in the first two tournaments, he got the chance to play in our home tournament and won it! Over time, I learned that it all comes down to making sure that your teammates believe in you and knowing that they’re believed in to do their best.
Will you continue to compete?
Yes, absolutely. I want to see how far the game of golf can take me as a player. I'm going to continue to keep learning as much as I can along the way and following the dream that has never left since I was a junior golfer.
This week, Brady is in Qualicum competing at the 2016 BC Men’s Amateur Championship at Pheasant Glen (July 12-15). Check out the results of the four-day tournament here.
July 13, 2016