Brad McLellan counts himself lucky for his experience in the PGA of Australia’s Membership Pathway Program.
Completing the program in 2015 has led to representing his country at next week’s Four Nations Cup at Moonah Links on the Mornington Peninsula.
A tournament contested between Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and, this year, an Internationals squad, the Four Nations Cup is for vocational golf professionals without a Tour card. That’s a category the Melbourne-based club fitter fits in perfectly after early aspirations to play the game for a living.
Completing the program at Twin Waters Golf Club on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, McLellan’s boss was current PGA of Australia Board Director Stephen Hutchinson, which led to a diverse on the job education, while his location meant time with Cam Smith’s career-long coach, Grant Field.
“I was really lucky, Steve was a great boss,” McLellan said. “I got a well-rounded education from him.
“He was the General Manager at the golf club at the time.
“He’d played on the tour when he was younger as well. So I got to learn a big array of everything in the golf industry, from running the golf club, to running the pro shop, and we were pretty lucky we had Grant Field teaching there at the time.”
Twin Waters also offering unique opportunities to spend time with, and learn from, two of Australia’s finest exports and major champions.
“I got to spend a bit of time with Finchy (Ian Baker-Finch), and even Adam Scott from time to time and played a few rounds with him when he was back in Queensland over summer,” McLellan said.
Those experiences led to the now 32-year-old initially chasing a career like Scott and Baker-Finch once he finished his training.
However, when things didn’t progress as planned, McLellan had his vocational training to fall back on.
Utilising hose skills prompting a move to Melbourne that has still allowed him to indulge in his own golf regularly.
“I did pursue playing for a few years. It wasn’t working out particularly well and I got the opportunity to start with Cool Clubs, so I’ve been doing club fitting for the last four or five years, and really enjoy that,” he said.
“I think any job you’re doing whether you’re teaching or your club fitting, it is a similar environment in a lot of ways. I think it helps to be able to still be able play at a decent level and enjoy it.
“I am also pretty lucky to be able to play golf with our clients from time to time, get out with them and learn about their games and helping a little bit.”
Playing regular golf, and with the competitive fire still burning, McLellan is looking forward to representing his country for the first time alongside captain Scott Laycock, Jayden Cripps and TJ King at Moonah Links’ Open Course from September 19-21.
The Australian team decided at last year’s PGA Professionals Championship at Yarra Yarra Golf Club via the top-four place getters, a reward McLellan was blissfully unaware of but is hugely thankful for.
“I actually didn’t know that (Four Nations Cup) was a chance, and I didn’t play particularly well in the first round. I came from a fair way back in the second round, I was just trying to hang onto a good round towards the end of it.
“I actually wasn’t aware that this was the carrot at the end, but obviously a big bonus.”