... I'm really excited about the short course developments (Gamble Sands, Sand Valley, Bandon Dunes, Pinehurst, etc.) that give people another alternative to golf experiences, and one with less time commitment and financial commitment

PGA General Manager - Gamble Sands

Brady Hatfield

PGA General Manager
Gamble Sands
Brewster, WA

Golf Professional Since: 1992

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Credentials / Certifications:

multiple chapter level merchandiser of the year award winner

Brady Hatfield - Gamble Sands Resort

I am the son of a lifetime PGA member, so I have been around the golf business for all of my 51 + years. I attended the PGM program at Mississippi State University, and graduated in 1992. I’ve worked multiple jobs in the golf industry. Spend many years as a Head Pro, Director of Golf, and General Manager, as well as a 4 year stint as an Assistant Golf Course Superintendent (6 years working golf maintenance) trying to get as well rounded as possible. Also been a Director of Rooms for a hotel / resort operation with over 300+ keys, and over 50 private homes for rent. I landed at Gamble Sands in WA in December of 2017, nationally ranked courses you can play throughout the nation.

How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?

My father introduced me to the game at age 5, and I stuck with it from day one. However it wasn’t until December of my senior year in high school that I decided to pursue a career in the business. Having a dad in the business proved to be both a plus and a minus. As much as I loved the game and the business, I feared (tremendously) the thought of following in his footsteps, as he has been inducted into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame for all he’s accomplished in the game of golf. Pretty large shoes to fill, and the pressure of filling them gave me pause for a short while.

How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?

I have to be honest, and say I have not stayed very current on teaching methods at all, and have focused more on the business side of golf, as well as the leadership side of guiding a group of people towards providing a fabulous golf experience for our guests, all while returning financial results to our owners. In my earlier days, I started in the business as solely a golf instructor, partly with the John Jacobs Golf Schools. Into my 50’s, I battled jaw cancer, and subsequently brain necrosis from the radiation that have left be debilitated enough to make teaching and instruction something I can no longer directly participate in, which I miss all the time.

What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?

i’m really excited about the short course developments (Gamble Sands, Sand Valley, Bandon Dunes, Pinehurst, etc.) that gives people another alternative to golf experiences, and one with less time commitment and financial commitment, but similar enough to mirror golf, but varies enough to provide a different strategy and experience for the golfers. If done correctly, it can add another element to the overall golf experience, and one that has the potential to invite new golfers to the game, and satisfy the core golfers need for more varieties. Secondly, I am really excited about some of the rules variations. One of the main pieces of feedback we consistently get is that the game is difficult to understand, and some of the rules don’t make sense. As a result, some new players would get turned off to the game due to the complexities of the rules, and lack of understanding of them. I think some of these rules changes have made the game a little easier for the new player to grasp, and more inviting to join the game and learn something new.

Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?

No, just prided myself on being able to help each student do what was needed to improve their game, rather than teach a methodology to each student. For example, I could help each student take the necessary steps to achieve their goals, regardless of the goal, rather than steer them into a new swing, or new methodology, that I teach. Focused on the ball flight laws, and focusing on what needed to change or improve with that individual student that would help them achieve the desired ball flight

What sets you apart from other golf professionals?

I think I am a little more well rounded than some of my other peers. There are not many GM’s around that have real live, practical experience as an Asst. Golf Course Superintendent, a Director of Golf, a Director of Rooms, and a Director of Instruction. Surely I am not the only one that has this breadth of experience, and not any better at my job simply because of it. But having that hands on working knowledge and leadership experience across so many facets of the business certainly helps me at a Resort that has a Lodging component as well.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Personally it is beating and recovering from this brain necrosis, that is something I look forward to tackling head on this winter. Professionally it is the future here at Gamble Sands. We just finished construction on our short course, Quicksands, set to open to the public in May or so of 2021 Beyond that, our master plan includes 18 more holes of golf, as well as more lodging units and keys to mirror and accommodate the golf growth. I look forward to leading us into that next chapter of our development!! Exciting times ahead for Gamble Sands!!

What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?

My first year as an instructor in Las Vegas, I just flat out had a student that I could not find the right communication conduit, to get the student to make the desired change that would allow him to see the result we were striving for. I don’t believe there are any bad students, just instructors that are struggling to get the desired changes across. I just could not find the right conduit for communication, therefore the improvement never surfaced, and he was as frustrated as I was. In this particular instance, I was unable to overcome it. He left unhappy. I tried to learn from it, and applied what I have learned from future lessons to ensure it didn’t repeat in the future. Happy to say I haven’t had a repeat experience since then!

Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?

I do not. I played competitively until I was 48, but my physical debilitation has taken the joy of playing away from me for now. I expect to get back on the course at some time, but never to the point that I can compete against the best on a regular basis.

Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?

On a serious note, this job at Gamble Sands has to be right up there. Such a good project, good golf course (nationally ranked) great management (OB Sports / Troon) and ownership (Gebbers Family) make this an incredible place to work. On a side note, I have had 3 hole in ones to my name. In and of itself, not necessarily all that impressive. But all three came in the same calendar year, 1994. Hadn’t had any before, and haven’t had one since. Should have played the lottery that Christmas? Missed my window.

Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?

Be sure that you love the game of golf, and giving back to your students and investing in watching them improve on their journey. Not unlike any career, there is money to be made if you are able to push yourself and identify yourself as a high performer, But along the journey, you may experience long hours and commitments with not a ton of financial success all the time. So do it because you love it, not because you love to play. My father told me at a young age, “if you want to play a lot of golf, sell insurance.” If you love the game, enjoy the business, and love helping others enjoy the game equally as much, a wonderful career in golf can be made!!

Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?

I think the game of golf is in great hands. With the new, younger, athletic and hungry golfers joining the game, I think our sport is in wonderful hands. And for the record, I am not necessarily one of these guys that think the ball or driver needs to be rolled back anytime soon. Is the game too easy for you? So much is made of what these tour pro’s are doing to these classic courses. Why does it matter? One of the things that I love about this sport, is in most instances the average guy can compete on the same venue, with the same equipment, as the very best in the world. In what sport can you compete in the same arena, with the same equipment, as the best in the world at what they / you do? The fact that I can get on Pebble Beach on a Monday next summer, and play the same course as the pros just played for the AT&T National Pro Am the day before. And truly get a gauge of how good these guys really are? I would hate to see that change by having a tour ball, that makes the performance of the two sports different slightly. Or rolling back equipment, which would make the game exponentially harder for the every day guy, and that’s not what we need to do!

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