After being the king of the mountain at BraeBen Golf Club for seven years, Bradlee Ryall is increasing his domain as the new Head of Instruction for the Kaneff Golf Academies.
Ryall, who has a database of over 4,000 students, will expand his brand with the introduction of Kaneff Golf Academies at Lionhead GC, Royal Ontario GC, Royal Niagara GC, Streetsville Glen GC, Century Pines GC and Carlisle Golf & Country Club.
“It’s a huge undertaking, but I’m really exciting about the opportunity to work with great people and I am thankful that I have a job that I love to come to every day,” says Ryall, who started with Kaneff Golf in February as a new management team came on board and set a new direction for the properties. “Our vision is to offer an incredible experience and build the biggest and most respected academy brands in Canada.”
Ryall, who was named PGA of Ontario Junior Leader of the Year at the end of 2015, is looking to take the junior learning pyramid that his Bradlee Ryall Golf Enterprises team developed at the BraeBen Golf Academy and customize it for adult programs at the Kaneff Golf properties. Students work their way up through classes similar to karate and swimming. Instead of receiving belts or badges for graduating from one level to the next, they receive rubber bracelets to identify their progression.
“We have in excess of 1,000 youngsters who annually go through our junior programs and now we will be able to grow that number by leaps and bounds,” says Ryall who is hiring a head teaching professional for each facility and upwards of 10 more PGA of Ontario teaching professionals as the academies takes shape this spring. “We’re looking to grow our adult business too, with programs and clinics for beginners, ladies, and for adults looking to break 80, break 90 and break 100 and much more.”
In 2012, the GAO recognized Ryall and BraeBen as the Junior Facility of the Year and in 2014 they were a “Finalist” for the national Future Links Facility of the Year. Ryall, who will be based out of Lionhead, will also have an administration team of three people working behind the scenes to ensure the smooth operation of all learning programs. They’re going digital in a big way with specialized on-line portals at each facility where students will be able to access a Kaneff Golf Academy iPad and book their upcoming lessons or communicate with their teacher.
“I think we have been successful because we try to ensure that our students are getting more than just a golf lesson. It’s like school, where they are part of a larger group and we try to educate their parents so students and parents understand where their child is headed and that there is always a direction to where they are going next,” says the Toronto native who started playing golf with his uncle, and childhood friends, as a 12-year-old at Lakeview GC in Mississauga, but he didn’t play competitive amateur golf.
After earning a BA in Sociology at the University of Western Ontario, Ryall turned professional in 2001 with a burning passion to make a career out of either playing or teaching golf. A year later, he graduated with a Business Diploma in Golf Management from Humber College and headed out to Fairmount Jasper Park Lodge to spend his first summer learning the ins and outs of being a golf professional. Since that time, he has taught around the world in Punta Cana and Portugal, gaining valuable insight into how people learn. He also trained for five years at two David Leadbetter Golf Academies – IMG and Champions Gate in Florida. After playing professionally for two seasons on the Great Lakes Tour, Ryall landed at Lionhead as a teaching professional in 2008 and prepared for his next adventure. A year later his entrepreneurial spirit took root and he founded Bradlee Ryall Golf Enterprises and set up camp at The Academy at BraeBen.
“All along my main goal has been to help my students build on their passion for the game, while creating a fun atmosphere where they can flourish,” says Ryall who is looking forward to taking that passion to the Kaneff Golf Academies so they can continue to grow the game and create a love for it among all the students. Bradlee will also be trying to find a balance between family life with his wife Courtney and their two children, Harlowe who is two years old and Hudson who is three months, in what should be a summer of fun and hard work!