Brady McKinlay: On the Right Path to Success

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Brady McKinlay was introduced to the sport of golf by his parents during his early childhood and it’s become a life long passion. While he describes himself as a late bloomer, the 23-year-old has today emerged as one of Canada’s top amateur golfers and he has ambitions of carrying that success onto the professional ranks.

“I remember my parents getting me a set of plastic clubs when I was five, it was a lot of fun to hit the ball around. It’s always been part of the family and I always enjoy playing golf,” recalled McKinlay, who describes his parents, Perry and Patti, as avid golfers.

Growing up in Lacombe, Alberta young Brady treated golf more as a hobby, as hockey was his primary sport. However, at the age of 15, he decided to focus his efforts on golf.

“I wasn’t the biggest guy and moving towards hockey might have been difficult so I decided to go with golf,” said the five foot eight inch amateur standout.

After making the decision to focus his attention on the sport, McKinlay has seen an upward trajectory in his overall game and has enjoyed notable success on the golf course as an amateur.

McKinlay says the process of working on his game and practising and making improvements every day is one of the things he enjoys most about the journey as a golfer.

“I was 15 when I started to compete in tournaments around Alberta and some of the top guys were quite ahead of me at that age,” he noted.

“In terms of the grind of practising on your own I guess some people might consider it difficult but that’s the part I enjoy the most – that time by myself to figure things out. Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating but when you do finally figure it out, it’s that much better,” McKinlay continued.

“The practise side and working to get better is the part I enjoy most whether it’s part of a team or by myself.”

He would see breakthrough results from his hard work and dedication in 2022. That summer McKinlay would win the Alberta Men’s Amateur tournament.

“That was the first time that I really felt some serious validation and it gave me the experience to be more confident and be more free when I got into those situations where I might have a chance to win a tournament,” said McKinlay about his breakthrough win as an amateur. “I just got into that good mental state and golf was really fun that week.”

McKinlay would carry the momentum to his NCAA season where he would win the Ram Masters Invitational, Mark Simpson Colorado Invite and the Shocker Invitational tournaments.

“Coming off the win in the summer, I just had a lot more confidence. Also, my game plan going into tournaments was a lot better. And that was a big reason that I won three in a row,” said the Utah Valley University senior.

“My mental state was great, my game plan was great and my course management was great. I didn’t bite off more than I could chew but I was still super aggressive. Making those big shots when you’re fighting for a win is just the best feeling.”

McKinlay – who recorded another tournament victory at the Campenato Nacional por Golpes last November – speaks about what his game is like when he’s playing his best.

“I like to be aggressive off the tee. And my putting is pretty solid. Definitely nothing flashy,” he noted. “When I’m playing great I think it’s pretty boring. When I’m playing my best there’s not a lot going on inside my head. Not too many surprises.”

He adds that playing with confidence goes a long way.

“If you can’t manage your expectations or keep yourself in check you don’t really have a chance. I think the best players in the world have the biggest edge on the mental side of the game.”

McKinlay will be graduating from Utah Valley University this year and hopes to translate his amateur success to the professional ranks.

“The biggest thing is not so much which tour I play on but moreso to get some exposure to the professional game this summer. It’s going to be different playing professionally compared to paying in college or as an amateur but I’m excited to get started.”

The National Team member says it gives him a lot of confidence to know that he’s part of a program that has developed so many successful pros that are playing the sport at the highest level such as Nick Taylor, Corey Conners, and Mackenzie Hughes to name a few.

“It’s guys that were in our shoes and they’ve taken similar steps. It gives us confidence to know the coaches that we are working with have worked with these same guys to get them to where they are,” said the 23-year-old.

“Not everyone’s journey is the same but it gives me a lot of confidence knowing we are on the right path.”