Taught golf by his father at 10 years old, one man persevered to become an internationally ranked player half a century later.
Robin Bradbury, president of Resolution Consulting, practically grew up at Columbine Country Club in Denver, where his dad taught him to play golf at 10 years old.
Little did Bradbury expect his own son, Criss, to serve as his caddie as he became a world-ranked golfer half a century later.
“Golf is in our family and in our blood,” Bradbury says. “It was a great way to grow up.”
Bradbury had played golf and competed throughout his life, but a turning point came a decade ago.
“The only great thing about turning 50 is that as a golfer you get to play against other 50 year olds,” Bradbury says. “You don’t have to play against those young kids who are hitting it 400 yards off the tee. So at 50, you kind of get a rebirth as a golfer, which is very rare in sports.”
When he started playing more seriously at 50, Bradbury had two goals: qualify for a USGA championship and win a state championship.
Although he has fallen slightly short a couple times of the state championship title, in 2016, he qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur tournament. Bradbury managed to finished 48th in the stroke-play portion of the national tournament and landed a spot in match play, where he exited in the round of 64. That performance garnered him a first-time world ranking at 229th.
“You don’t expect to have all of these things happen to you when you are 60 years old,” Bradbury says.
The journey to the national tournament began with Bradbury competing to be among the three best in his state, Colorado.
At the national tournament, the best players were selected after they all played two 18-hole rounds. Bradbury finished 48th out of 156, which qualified him for match play.
“It was a lot of pressure,” Bradbury says. “But to get to that was a big deal to me.”
Bradbury’s favorite part of the experience was the support of his wife and Criss, a 35-year-old IT security professional for Deloitte, who was able to serve as his caddy.
“At the end of the round, he says, ‘Dad, this is the best three days I’ve spent on a golf course in my life,’ and that made me feel pretty good,” Bradbury says.
And his son was a real asset in the tournament because he knew his father’s style of play and helped keep him “level and even.”
The experience taught Bradbury the importance of focus in times of pressure. “I can shoot in the 60s any day of the week, but the reality is that being able to hit that shot at that time when there is pressure in a tournament is very different than just going out and playing with your buddies,” Bradbury says. “Being able to focus and have your head in the right place is so invaluable. I wish I would done that earlier in my life. It probably would have helped in my career and my family, in business, and in golf.”
Bradbury has learned that golf, like life, requires players to be present and engaged in what they are doing in the moment to be successful.
“You have to be aware of what happened before and what’s coming toward you, but what’s happening at that moment is where you have the greatest impact,” Bradbury says.
That lesson could apply to healthcare finance work. “[In healthcare finance,] you’ve got a thousand fires to put out, but you’ve got to focus on the thing you are doing at that moment and do it well,” Bradbury says.
Bradbury was happy to make it to match play the last time around, but as he continues golfing, he hopes to advance farther.
“You set some goals, you reach those goals, and then you’re in a little bit of a vacuum because you’re not sure what’s next,” Bradbury says. “Being prepared for success is sometimes a little harder than we think.”
Bradbury says he will try to get into the next tournament.
“And I’m not going to be satisfied with just getting to match play,” Bradbury says. “I want to advance and do well.”