In­ter­view

Louie Chan talks to Brad Schade­witz, Lead Coach of HKGA, about his re­cent coach­ing award and his jour­ney of help­ing lo­cal ju­nior golfers to reach their col­lege dreams.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Louie Chan

Brad Schade­witz, Lead Coach of HKGA, wins the FCG Top 25 Elite Ju­nior Golf Coach Award.

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Brad! Can you tell us more about the “FCG Top 25 Elite Ju­nior Golf Coach Award” that you just re­ceived?

The FCG Top 25 Elite Ju­nior Golf Coach Award started in 2015 rec­og­nizes coaches who spe­cial­ize in com­pet­i­tive play­ers ages 13-18. Their play­ers com­pete at the high­est lev­els of ju­nior golf and reg­u­larly de­velop into col­lege golfers. 2017 is the 3rd year Fu­ture Cham­pi­ons Golf rec­og­nizes th­ese top coaches for their ef­forts.

What does win­ning this award mean to you?

This award means a great deal to me, as it re­ally cov­ers an over 10 years jour­ney of bring­ing Hong Kong play­ers to the U.S. to play and prac­tice with the best ju­nior play­ers from around the world and gain col­lege ex­po­sure.

What are the cri­te­ria to ap­ply for this award?

- Min­i­mum of 6 years teach­ing golf full time

- Min­i­mum of 3 years with es­tab­lished elite ju­nior golf train­ing pro­gram - Sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of col­lege play­ers de­vel­oped

- Tour­na­ment fin­ishes by stu­dents

What ex­actly does “FCG” stand for?

FCG is the short form of “Fu­ture Cham­pi­ons Golf”, which was started in 2004 by PGA Teach­ing Pro­fes­sional Chris Smeal as an in­struc­tion only pro­gram at Sta­dium Golf Cen­ter in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia. Af­ter a few years of suc­cess de­vel­op­ing young play­ers and high school kids, the pro­gram re­ally took shape in 2007. Af­ter hear­ing from play­ers and par­ents and see­ing a need for a new tour­na­ment plat­form, Smeal launched the FCG Tour and hired An­trone Wil­liams to be the Tour­na­ment Di­rec­tor.

In 2008 FCG launched the San Diego Ju­nior Ama­teur, which to­day is called the FCG Na­tional Cham­pi­onship. This event has grown to host as many as 550 play­ers from all over the world and is an­nu­ally held in San Diego dur­ing Win­ter Break. Last event fea­tured 37 U.S. Col­lege Coaches on site re­cruit­ing at the event.

What was the ini­tia­tive to bring Hong Kong ju­nior play­ers to the U.S. par­tic­i­pat­ing the Ju­nior World Tour­na­ment?

One of the big ini­tia­tives set out by the Hong Kong Golf As­so­ci­a­tion early on was to find a way to com­bine golf and univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion. With the sup­port of the Ju­nior and In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee and the spon­sor­ship from EFG Bank, we planned and put to­gether a 6-week tour­na­ment and train­ing tour to the U.S. It was a huge suc­cess and the step­ping stone for putting more than 40 play­ers into col­lege in the U.S. and other coun­tries. That first tour opened the eyes of now LPGA Tour player Tiffany Chan to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of play­ing col­lege golf in the U.S.

I be­lieve the ini­tia­tive to send play­ers to the U.S. has had the sin­gle great­est im­pact in the suc­cess of the Hong Kong play­ers to date.

And it’s been such an hon­our for me to be in­volved in the HKGA Na­tional Golf Pro­gram over the last 14 yearrs. We have come such a long way since the first class of 8 kids at Kai Tak Air­port driv­ing range in 2003! I’m so proud to be a part of the HKGA fam­ily.

Brad Schade­witz with Tiffany Chan af­ter win­ning the 2014 World Univer­sity Cham­pi­onship in Crans-Mon­tana, Switzer­land

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