Bradley Smith is the inaugural champion of the Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability. The England international finished the two-day event on +1, a shot clear of Ballinasloe’s Aidan Grenham. There was a three way tie for third place, with Ireland internationals...
Level Par Coaches: Meet Victoria Bradshaw
As a girls’ international Victoria Bradshaw, Bangor, was superb. She represented Ireland at every Girls’ Home Internationals from 2005 to 2008, making her Women’s Team debut in 2007. However, after representing Ireland at the European Team Championships in 2010, a recurring injury meant her playing career needed to be reconsidered.
Competitive from the outset, her first memory of golf is with her Dad.
‘I remember wanting to hit the ball further than him and always wanting to beat him,’ she recalls.
In her 6 years since turning to the Professional ranks and qualifying as a PGA Professional in 2018, Bradshaw has worked at Malahide, Elm Park and Belvoir Park Golf Clubs, learning her trade and finding areas of coaching which she particularly enjoys. She has also just returned home from a period of working with the renowned Coach Steven Orr at the Cranfield Golf academy in West Sussex.
Bradshaw will be coaching with the Connacht and Munster Golf4Girls4Life Stage 5 & 6 Programmes in 2020 as well as sharing her experiences with the Connacht Girls’ Interprovincial team.
Who was your role model growing up? Or who do you look up to now?
During my time playing golf my role model was Danielle McVeigh, she was from Royal County Down, not too far away from my club and at the time I could see myself at her level in the future.
My role model at present is Olympic Gymnastic Shawn Johnston. Shawn achieved many medals in her career but what she has given back to the sport is incredible. She has developed a gymnastic school for young gymnastics.
What are your hopes for the Level Par coaching programme?
My main interest is building programs to develop girls’ golf skills. Ultimately I would love to develop a coaching school for girls to socialise in a fun, safe environment with various programs after school and during school holidays.
What learnings have you taken from the programme so far?
Firstly, being a part of the Level Par Coaching team, we seem to shy away on sharing our opinions. I realise that we all have strengths in different areas and using our experience in our profession will enable us to guide one another.
Scarily, I’ve also realised that in 10-15 years we could have no girls playing the game of golf if we are not careful.
What advice would you give to young boys or girls who are considering a) playing golf, b) coaching golf?
If you are starting to try golf then make sure you play with your peers. Also make sure your clubs are suited to you and your ability.
If you would like to be a coach in the future having some fun in doing so both in 1:1 and group coaching should be a priority.
If you could wave a magic wand, what one thing (if anything) would you change about golf?
I would introduce a nominal one membership fee, with no entrance fees for juniors. Juniors would be able to play at any golf course/club tournaments (maybe with restrictions) outside their own club i.e. with an adult, off peak times.
Do you have a favourite quote?
Michelle Obama – ‘Don’t be afraid, be focused, be determined, be hopeful, and be empowered.’
A podcast/book recommendation
Podcast- Karl Morris ‘The Brainbooster’
Book recommendation – Terry Orlick ‘In Pursuit Of Excellence’
Outside of golf (work) what are your hobbies?
Gym, fitness and of course shopping!
Anything else you would like to share?
I would encourage clubs to consider what incentives have they to encourage young people to become members and play the game of golf. Also clubs should consider advertising Open Membership Days to encourage young boys and girls to come and try the game of golf under the Professional’s supervision.