One of the many benefits of writing a golf blog is getting to interface with other nerds who just want to talk about golf clubs and how much fun they had at TopGolf. Between my blog and #Golfchat, I spend more time than I’d like to admit thinking about things like Jordan Spieth’s putting grip or how perfect Beef’s Arby’s sponsorship really is.
I’ve gotten to e-meet some awesome people, but I recently realized that I don’t know much about most of them beyond our shared love of golf. Realistically, that should be enough since it’s more than I have in common with most of my family members, but when I came across an opportunity to get to know one of my readers, I took it.
Paul Bradshaw over at GolfAssessor.com reached out to me to compliment the Bandwagon, and in talking to him, I realized I could (finally) employ some of those journalism skills I paid too much for in college. Not only is he from another country, but he spent some time playing golf professionally. He was nice enough to let me pick his brain about his time on tour and how he started his successful equipment review site.
CN: Okay, give me the basics. Country, college, claims to fame.
PB: I’m from Cape Town, South Africa. I represented my province and went on to represent South Africa as a junior golfer. In my last year at school, I played in the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines where Anthony Kim was victorious.
The following year I was awarded a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas and was a permanent fixture on the team playing Division 1 college golf. This is where my game took off and improved immensely. I was fortunate enough to have played with a number of the world’s best players like JB Holmes, Bill Haas, Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker, Alexander Noren, Hunter Mahan and a long list of others. We were ranked Top 20 in Division 1 and were lucky enough to travel to Japan for an international college event as well.
CN: How did you catch the golf bug in the first place?
PB: My father and older brothers all played the game so I used to follow them around the course over weekends or in the evening and learnt to play without the help of any coach. I played my first full round at the age of six.
CN: I know you ended up playing on the Sunshine and European Tours. What was the process like to get there?
PB: It’s changed a lot since I played, but I’m not going to lie – it’s tough. You need to take the opportunities when you get them and use that platform to make a name for yourself. The Sunshine Tour has a qualifying school that offers 30 cards, but that doesn’t mean you get into every event on tour because you’re a tour card holder. You need to match up against 90 other players for maybe 10 spots on Tuesday to get into the event starting Thursday.
If you don’t finish top 10 in that event, then you’re back at the Tuesday qualifier the following week. That’s how it continues until you’ve made enough money to secure your exemption for the following season.
The European Tour has six co-sanctioned events with the Sunshine Tour and that’s a big opportunity for Sunshine Tour players to firstly make plenty of money and secondly improve their chances of securing exemption. The Sunshine Tour is seen as a ‘stepping stone’ to the European and PGA Tours, but don’t get me wrong – the South African players are good!
CN: Let’s chat about what you’re doing now. What led to Golf Assessor and what are the main challenges you face with the site?
PB: My best friend and I started it exactly one year ago now and he proposed the idea of a golf equipment review website. He has the web and SEO expertise and I have the golf knowledge and am very unbiased in all reviews. We are there to put it in black and white as to what the best (and worst) are on the current market.
One of the main challenges is having the time available to focus solely on GA due to us having other business interests, but apart from that it’s pure enjoyment really. Golf is a passion of mine and always will be, which makes writing that much easier. We try to move with the times and keep things fresh and interesting in every aspect. People are wanting quality reviews, but they need to be kept on page to absorb all the information.
CN: How does social media impact how you consume/enjoy golf news?
PB: We’re still in the early stages of growing our GA social media base, but social media is just so important nowadays. We all read, hear and watch things we never would’ve 15 years ago and that’s all thanks to Facebook kickstarting the social media revolution.
CN: What place do you think blogs have in golf news/entertainment?
PB: Again very important. 10 years ago, not many would’ve known what a blog even is, but nowadays we all want a quality read. We need facts, but we also need opinions and the fun that blog posts offer and keep you coming back for more.
CN: Don’t hate me for the cliche, but do you have any advice for beginners or new golf fans?
PB: Give yourself enough time before throwing in the towel! Too many newbies find the game so difficult and don’t allow for enough time to learn things the way they’re meant to be done. They get frustrated if they don’t hit the ball 250+ yards after a few practice sessions.
A big thanks to Paul for answering my questions and for being a Bandwagon reader! I’m glad to hear that my rants amuse and entertain, and I was happy to get to know a fellow golf lover. If you want to chat with Paul, you can catch him on Twitter at @GolfAssessor.
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