Updated Wed, Sep 26, 2012 2:44 pm
Freshman golfer Brad Burgess has a background that is different from all of his teammates; He is from up north. No, not Michigan…a little bit further. Burgess hails from St. Catharines, Ontario.
How does someone from Canada find his way to Athens, Ohio?
It all started in his backyard. Burgess lived on a property with a lot of open space. Both of Burgess’ parents were in a golf cart business, which eventually led him to the sport.
“My grandpa started the company, so when I was younger we had a lot of acres where I lived and my dad built a three-hole golf course. Every day I would just go out there for about four hours and just hit balls. It just started from there, just something I loved to do,” said Burgess.
Years of practice eventually led Burgess to put his talents to the test and compete in tournaments in Canada and the United States. Burgess emerged as one of the top golfers in his age group, being ranked the second best in Ontario and 886th in all of Canada.
Burgess attended Ridley College, a prep school in St. Catharines, where golf was not a very popular sport for high school students.
“It was more of a hockey school. High school golf in Canada is not as big of a deal as it is in the States. So, if you are looking to play for a college in America, you’re going to have to play in U.S. tournaments.”
This brings us back to our original question: Why did he decide on Ohio?
“I had sent out a lot of emails to coaches. Coach (Bob) Cooley responded quickly. I was playing a lot of tournaments in the States so he was able to come follow me at Ohio State two summers ago. We just kept in touch and he ended up giving me an offer so I took it right away.”
Cooley is pleased to have a talent like Burgess on his roster.
“He was being looked at by many B1G Conference schools, so we are very excited to have him with us. We thought we were going to have him last year, but in Canada you can opt for a 13th year of high school. He decided to do that so we had to wait,” said Cooley.
When asked if this changes his recruiting styles to focus more on Canada, Cooley denied the idea.
“We have had players come from Denmark, England, and other places. It all depends on where the talent is,” he said.
Burgess is definitely a gifted golfer, but he says his length has to be his greatest strength.
“Being 6-foot-two-inches, one of the most important parts of my game is hitting the ball far so it gives me an advantage over a lot of other people,” said Burgess.
Making the transition from playing in Canada to the U.S. will not be a big problem for Burgess.
“People like to stereotype that Canada is cold all the time, but you might only get an extra month on each end of the season to play here,” he remarked. “I’m from the southern part of Canada, so we are able to play usually until November and start back up in March. There’s not too much of a change.”
Aside from golf, the business major enjoys participating in other sports.
”I am into tennis and ping-pong. I played football in high school and hockey my whole life. Sports are what I like to do.” Burgess explained.
So, being Canadian, he must be a Belieber, right? Not exactly.
“Justin Bieber is not my favorite artist, but he’s really popular in Canada. I’m definitely more of a Drake guy. He’s someone I’m proud to say is Canadian.”
Brad Burgess is from Canada and plays golf for a university in America. So, which country does he enjoy being a part of more?
“I love it in the States, but I also love Canada. It’s nice being away from home.”