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 tournaments?
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.