Local golfer swings for pro tour

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Brad Morris steps onto the golf course nearly every morning well before the sun is up. No matter the weather, he and his buddy Ted Grand push their tees into the soft, damp soil and line up their first drives.

The pair have to stand behind each other to see where the shot lands, and hope they can find their ball again. They jog the course, trying to get a full 18 holes in as quickly as they can. To make things even quicker, they play two balls at the same time from different tees, essentially bringing the three- to four-hour playing time down to about an hour and a half.

Morris is currently playing in the 15-round Bayview Performance Tour. If he places in the top three he will be able to play in the 2019 Bayview Victoria Open, a stop on the Canadian PGA tour. His early starts give him the chance to play a full 18 holes every day and still make time for his family and business.

Morris and Grand met through golfing around five years ago, and have been playing ever since. Initially, they were drawn to each other because they “didn’t fit in with the clean-shaven, collared-shirt kind of crowd,” Grand said.

An easy smile and infectious personality have made Morris a notable figure in the Salt Spring golf scene. He coaches at the course, runs the junior golf program and hosts an invitational pro tournament each year.

“He’s very community driven,” Grand said. “He’s happy to talk on any level with people and it really lets people take their guard down. I see people who would otherwise be pretty standoffish become really soft around him. That bodes well for the golf course.”

This year is his second attempt at making the Bayview Open. If all goes well, he will play against 140 other golfers for two days, and if he qualifies to go further he could have a good chance at winning part of a large cash prize. The Open would be Morris’ first time playing in a PGA tournament, but he feels confident he has a shot at making it.

“Right now I’m playing the best golf of my life. I’m more confident than I ever have been,” he said. “I feel like this is my year to start winning and getting started in that field.”

Morris has been playing golf for most of his life. It has always been his dream to play professionally. He dropped out of college in 2005 to start a business in order to sponsor himself to play, and ended up going broke and not playing for six years. After hitting rock bottom, Morris turned his life around and through practising gratitude and mindfulness is now at the top of his game.

“I remember playing the B.C. Amateur one year. On the 10th hole of my first day I snapped my driver,” he said. “I was so angry. It was the most embarrassing moment ever . . . It has been a hell of a journey to kind of be able to climb back and get my game back up.”

Part of what makes Morris so confident on the course is his integration of meditation practices. He has a background in teaching meditation workshops and found that simply focusing on the sport’s techniques were not doing enough for him. Typically, everything in golf revolves around the technique. However, after getting the swing dialled in, players tend to forget the emotional and mental aspect of the game.

“The presence and awareness that I’ve learned to cultivate with my body alignment and ability to focus and control my thoughts has been invaluable for the game,” he said. “Most people don’t realize how well meditation and golf go together.”

That mental practice helped keep Morris focused on the first round of the Bayview tour. After a bad break on the 10th hole of the tournament, Morris scored a triple bogey on the hardest hole of the course. Instead of becoming frustrated and falling behind, Morris pulled three birdies on the next three holes and wound up finishing tied for sixth place.

After the first tournament, Morris is sitting in seventh place. He still has a long road ahead with 13 tour stops left. Morris plans on keeping a positive and mindful approach to his game so he will be able to play with the best golfers in Canada in June.

Until then, he will keep teeing off in the dark. Every time he does, it will be from a place of self-reflection, awareness and love for the game.

“I’ve kind of merged my love for presence, mindfulness and meditation with my golf game,” he said. “For me it’s a passion . . . Golf is the thing that I’ve wanted to do my whole life, and I finally get to do it,” he said, grinning. 

For more on this story, see the Nov. 7, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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