Sean Casey Interview – Part 5 – ‘Future Stars of Golf in Canada’

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

A Quick 9 With Sean Casey, Director of Instruction at The Glen Abbey Golf Academy and Head Coach for the Canadian Junior Golf Association National Teams.

5. @36aday – The most recent Canadian professional wins were Brooke Henderson and Nick Taylor, both very young and very skilled players. Give us a name we may not be aware of to keep our eye on 5 years from now who could make the professional tour and possibly enjoy some success?

SC – Yeah, that’s an interesting question for me because I feel like all of the ones – and I could be wrong, I could be biased due to being in the industry – but I feel like we all know the list of up and comers, meaning Brooke Henderson, Augusta James, Albin Choi, Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Sloan, Hadwin. In the golf industry these are all nationally known, very good, well prepared, good solid golfers. I feel like Canada is doing a good job and these JGDC’s ultimately had nothing to do with them, let’s be honest. This is a new venture, but in the future I feel like the pool of kids coming up through the system will be very good and there will be a lot of great players. So the pool I think will be bigger. But the one’s now who managed to make it through maybe they happen to have a good coach in the area, maybe they were just very athletic, who knows? You know what it’s like, some golfers get great just by playing the game and they don’t have a coach so who knows. These days you’ll find most of them do have a coach because there is so much to navigate and the coach can help with that. Regardless there are a lot of great young players in Canada right now having success.

@36aday – It sounds like it is an expanding pool. The leadership that Golf Canada, and you, have been able to provide and the emergence of these JGDC’s, it provides more opportunities for kids will skill and passion to succeed.

SC – Yes. Exactly. There are more coaches, more passionate coaches than there used to be. There are more tournament programs and tours so there are more opportunities to play, there are a steadily increasing numbers of young, successful golfers in place now. So what was Mike Weir and Stephen Ames has really grown. There are just more Canadian flags next to guys’ names if you look through the PGA,, and Canadian Tour, there’s just more Canadian flags there and there’s a good chance there’s one from your area. We have guys from Ontario, from the prairies, from Alberta, BC, there’s good guys coming from all areas. And obviously that leads to inspiration right so there’s these young juniors who have players from their area making it all the way and that’s very inspiring and encouraging. It’s kind of like Sydney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon from Cole Harbour. You know, you never had a number one draft pick from Cole Harbour before and ‘boom’ one makes it and a few years later a little kid says, ‘he made it, I can do it’. That’s happening in Canadian golf right now.

So to get back to your original question, who do we not know of yet – and I feel odd going there, feel like I’m self-promoting here – but I happen to teach a young player that is so dedicated and he’s making his way up and he’s committed to being a golf professional that when I think to answer your question about someone no one for the most part has heard of that I believe might make it is Braeden Cryderman that I coach. So Braeden comes to mind. He’s very committed. He got up to being ranked 16th in the NCAA when he was a college golfer. He was the third of fourth ranked Division II golfer. So when he’s healthy he has played at a very high level. He has had some health setbacks with his back and then he got healthy around the end of his college career and got up to being ranked top ten amateurs in Canada. So not quite high enough to know him; you know the Corey Connors, the guys who are one, two, three, four. Not many people know the five through ten ranked amateurs in Canada but Braeden would be in that next group and he’s working his butt off and he’s very motivated.

He’s working on all aspects of his game and he pushes me as a coach because he is as hungry as I am make sure there’s no stone unturned. He is messaging me about eating and the physical side and the mental side. It’s not just me pointing him in the right direction. He’s more like, ‘hey Sean, we need to get going on this aspect of my game’, so it’s very much a team effort. It’s been a lot of fun and he’s been a lot of fun to work with because he works to hard. His club head speed went up from 105 ish to about 110 over the last year and that is an important jump if he’s going to have a future playing competitively. That’s a very big difference between 105 and 110. And we feel the best is yet to come because we know there is still some untapped potential physically as the years go by and he is further and further away from his back surgeries he had. He is getting more confident and stronger physically. So as the years go by, he is making progress. And I think as a pro that has a goal of making the PGA Tour the most important thing is probably that from year to year you feel that you’re getting better. It would be very discouraging if you said, ‘I’m in my 20’s, I want to make the PGA Tour’, and then years 20 to 24 you don’t progress much. That would be pretty discouraging and I think you would start lose your commitment to the goal but he’s experienced improvement every year so it’s like, ‘alright, let’s keep going’.

Someday maybe we’ll have all heard of Braeden Cryderman.

Monday – Part 6 – ‘Holistic Golf’