Brett McGugan is teeing off this fall on a $30,000-a-year golf scholarship at Michigan’s Adrian College.
Not bad for a 20-year-old from Bright’s Grove who had never taken a golf lesson in his life.
McGugan has joined an 11-member golf team at the small liberal arts college about 45 minutes from Toledo, Ohio, and plans to graduate with a degree in sports management.
“I’ve never had a specific person help me with a swing or anything like that,” said the Northern Collegiate grad.
“I’m basically self-taught.”
He said he found his way onto the radar of Adrian’s golf coach via the website berecruited.com, which provides a list of thousands of colleges.
An email exchange with Adrian — McGugan’s first choice — led to a meet and greet and an offer followed shortly thereafter.
“It seemed like he really wanted me,” said McGugan, who boasts a 2.1 handicap.
“We got along really well and everything’s perfect now.”
He once dreamed of playing professional hockey, he said, but the long ice-less summers and easy access to the links changed all that.
His first membership was at Crabby’s Golf Course in Bright’s Grove. A year later he was golfing regularly at Huron Oaks, where he won the junior championships three years in a row.
The only formal lesson he’s ever taken in the sport was on golf course etiquette.
“The second I started shooting well I knew I could potentially go somewhere with it,” he said. “I obviously went down the right route.”
McGugan hung up the skates in high school to focus on golf exclusively. After graduating, he dedicated his waking hours to improving his game.
“Basically I would work from six o’clock till midnight, then I’d wake-up at ten or eleven and immediately go to the golf course and golf all day until I had to work again.”
At Adrian College, golfers are expected to independently practice 10 hours weekly. Regular driving range and short-game practices happens throughout the week, with full rounds played on weekends.
McGugan said six players represent the school at tournaments, and selection is based on performance.
He has his sights set on becoming a golf professional, and ideally one day playing on the PGA Tour.
Getting noticed in golf is different than in hockey or baseball, he said.
“You’ve got to go in tournaments, you’ve got to get your name out there. You can’t just sit back and think it’s going to happen,” he said.
“You have to push for it and reach for your goals.”