Brendan Locke, GolfTEC–Wisconsin

IB Wisconsin's Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet the state's professionals. This week features Brendan Locke, owner/director of instruction at GolfTEC-Wisconsin.

Business Address: 8333 Greenway Blvd., Middleton; 12132 W. Capitol Dr., Wauwatosa; 1408 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon; 16130 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield
Phone: 608-831-3673, 414-463-4653, 262-240-9851, 262-782-8400
Birthplace: Madison, Wis.
Spouse/Partner: Melissa
Board Membership: PGA of America Member, Chairman for The First Tee of Milwaukee County, Franchise Advisory Board Chair for GolfTEC Corporation
Education: Majored in marketing at Ferris State University

Brendan, how much time have you invested with GolfTEC, and what’s your primary responsibility in your role of owner?

I have been with GolfTEC since January of 2003. My current role is owner and director of instruction. I oversee day-to-day operations at four different locations. We are one of the largest employers of PGA members in this state (15). Outside of my title, I teach a wide array of students with high, low, and mid handicaps. Since 2003, I have taught around 20,000 golf lessons.

Who would you say influenced your career choice?

Three people influenced my career choice. Naturally, my parents, who own businesses in their own right, allowed me to follow my dream – supported me in school, took me to lessons and junior golf. Larry Tiziani had the biggest impact on me making the decision to become a coach. He will always be a mentor to me and someone that I look up to. I took lessons from him since I was 12, and I still go see him to try and pick up pieces that will make me better.

With that foundation, can you share a personal high point that you’ve then achieved in your career?

Personal high points in my career were passing all three levels with PGA and getting my membership. It took five years. Nothing more gratifying than that to help my career!

Is there another goal, a long-range goal, you’d like to achieve before leaving your company or the game of golf?

First of all, I never want to leave. At least not right now. I would like to be recognized for helping people enjoy this lifetime sport. We have a long ways to go, but right now we are certainly changing the sport one by one.

What do you read to help keep you current? What trade associations or training do you belong to that you would recommend?

I read quite a few magazines. Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, PGA of America Magazine. They all have great articles on instruction and business that help. I am a member of the PGA of America, which is the biggest fraternal organization in the world. I am always reading listening and watching. Even if I don’t agree, it still makes me better.

I’d like to take you all the way back to high school. Can you remember what your career aspirations were then?
I originally wanted to be a pilot. I became a private pilot and still am very active with that, but didn’t go further. Golf is my business passion so ultimately my career aspirations were to take after my mom and dad, both successful businesspeople.

Can you remember your first paycheck?

The first paycheck I received was for $14.

Where was it from, for what job?

I went to work for my dad stuffing envelopes when I was 12. I was so excited, I offered to take him out to lunch and he took me up on that offer. When the tab came the total was about $25; needless to say … he bought lunch!

Was there a lesson in that to start your own business, too?

When I was young, I had tons of ideas – lemonade stands, car wash, parking cars. None of them ever kept me busy enough.

Your business locations are all in Wisconsin. Have you lived outside the state?

I was born and raised in Madison. I grew up in McFarland and ultimately moved to Verona until college. I graduated and moved to Chicago but never strayed too far from Wisconsin, and I’m happy to be back!

Now that you’re back, and a successful businessperson and sportsman, how do you relax beyond golf, which I know you love, but seems like “work”?

As I mentioned before, I am a pilot and have been since I was 16. Nothing is more relaxing for me than being up in the sky. My grandfather was a pilot for United and always used to take us for rides. It is in my blood! Outside of that I hunt, fish, and spend time with my wife, Melissa, and 2-year-old son, Jackson. I love that kid! I also do golf occasionally. I am a huge Badger fan and try to catch as many of those games as well.

Do you get a chance to read for pleasure? We’re always interested in what titles our readers read outside of their workday.

I do read occasionally. One of the last books I read was Who’s Your Caddy? by Rick Reilly. It’s a great read, especially when he caddied for John Daly. I also just read Fearless Golf by Dr. Gio Valiante. It is amazing how powerful the mind is and how it influences us in positive and negative ways.

Is there any one character – we can include books or movies – which you’d like to be identified with?

I guess I would like to be Carl Spackler from Caddyshack. Who doesn’t love Bill Murray in that movie? I like to have fun, regardless.

That’s a great reference and fitting for a pro golfer!

I have a work-hard, play-harder attitude and I try to encourage that with my staff.

Do you have a favorite travel destination?

My favorite place to travel is up to Cable, Wis. Being up there is where I got away when I was a kid. My grandparents had a home there; thankfully, it is still in our family. It’s special now because I get to share with my wife and son and teach them everything I learned up there when I was a kid. Northern Wisconsin is the best place in the world!

Anything else you’d be willing to share about your family life?

My wife and son are everything to me. They keep me humble and I am slowly learning that life moves fast.

Brendan, how would you describe yourself using only three words?

Professional, compassionate, fun.

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