Brad Munn has seen all sides of the golf operation since being elected to PGA membership in 2006, but the Cottage Grove resident has found a home as the program coordinator — and "Coach Awesome" — for the First Tee of South Central Wisconsin.
In his role, Munn assists and teaches programming at seven different locations throughout the Madison area with the First Tee headquarters housed at Vitense Golfland in Madison. The classes and programs that he helps administer feature all types of ages, gender, races and social/economic backgrounds.
In 2017, Munn was part of over 450 different programming classes, taught 100 private lessons to youth, coordinated a special program with the Dane County Juvenile Shelter Home and also played a key part in the “Youth Day & Skills Competition” at the American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge. Munn, who has been with the First Tee of South Central Wisconsin since 2014, has been honored for his work by the Wisconsin section of the PGA of America with its Youth Player Development Award.
“I really enjoy what I do, and that’s the most important thing,” said Munn, who worked at Monona GC, Palm Desert (California) Resort, The Oasis CC in Palm Desert, Santa Rosa CC and Tumbledown Trails GC in Madison before helping lead the growth of Wisconsin's most visible First Tee program.
In 2017, The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin partnered with 16 youth agencies, 35 schools and 13 golf facilities to provide programs to more than 15,000 youth on the course as part of its National School Program in the greater Madison community.
“But to have some of my peers actually nominate me and then win is very humbling," Munn said. "To prepare my materials for the award and see the things I’ve been doing is just so rewarding. I feel like I’m helping grow the game and that’s what I want to do.”
Recently, Munn was also selected to partner with the PGA of America and Sigmi Pi Phi, an AfricanAmerican Fraternity, to start a lesson program with inner city juniors with the ambition of becoming a PGA Jr. League team. Nationally he is only one of 10 individuals that have been selected for this opportunity.
Munn’s connection with the youth that he teaches in the Madison area did not go unnoticed by those who wrote letters supporting his nomination for the Youth Player Development Award.
“Brad is so well respected he is referred to as Coach Awesome, the kids adore Brad," wrote former LPGA Tour golfer Sherri Steinhauer, who sits on the board of directors for The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin. "He has a special way to teach each and every one of them values in life. To watch him in action is amazing, the kids all have a smile on their face because he knows how to make each kid feel good about (themselves).”
Munn's work, it would seem, is only just beginning.
The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin has identified three key areas for growth during 2018:
- Develop and evolve its Wisconsin Rapids program through its partnership with Renaissance Learning, a software and learning analytics company that makes cloud-based educational software;
- Implement its National School Program in nine schools in the School District of Beloit;
- Open its third learning center location in the Madison area at Nine Spring GC in Fitchburg.