EPISODE 4 : Andy Holborn

Andy Holborn

Andy Holborn is the eCommerce account manager at Freedom International, a full-service brokerage of Canadian Government fixed income securities. After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with an honours degree in Kinesiology, Andy completed a graduate certificate in Professional Golf Management from Humber College and formally joined the PGA of Canada in 2001. The next decade brought some great results on the links, with 5 titles on the PGA of Ontario Tour, a brief stint on the Hooters developmental tour in Florida and culminating in a trip to PGA Tour Qualifying School in 2009. Although it was an unsuccessful run, the experiences gained through a career in golf have propelled Andy to a bright and so-far successful career in the financial sector.

Episode transcript
Brad Semotiuk: Hello and thank you so much for listening to episode 4 of steal from the best, a podcast to help listeners succeed in both business and life by stealing invaluable ideas and experiences from the best in class. We aren’t talking to the Richard Bransons or the Jeff Bezos’s which are the one in a millions…we’re talking with guests who are awesome people, and have a more relatable, raw story of business and life who share their experiences that have got them to where they are. I’m Brad Semotiuk, and I’ll be talking to Andy Holborn, former golf professional turned eCommerce account manager at Freedom International. Andy talks about taking risks in business and life and how he evaluated those risks. We also talk about dealing with stress and being genuine when dealing with people. You’ll learn about the skills various mentors have taught Andy along his incredible journey to get to where he is today. Thanks again for listening and hope you enjoy and continue to listen to and steal ideas from the experience of our amazing lineup of guests.

Brad:Hi, Andy. Thank you so much for joining us today on Steal from the Best.

Andy:Hello, Brad. Thanks for having me.

Brad:Awesome. So your career and life had some incredible twists and turns to get you to where you are now.Let's explore from the beginning. Starting from the early days.

Andy:Twists and turns are, I guess a good way to put it. I guess when we all start out, we never know where we're going to end up. But it's been a bit of fun ride to get here and I'm sure it's not over. But looking back, I grew up in a small town, Southern Ontario, about an hour north of the city of Toronto. Like most kids in any small town, there wasn't a whole lot to do there. So my parents got me involved in lots of things as a kid to try to keep me busy.

Hockey being the big one in the winter, as most Canadian kids do. So that was my primary focus in life for the foreseeable future when I was sort of in my 7. 8. 9, 10 through my mid-teens.

And then at 13, I got invited to play golf by a good friend of mine, David Reider. And my grandfather was a member of the local club, the Briars Golf Club. And so he drove me down there to meet David. And from that first swing on the first twist, that was the start of another of a twist, as you'd say, and got me headed down the road to where I am now. I just finished that season playing with David and the guys at the club, some friends that I knew. And then David worked in the back shop there.And so the following summer at 14, I started working in the back shop at the Briars Golf Club, cleaning clubs, taking care of members, washing cars, cleaning garbage is all the fun things that come along with that.

But along with all those dirty jobs, there was also a lot of fun to be had and learned a lot about the game.

Brad:And that helped me fall in love with the game of golf, I guess.

Andy:Yeah. I mean, as I said from that first swing, you know, I got up there and pounded one about 210 yards down the road. I still remember it to this day, hit one about 210 down the right side. And to that time, other than the odd swing in the backyard, I really never made contact before. So it was mostly a fluke. Because every other shot I hit from there on out was pretty much a big slice like most beginning golfers. But yeah, that was the start of a lifelong love affair with the game of golf.

Brad: Let's fast forward to university. So you go to university, finish your degree and then what?

Andy:Yeah. So I played. I ended up playing golf in my last two years at Laurier on the team. I was kind of the 5thman on the totem pole. So I didn't actually get to compete at the years.

But it was a great experience and definitely made some lifelong friends from there. One of whom I lived within my 4thyear at university. And as we were getting down to crunch time in terms of picking our future after school, both of us were kind of waffling on what we wanted to do. He had taken geography and I had taken kinesiology and both of us had sort of decided we were gonna be teachers after school.

By the time we got to fourth year crunch time, that decision seemed to be an ill-advised one. We weren't as happy with that choice as it were. I think I may have mentioned before that all the people that I knew who were going to be teachers weren't exactly the people that I wanted to hang out with. So anyhow, we decided at that point to follow our passion and our love for the game of golf, and we decided to become club professionals. Both of us had worked at courses for a long time and were well entrenched in the game. And so we both asked our local head pros to write us letters recommendation to the CPGA as candidates for membership, and that began the next stage of the journey.

So upon graduation from Laurier, I actually worked up at the Briars Golf Club again as a candidate for membership and had to do my playing ability tests that summer. And that was an interesting event, kind of pressure-packed two days where they sort of give you a number. Now, don't get me wrong, the number is not that difficult really when you think of the term professional golf. But having to shoot one 155 strokes for 2 rounds at that stage of my ability was definitely nerve-racking. Especially when I had gone 40-40-40 in my first 3 nines. Shoot a 35 and my 2nd nine to get in. But managed to rally and shot 35 right on the number and got it right on the number 177

Brad:Amazing. Then after. So you got your card.


Brad: So what does that enable you to do.

Andy:Well. Once you do you're playing test and you become a member of the PGA. There are a number of other milestones or levels that you need to get in order to become a class-A member of the association. But that you become a general member of the Canadian PGA. So that enables you to work at a number of golf courses in Canada and just gives you some status in the game and allows you to take some other courses through the PGA to learn things like club fitting or club repair, teaching the rules. All of the different aspects of being a professional at a club and just being a member allows you access to all that extra information, different conferences, that sort of thing. So you can progress your knowledge in and help in part that on your membership at your club and make it a better experience for them.

Brad: OK. So that you started as an assistant professional at a club?

Andy:Yeah, that would have been my title. I was an assistant pro from then on in. I did that for two years at the Briars, which was great. The Briars was an exceptional place to work as a young aspiring professional. My boss there, Brad Johnson, was very accommodating when it came to allowing his guys to get out and play the game as well. If you've ever known any assistant pros or anybody in the business of golf, one of the big complaints is you don't actually get to golf anymore. You just become sort of an administrative assistant to the membership, basically. But I was a little bit different at the Briars. And I had a little bit more aspiration or more of a keen sense for the game than some of the other guys that were there. So he could tell that and he tried to nurture that with me and allow me to sort of grow my ability as a golfer. You know, when you make the decision to get into golf, for me, it was sort of a three-pronged approach. You know, you go and you try to develop your career as a club professional and either whether you become a head professional at a club or a general manager or like a head teaching professional. You know, Mike, my big interest was playing the game professionally. So that's another prong. And then the other one is when you're there, you get to meet some great people at the club through the membership and make some great friends along the way. And every once in awhile, someone will say, hey, you know, I need someone that did that and someone like you that could do a good job in my industry. And they give you a job along the way. And that's another way to progress your career through golf.

Brad:Is that what happens to a lot of golf professionals? We'll start off in the golf career, like as a professional and as a professional, and then they'll kind of branch off and go and do something completely different from golf.

Andy:Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as I mentioned to being an assistant professional at a golf club is it's a great job in terms of its excitement. You get to play golf, you meet a lot of great people. There's a lot of fun to be had, but you're there if you're opening the shop, you're often there at 5:30 in the morning and you often don't get out of there until after dinner. Even though your shift may have ended at 1:30. There are always lessons to teach. There are always things to do. Junior clinics, maybe there's a special event on a Friday night where everyone's required to be there. So you put in a lot of time and a lot of effort, not only at the club but in sort of progressing your career. But you don't get rewarded all that well. The pay and as an assistant pro and candidate is not anywhere in the world really is not anything that you can sort of bank your career on and especially up here where really play golf for four months here. You know, it's hard to make a career out of being an assistant pro. So that's you know, that's why you've got to progress. So you do that for a few years and to be can it. It becomes tedious and, you know, annoying and not rewarding and kind of depressing sometimes. Because you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. How am I going to get ahead? You're working at a private club with a bunch of people who've done really well in their lives. And you're sort of you know, now I'd like to aspire to get there. How do I do that? Yeah. And you do see a lot of guys like that. They'll run into someone who they latch on to or they know that member latches onto them and they have a good relationship. And they say, hey, listen, you know, I've got this job at my place. Why don't you come and help me out?

Brad:Yeah. Now, you talked about having the aspiration to make it as a professional golfer. I don't know what the statistics are that, but I'm sure.It's a pretty long shot.But that must have. I mean, you must have had to do a ton of practice to even keep yourself in the game. Did you have a practice regimen that you strictly followed or how disciplined were you on that side?

Andy:Well, I think it's like maybe the most relatable thing for us and Canada's kid's element out in the driveway playing hockey or we're going out and playing pond hockey in the wintertime. You don't really do it. You're not really doing it as a job. It's just because it's fun. And in the early days of my golf career, I was literally there as much as I could get there. I think my mom and dad appreciated the fact that, as a junior member at the club, you could just go and hang out and practice and play almost every day.

Andthey knew you loved to be there so they could drop you off. And he just kept playing. And if you couldn't get out on the course, if it was too busy, you went to the putting green and you put it and chipped with your buddies and in terms of practice, the Briars didn't have a driving range. It all it had it was a warm-up net and 100-yard range. So for us, we had hit a lot of wedges. And even at the end of the day, working in the back shop, we'd have to go and pick all the balls. Well, the funny thing was, if it was dead and there wasn't a lot to do, you'd ask the guys in the shop, Hey, do you mind if I go chip the range? So you take your wedge out and you just wander around and you'd be surprised how many bad golfers arrived there. But on one hundred yard shot, there might be 600 balls that didn't hit the green. So if you chip all 600 onto the green before you pick them up, you get pretty good at figuring out how to chip a ball onto a green.

So that stuff, as in the younger days, was sort of how you develop the feel and got to the point where you felt like you knew you're doing. And then course as you get older, you have to be a little bit more regimented. But again I'm not sure where to go.


Andy:We can bump back into that if you want

Brad: Yeah, we can. We can touch on that later. At what point did you think to yourself like man, I may have a chance to make it as a professional golfer?

Andy: Well, I think as soon as, even I always say with golf, it's one of the most interesting games. Because it doesn't matter how good you are, how bad you are. It's equally as rewarding as it is frustrating. So even if you're a 10 handicap and you put 3 or 4 good shots together, that hope is always hanging there in the background. So as I started to hit more and more good shots. And, once you get down to a scratch golfer. You start to think about, Wow! Well! Maybe I'm going to shoot in the 60s tomorrow or, every time you tee it up, it's like, okay, I'm trying to do better than I did the day before. I started to get down into a plus-one plus-two handicap. It wasstarted playing some more tournaments and doing well and won a couple of local PGA events, kept climbing up the order of merit and winning a little bit of extra money every year and really seeing some progress in terms of practice and where you want your game to get to. I mean, even for the best players in the world, you never play your best all the time. After having a few good tournaments, it was like, Man, you know what? This might be something that I can turn into a career. I mean, that was my goal. So it wasn't like I wasn't working for it. But once you saw some fruits of your labor, it was like, hey, maybe we can do this.

Brad:Yeah. So you were playing tournaments in Ontario or across Canada?

Andy:Play mostly in Ontario. The PGA of Ontario has its own tour. Used to be a little bit more robust than it is now. But there might be 10 tournaments a year and a couple of them were pretty big. The Ontario PGA Championship was sponsored by Titleist and it had a $50000 purse. So the winner would take home. And you could make a good chunk of change. Yeah, I think the best year playing in Ontario, I made about $25000in one season. You know, and then once I piled that on to my working wage at the golf club and the money I made from teaching, it sort of became a sort of a viable option for me to continue doing what I was doing at that time.

Brad:Yeah. And then to get really serious, I guess you got to go try your luck on some other tours down south or some other tournament down south.

Andy:That's right. Soonce you decide it's time to make a go of it. You know, coming from a small town and coming from a family that was fairly well-off, I would never say I had it hard growing up. But we didn't we weren't financially capable of supporting me on a professional golf venture. So what you do is you'd sort of canvass your membership or canvass some people that you would know and just let them know that you're looking to raise the money to go out on tour and they'll get together andhopefully they'll get together and do something. So Brad Johnson, who I mentioned earlier, he sort of organized an event for another gentleman and me to go and play some events down south on the Hooters Tour. The restaurant and the membership of the golf course got together. We had a big tournament. Now, Dan and I did a demo on the 10th tee and hit some balls. And then we went out and played a hole with a few people. And, you know, they all paid a little bit of money and some guys threw in a little bit extra here and there. But there was all goodwill. You know, there was no expectation that we needed to pay the money back at the end. It was just sort of, you know, Hey you guys have worked here for a long time. We love you guys. We think you're both really good. Why don't you go give it a crack and see how it goes? Yeah. And how did it go? So off we went. It was an interesting experience for sure. I would say the takeaway that I got the most is playing on Bermuda grass in Florida. It was a totally different experience to playing anywhere up in Canada. And that was when you were only going down for a month or so, it was you had to get accustomed to the conditions very quickly. So that was almost like learning to play golf all over again. Well, when you were down there trying to make it as a living, it was a little bit of a kick in the face. But you really got an appreciation for what it really takes to be a professional.Every mini-tour in the US is full of guys that are trying to do the same thing. And you know, what separates them from the guys on the PGA Tour is literally, It's hairline thin.I know I wasn't a hairline away from playing on the PGA Tour professionally at that pointin my career. But it's very difficult.

Brad:Yeah. And then you also tried to go to school as well. Correct? To qualify for the PGA?

Andy:That's correct. So I went to the Hooters tour in 2005. You know, at that point I had moved out of my parents' house. I was living on my own while living with some friends in Waterloo in the winter and went down to Florida. And we played for a month and ran out of money and I had to come back. So that was a bit of a place to just sort of parlay that into a new career, but it didn't work out that way.

But it was back to the grind the following summer, working in golf, teaching lessons, working at the club. In 2006, I worked at the Bryars again as an associate pro up there. And then in 2007, I moved to the Mandarin Golf Club in Markham. Because I had met my now lovely wife Alison, And we had moved in together in Toronto. So I was looking to get something a little bit closer to our place in Toronto. So I ended up working up at the Mandarin Golf Club. And from there,Do you want to get into? More about that.

Brad:Yes, of course. Keep going. Just keep going.

Andy:Yeah. So in2007, I worked at the Mandarin Golf Club up in Markham. Again, honing my skills as a player. Kept getting better. Kept getting better. I had a couple of members there who were very supportive of my game. They chipped in some money. I went down and played a venture in Bermuda, the Goslings Invitational, which a bunch of friends, a bunch of other pro friends had been down. So it was a great place to go and that was a great experience. Ran into a couple of really old famous Mike Donald who lost to Taylor win in the U.S. Open. Back in the early 90s, he was there and spent a lot of time talking with him about the tour. And what it takes P.H. Morgan the 3rd who not a super famous PGA guy to play the tour for a long time. I really needthe guy. So just getting a chance to spend some quality time with these guys really sort of gave you the itch to get out there and do it. And then, by this point, their careers were over, but they were still grinding it out on these little tournaments and in the islands. And spending their time. Some dark and stormy seas and telling stories.

Yeah. So that was a good end to 2007. And then in the winter of 2007- 2008, I got offered the opportunity to be the head professional at Cottonwood Golf Club in Uxbridge. Very high end, prestigious private club with a bunch of young, younger’s members. It wasn't old money; it was mostly new money. And they were all geared up big entrepreneurs and young guys who liked golf and were tied into some good professional golfers sort of thing. Like there was just a lot of golf atmosphere there. So I got to play there for a couple of years and really hold my game. I get to play golf with actually used to play on the PGA Tour. Canadian guy,that was just that was a real steppingstone where I got to the point where I was like, Hey, you know what?

Maybe I can give this a crack. You know, I'm a far cry from where I was in 2005. I'm actually a lot better now. So the same thing, the membership through a little event did raise some money for me to go to School. So in 2009, I went down and tried my hand at had a card on the PGA Tour. And, you know, unfortunately, I didn't make it, but it was a great experience.

Brad:Yeah. So what happened in those tournaments?

Andy:Because it didn't have any status on any major tour at the time, like the Canadian tour or the Web.com tour, the European tour, Asian tour or any of those sorts of PGA affiliated tours. They've changed up the scenario a little bit now. But I had to go out to a qualifying site out in California, which I ended up getting through there. But at that point, my life was the first time I ever traveled by myself. I've been on a plane by myself. You know, flown first class by myself. Thank you, Gary Patrick. He put me over there on flights.It was great. But, you know, really the first time of it ever being alone. And that was a great learning experience in itself. You know, feeling comfortable driving your own rental car and, going anywhere you wanted to eat and not having to worry about someone else's opinion. Now, really empowering as a person. Because up until that point, you always sort of making sure that everybody else is happy. And I would have done that anyway if I hadn't been in that position. But getting back to the golf, the golf is great. The course was lovely. It was very close to Pebble Beach. So you could actually see the Monterey Peninsula from the highest point, the golf course. So I was kind of like Wow! The PGA Tour.

And there's Pebble Beach over there. This is an incredible experience. And yeah, I played well enough to get through. And I think I was sort of middle of the pack of those that got through. I don't apologize. I don't really remember the scores anymore. But yeah, it was a great first step and then it was onward and upward. So another month later was the first stage of School. And having played in Pinehurst, North Carolina with some friends a couple of times in the previous few years, I chose the Magnolia course at Pine Wild as my qualifying site. Because I was comfortable with the course. I figured it would be similar to the other course there that I had played, and I knew the area. I knew where to stay, I knew where to eat, and I was going to be comfortable and I was down there. So again, at that time, going back to Canada was tough to sort of keep the game in shape, because now you're getting into the fall where there's not a lot a whole lot of places to practice. But, you know, indoor ranges or outdoor ranges in a little bit colder weather. But still working on it, practicing every day, trying to keep ready, also still working at the golf course and teaching lessons and stuff like that.

But yeah, and it was down to Pinehurst for stage number two. Now you're getting into guys that have had status on some of these other tours. One of the easiest experiences of that tour got down there on a Sunday night. And one of the members at the golf club I was at George had invited me down to practice with him and his client the weekend before my Q school.

And as fate would have it, my caddie who caddies for me in California, his company got bought out on the weekend that we were down there. And so he had to bail and coming down. So now I'm the first stage Q school and I've got no caddy. And have no way to get anybody to come down where I'm like thinking. I'm going to have to have the local kid caddy for me and so and so forth. But George ended up saying, well, that's not cool. And George has been great. And he was one of the guys at the club that had pitch money and for me to go down there. And so he sort of stepped up to the plate and said, you know what? I'll just stay down caddy for you. So I went to play a practice round on a Monday and the tournament started on a Tuesday. We show up on the range on Tuesday morning and I'm hitting balls on the range, warming up for my round, and I look to the took my look to my right and Jamie love marks hitting balls next to me. And George goes, Hey, you know, that is. I'm like, yeah, Because that's Jamie Lovemark Yeah, I know it says Jamie Lovemark on his bag. George I can read. Well like that guy just won like on it, like he just won $445k on Sunday in the PGA Tour event. And I said yeah George. What? He's sitting balls right beside you. I'm like, yeah I know we're still trying to do the same things. Jamie Love Mark had been in a playoff at the Waste Management Open or one of the turns of the last tour event. And he lost in a playoff too. I think Troy Madison won the event, but it was Troy Madison and Jamie Lovemark and Rickie Fowler in the tournament and tied for second and got450000 dollars or something. And so there I am hitting balls next to Jamie Lovemark, who had just won 450000 bucks. And my caddy is standing behind Jamie Lovemark watching his balls. Well, I'm trying to do my thing so. It was a good caddy, but he wasn't. Maybe his focus didn't play. Anyhow, it was again, that was interesting to experience. The golf course we played ended up being a beast. It was about 7500 yards and 3 of the 4 days I started on the 10th hole, which is a 490 yard for4, and it was into the wind and they had them tees all the way back and it was just a beast of a hole to start out with. So I think every day I started off with a bogey or worse, and then you're playing catch up. And I had one bad hole as well. I think I was eight over on that hole in four rounds. I just couldn't figure it out. But what a wonderful experience wouldn't trade it for anything.

Brad:Yeah. I guess also in 2009, you came extremely close to qualify for the Canadian Open. I mean, that that could be a life-altering moment. Can you walk us through that?

Andy: Yeah, absolutely. So 2009, which was coincidently the year I went to Q School. I'd also got married that summer and my wife and I had purchased a house. So we were working on sort of the greater things in lifeI suppose. And the qualifier form for the Canadian Open came across my dad across my desk and I figured, yeah. And I got to at least give it a shot. And I'd given his shot a couple of times before never really come close. You know, basically, the way it works, it works now is there's sort of a multi-stage qualifier. But back then it was sort of you get your name and you're the first 156 guys. You go play one round and four people get in and that's it. Sort of a 156, Four guys get in through my name in the patent and the plot wasn't playing very well going in. I mean we got paired with a longtime Canadian PGA pro and former PGA Tour member, Ian Doig. We were the first group out on the tenth tee at Heron playing golf links in Hamilton, one of my favorite courses. So I felt comfortable there and it had some success there in the past, but sort of scraped it around on the front nine. And I remember I like three-putt at 84 to shoot one over on the front on my front nine. But it was not a particularly great round. Nine holes of golf. Of the memories I still have from that the 15th hole, I hit it over the green, it hit the car path and bounced about 50 yards up in the trees and I hit another one. Provisional for a lost ball. And we got up there and standing on the car path and looking down in the bush and I can see a ball about 35 yards in the bush straight line from my eyesight. I'm like, there's not much between me and that ball. Maybe I should just go down and have a look and see it. Cause I run in there and there's my ball. I look back and I've got to, maybe a bit a 5, 6-foot window straight up to the green straight uphill. And we were the first group out in the summer. So the grass is still got a bit to do on it. And you know, I'm one over at this point. I might or two one or two over. At this point, I might as well give it a crack. So I get on in there with a nine iron and just close my eyes and beat it into the hill. And it kind of trickled up, hit the wet, dewy grass behind the green and trickled onto the green to about 5 feet from the hole. I got up and calmly tapped it in for a par and moved on to the next hole of a little sly, sly grin on my face. Because I know it escaped death. But I remember Ian always looking at each and every time I do something like that.

He was a very straight forward to the middle of the green type of golfer, I was a little bit more erratic. Anyways, we made the turn and found a little something, got a bit of a groove and shot 5 under on my front on my back nine or the front nine there and got in the clubhouse with a 67 first group. You're leading the tournament.


Andy: 2 hours later you're still leading the tournament. 3 hours later you're still leading the tournament. Remember Andrew Parr from London came in and shot. I think he shot 64. So you're in second and then a couple more hours go by and one guy came in the shot. 66. So now you're in third, but you're still hanging in there. And then there's another 67 and another 67, another 67.

And anyhow at 6:30 there's sort of you're still you're waiting around, went back to the course at 6:30. Because they sort of said if you're in the top come back and guys are still finishing. So ended up being five of us go out for a playoff for two spots. So par got in at 64. I forget to the other guy as he got in at 66 and then there's four of us were five of us going out four for two spots. We tee off at 8 O'clock so it's starting to get dark. And I teed off at 7:10 in the morning as the first group. It's been a long day. We've got in a car accident in the middle on the way home. Yeah. Well, that's another story. But no shared drama throughout the day while we weren't at the golf course. But get back to the club and got warmed up, got out there and they had us tee off on 18. I guess we played sorry, we played number nine first and I was the only player to hit the fairway. One guy snap poked it in the river. Another guy pulled it left, kind of looked like he was in the hazard, but may have a shot. And another guy, Lucas Lee, hit it up to the right in the rough. So we get up there and hum sitting in the middle of the fairway.

I'm going, OK, this is all right. Like two guys are basically dead. One guy got punched out underneath the tree and this guy's got this. Well, the guy that looks like he's in the hazard hits this incredible shot way up to the right, kicks off the hill beside the green and kicks down on the green about 15 feet. I'm like, Oh! that's a pretty good shot, I guess. So now I'm standing in the fairway waiting and I look over to my right and Lucas pulls out a four iron or something and drives one. He's got to go over a bunker underneath the branch, lands it short of the green. It skips up this huge slope in the green and ends up off the back. So he's got a very tricky up and down. Because there's about a ten-foot slope in the middle of the green and the pins in the front of the green get up there. And I hit it on the right tier and I'm about ten feet left of the hole. So we get up there and the guy who hit the miraculous shot out of the hazard and I are staring across the hole at each other and everybody else is done. So there are2 spots. There's 3 of us left. He's on the green. I'm on the green. We're both putting for birdie. Lucas is up in the back. He's got a perilous chip. Long, long you can even open. Qualifying rough is just nasty, chunks at 5 feet onto the green. So now he's got a 40-foot putt with about a 10-foot break left, right, left to right with about a 10-foot slope down the hill. And I'm looking across the hall at Graham, the other guy in our group. And I'm just like, This guy's got no chance. OK, well, we have to do is to putt it. We're in. Well, doesn't he make the putt? Things move in 90 miles an hour when it hits the hole and it pops up and goes in the hole.

And I'm like, You got to be joking. You like, This is crazy. So Graham bloodily had a tap in and I had a 10 foot or to make a birdie to get my spot in the Canadian Open. So I took a pretty good run at it. Then I actually missed on the high side. But it went about six feet by. So now I've got a knee knocker coming back just to get to the next play. I feel well, luckily I kind of coaxed it over the front edge and away we went. Lucas hit it in a divot off the tee on the next hole number ten and then hit it out of the divot to about two inches from the hole tap in birdie. So he's now in the tournament. So there's two of us left for one spot. When we play number nine, again, we both make a par, we tie. We go to number 10, we both make a par, We tie. So now it's getting very dark and difficult to see our ball. So we tee off on number nine and he really can't tell where your balls have gone down the fairway. We get up. We both actually were in the fairway and we hit our second shots into the green. Can't tell if we've hit the green. They've actually had people bring their cars up from the parking lot, park around the patio at HeronPoint with her light shining on the green. So for me, it was very surreal. Because, Legend of Bagger Vance, you're just sort of playing in the dark and you're down, you're having this. Your national open, which is something I'd always wanted to do anyway, is we get up there and Graham was just short right of the green and the fringe. And I actually it was in the bunker when I get down in the bunker and all the lights are shining. I looked down and I can hardly see my ball. Because I'm blinded from the lights coming across and I'm not making excuses. But it was a pretty tough condition to shoot. Make a bunker shot. Anyways, I hit a little firm, got her over the green. He got up and down and I missed my putt and I missed my shot at the open. But a very memorable day that I'll never forget. One of the greatest one-day golf experiences of my life for sure. I had a good friend on the bag carrying for me, which made it enjoyable again. I got in a car accident on the way from the morning round on our way to lunch. And a bunch of friends and family came out to watch the playoff and was an all-around great experience.

Brad: Yeah. And then so where did your golf tour? I guess here you run it becoming a professional golfer come to an end.

Andy: Well. Going back to Q School in 2009. Like I said, I'd gotten married that year. Bought a house. I had been working at Collinwood now for two straight seasons. And that season they had sort of cut back my hours in the clubhouse and had put more of an emphasis on me as a teacher and a cop and would back then didn't have a big membership.

There were only about 140 golfers. A lot of them lived in the city of Toronto, but it was a good hour to get out there. So there wasn't a lot of people milling about the club, just hanging out on a very rare, you know very often. If you're gonna make the effort to go there, you're either go practice or you're gonna go play. You think about driving an hour and then playing golf and having a lesson is a little bit extra effort. So it's difficult to get sort of a full slate of students and really drive revenue that way. So I was struggling that years sort of to make ends meet again as a golfer playing-wise, I was playing OK. But again, just playing a sort of local events and winning 500 bucks – 1000 bucks - 2000 bucks here, there, everywhere. But that helps. But you can't really rely on that income. because, you know, if you have a bad round. You don't make anything and it cost you a couple 100 bucks.

So, you know life was taking me in a little bit of a different direction and golf had sort of taken a little bit of a different turn. Again, the Q School part of it was membership and would have gotten together to sort of say, Hey you know, we want you to try and do this as a reward for sort of a couple of good years of being there.

But I was starting to get sick of their business itself by that point. So fast forward again to Q School and George Tambakis, who was a member of Coppinwood, who jumped into the caddy for me at Q School every night after the round. We talk about the round and what we could do better the next day, and then we start to talk about life and love and all the other things in the world that we're all involved in. And again, because I just knew him from the club, I didn't really know him as a friend. But he sort of suggested that he may have an opportunity for me in the winter if Q School didn't work out. And so we talked about that and eventually I decided to take him up on his offer and give it a shot. And now I'm here.

Brad:What was that opportunity?

Andy:So, yeah. George is one of those interesting characters where we never really knewwhat is George do? I had met him originally in the man room and I was there in 2007. And he'd come out and, you know, this is larger than life character. Last name Tambakis, a very outgoing Greek guy with love for everybody and everyone. And, you know if he met you two seconds later, he kissed you on the floor, had until you loved you sort of thing, just a great human with a great soul. So very easy to like. But no one really ever knew what he did. So we get to Q school and he's like, Well, you know, I worked in fixed income markets and work at a bond brokerage and dealing about bonds. And I was kind of like, Well, yeah, a little bit. I mean, I had some savings bonds when I was a kid he goes. Yeah, Yeah. Okay. Well. And so he began to educate me on sort of the institutional fixed income market in Canada where how the government issues fixed in some cities and the banks, the dealers end up buying it from the government and then they need a place to trade and so on and so forth.

And so he works at he had worked at this bond brokerage and the guy who had just been working for him had just left to go work on the derivative desk at the firm. And George worked in the electronic trading side of things and it had sort of just coming into play a few years earlier. But had started to really gain some traction in the last few years and you know, he thought to be a good opportunity for me to try something else. But also, he needed some help. Because, you know, he was getting a little older and the client was getting a little younger. And, you know, I was a good golfer in a lot of guys like the golf. So it just seemed like a good fit for me to sort of come in and help him out in that regard.

Brad:Okay. I guess you've come across a lot of people on this journey so far.I mean, George is one who kind of supported you along the way. Who are some of the key mentors and what were some of the lessons that you learned from them?

Andy: That's a great question, Brad. Yeah, I mean, I guess, all your coaches and teachers and things that you had when you're in high school sort of guide you in the right path and it's funny looking back at some of the things that they told me now versus what they told me then and what have you taken from it? But a lot of times you forget about the things that's sort of steered you on the correct path, sort of guided you along. So you didn't fall off this side. You didn't go here. You know, maybe you shouldn't do that. Maybe you should go do that. Or maybe you shouldn't do that. You should do that. But sort of in my professional, golf life I just wanted to point out that, you know, just bring up those people because I had thought about that. And now that I think back, it wasn't so much any of the things they taught me in class. It was just more like, maybe you should. Not go that way. Maybe you go over here and then you look back and go holy crap. Well, you know what? you're talking about.

I guess starting with my first job at the Briars, Brad Johnson sort of taught me how to be professional. I mean, I always thought I presented myself. Well, I mean, I went to church as a kid, so I knew that you dressed up and you had to look nice and that part was in part of me by my parents and my grandparents. And obviously, your manners and things like that, you learn at a young age. And then I always sort of tried to carry those through. But now working in a professional environment, how do you treat people? How you present yourself at work? You know, in golf it showed up clean-shaven. Keep your hair cut short. You know, things that nowadays maybe we've relaxed a little bit and aren't quite as important. But in terms of keeping your focus on what you're doing and putting effort in and having respect for the job and respect for what you're doing. Those were instilled to me by him back in the back shop days. Scott Taylor, when I worked on the grounds crew, even cutting grass, you know, put an emphasis on straight lines on the greens and sort of keeping the straight and narrow like always focus on what you're doing, put your best efforts forward at what you're doing, the task at hand, you know, so little things like that to just sort of keep you focused. Golf life again in 2003, I worked at Bayview Country Club, which is a private club just a little bit north of the city here. And at that time, Warren Crosby was the head professional there. And Warren had actually taught Brad. When Brad was my age and Brad had worked for him back then. So I got to work with him for a year. And again, that was just another level of professionalism and attention to detail. I remember a good Warren story once I had a tournament and I had run out of golf balls and I needed to grab some golf balls. At that time I was playing and I had a specific brand and a specific ball that I played and was used to. So I went to the shop and there were only two sleeves of those balls left in the shop. So I took them. And I didn't even get to my car before he came out and said:“Andy get back here”. When I was like, I'm going to be late for my tee run back when backings are those balls are for members, Not for you. And I was like, Man, I got to go. It doesn't matter. You can play a different ball today, son. You know, it sounds like comes across as being mean or unfair.

But really what it did was inthe still, you know what, you're here to do a job. You're here for the members. They're the most important part of our job. And, you know, again, like at the time, I was like, Oh! Man, What a jerk. But I totally understood what he meant. And I totally carry that lesson on with me to this day. You know, it's not about you. It's about the people that you deal with. Make sure that their experience is better than they expect. And you'll always you know, you always progress from there. You know, you always succeed if you keep that sort of attitude.

Brad:Awesome.You told the story of hitting a nine iron in a Canadian in that qualifying for the Canadian Open, taking that, taking a risk there, I guess with golf fan life, there's risk-reward. What's your philosophy around risk-reward?

Andy:Well, I thank my parents for this. My parents, I think we're very risk-averse, probably just having you know, I know that my mum's upbringing was one of have not to sort of thing. So she's always been very cautious in terms of spending money or, you know, it was always more on the cautious side of things.

And my dad a little bit similar. He's always been pretty conservative in his actions and in what he's sort of related to me. So I would say if I had to put a tag on myself, I'm pretty conservative when it comes to taking risks. But like you said in golf, you have to make a decision every once in a while. You know, is this gonna be worth it? And every once in awhile, you just have to close your eyes and go for it. And so I think, you know, those situations come up in life. And it's you know, sometimes it makes life a little bit more enjoyable when you do that sort of thing.

Brad: Yeah, Sure. And also another part, another aspect to golf is, I guess, the stress that comes along with it. How do you deal with everyday stress and has golf prepared you for the everyday stress that you deal with you and your new career?

Andy: Absolutely. I think that's one thing that has really helped me in my life playing golf as a young kid. You get so frustrated when you're out there and he hit you hit a bad shot or, you know, you go out and you have a few good holes and then all of a sudden you end up with a triple bogey or, you know, you're too under with three to play and you've finished bogey, double, double and you're just livid dealing with that stress as I became a professional. You had to realize like there's nothing you can do about it. And playing with a bunch of guys a lot who would let you get the best of them. You know, there is a competitive advantage that you can have if you don't let it bother you to the extent that they let it bother them. You know, I'm sure my wife will attest to the fact that I came home in a few days and wasn't very pleasant to be around. Because when you are a golf professional, you sort of equate your success on the golf course with your success in life. And when you're not playing well or you're not scoring well, you sort of feel like, you're depressed and you're down and you're angry, and you let that creep into other areas of your life. So I learned, you know, if you don't let the stress of that bug you, then maybe you have an advantage over other people. And also you have an advantage over life. Because you're not letting it get you depressed. You're not letting it get you down. So I actually based on that theory or that thought, I don't get too stressed out about many things. It didn't make a lot of sense to me to get freaked out about a bogey or a double bogey. I mean, all you can do is go hit the next shot and almost relish in the, you know, the challenge of the recovery, like the shot on 15 at the Canadian Open with a nine iron. You know, what do you do? Do you go in there and freak out or do you go in and look towards the challenge of getting up and down from behind the green and keeping this round possibly going and, you know, unfortunately, didn't make it in. But it has a pretty fun run. And that was one of the parts that I will remember the most.

Brad:Yeah. Throughout this incredible journey that you've had, what's the best tip that you ever received during this? What have you stolen from the best?

Andy:Other than keep your head? Down and keep your left arm straight. As my grandfather's trip to be the first time I played golf. What do I do here Gramps? well, put your head down. Keep it still and keep your left arm straight and swing like hell. Yeah, I think the best thing that I've learned sort of in general. You know, the stress part is one thing. Also, just to be genuine in all the things that you do. Both in my golf life and now in my professional life, working and in fixed income and even in life in general with Instagram and all these social media outlets, everyone tries to be someone they're not, tries to portray a life that they're not. That's not necessarily theirs. And to be honest, when people actually get face to face and are serious, you can sort of see through that pretty quickly. So I think what I've taken is just to be genuine with everybody in every aspect of your life and people will take you for “what you are” and that's been a big part of my success in my new career. As you know, I'm just generally genuine with my clients and they like hearing my stories about golf, you know, other stupid things that you do.But they know that it's real and they appreciate that.

Brad: Yeah. And you can round out there foursomes for their tournaments to help.

Andy:There is a bit of that. Yeah.

Brad:Of course. Now I mean, what an awesome journey you've had. I want to give you a second here to kind of brag about some of your proudest accomplishments that you've had to date. I mean, being a professional athlete. Amazing. What are you the proudest of?

Andy:Well, I think from that side of things. I mean, I won five times on the Ontario PGA Tour. And sort of as a golfer, those are probably my proudest moments. You know, there were a couple of events on that tour that I didn't win, that I was really looking forward to winning, that I really wanted to win the Ontario PGA Championship. I think I finished second three times and I shot 64 &65, I think in the final round to lose by a shot. I shot 65 in the Canadian Assistance Championship 2 or 3 times I think.

So from a golf perspective, those were my those are my best accomplishments I think. I always seem to have the ability to perform well under pressure. And that was what I always felt the best. Right. I mean, now you never remember when you shot 78 under pressure. Because no one wants to remember those things. But from golf wise, I think that was those are most my playing-wise. Those are my biggest accomplishments. You know teaching wise, just helping people get better. That was always a great thing. It was a jock. I'd played volleyball with you at Laury for four years. I mean, I'm very proud of making the team and then proud of my decision to play on the team. Because the best friends in my life now are all guys I met on that team or have met through that team or that experience as well. You know, that's a whole other ball of wax. But, I played junior hockey and another ride that I'm really proud of. I also play guitar and I'd like to sing and do that sort of thing. So I got to play on the stage at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 2013 when I was over there with some friends.

So that's one of my prouder moments. I would say now in my you know, in my early 40s with two young kids, I think I'm most proud of sort of the life that I've built with my wife and my two young kids who are great so far, so good. I don't want to toot their horn too much. But they're pretty great kids. So I think, you know, everyone says as a parent, you'd have to take credit for that. So maybe this is an opportunity for me to do something like that.

Brad: You're right on. Well, It's an incredible story. We could spend hours upon hours more. I think we're going to need a follow-up episode to this. Thank you so much for coming in and sharing your experiences with everybody. I truly appreciate you. I truly appreciate your sharing all this wisdom and knowledge. It's been awesome.

Andy:Thanks for having me, Brad. Appreciate it. It's nice to rehash some of these stories and, you know, don't think about them that often. So thanks for bringing them out.

Brad: Great. Thanks